Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn Relief

Got a little too much sun and now you’re paying for it? Try these simple apple cider vinegar sunburn remedies to help with recovery and relieve some of the common symptoms like pain, redness, and itching.

Does Vinegar Help Sunburns?

Many people are turning to home remedies instead of OTC medications these days. Why wouldn’t they? Natural products are inexpensive, readily available (in fact, you might even have a bottle of acv sitting in your kitchen somewhere right now) and best of all, they work great. Sometimes they even carry little, or no side effects to the body.

Apple cider vinegar has been touted as a natural pain soother because it has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also rich with beneficial minerals and vitamins that help replenish nutrients to your skin and help contribute to a much quicker recovery. ACV has also been observed to help minimize blister and peeling. So the answer to “Does vinegar help sunburns?” is a yes.

How to Use ACV for Sunburns

Here are a few ways to use apple cider vinegar to soothe and treat sunburns:

Apple cider vinegar bath for sunburn

Apple cider vinegar can quickly soothe the burning sensation you’re feeling from a sunburn. Use this relaxing method if you’ve got some time to sit back and relax in a nice warm bath. This method is great if you got a large sunburn, or have been burned in multiple areas.

What to do:

  1. Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water. Be careful to make your water too hot. Doing so may make the pain even worse.
  2. Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to the lukewarm, bath water.
  3. Soak in this vinegar bath for sunburn mixture for approximately 15 minutes. The burning sensation should be less noticeable as the skin is soothed and calmed. When you’re done and step out to dry yourself, gently pat dry yourself. Being a little too rough here can cause pain.

Washcloth & Vinegar

You'll find the apple cider vinegar sunburn remedy to be surprisingly effective. Try to use organic undiluted acv if you can find it.
Photo credit: Rajya Laxmi

If you don’t want to soak in a bath, try this simple method of just a washcloth and vinegar. It’s great for small sun burns and can be applied quickly to just the affected areas. Instead of soaking in a bath, this method involves soaking a clean wash cloth with a mixture of apple cider vinegar water instead.

What you’ll need to do:

  1. Without using any soap, take a cool, or lukewarm shower to get rid of any chemicals or lotions from your skin.
  2. After your quick rinse in the shower, gently pat the skin dry (taking extra care to be gentle on the sunburned area).
  3. Soak a small towel, or washcloth in a mixture of 1-part apple cider vinegar and 2-parts cool water, or lukewarm water.
  4. Give the now soaked towel a gentle squeeze to remove excess water.
  5. Apply the soaked washcloth directly to the sunburned area; letting it stay on for about 15 minutes
  6. Repeat the procedure if necessary until pain is relieved.

Make an acv sunburn relieving spray

The two methods above are great, but I like this one more. It’s way easier to use (and way more convenient). I can even carry it around with me for quick access to this wonderful sunburn spray.

What you need:

  • Spray bottle (clean and empty)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Water

How to make it:

  • Mix 1 cup of cold water with ¼ cup of acv in the bottle.
  • Close it and shake well.

How to use it:

Spray the mixture on the sun burned area. Some people like just one spray, but I always give it an extra spray, or two. It’s super cheap to make, so why not right? Just don’t get too carried away. You don’t want so much and it’s running off your skin. Let the mixture air dry. Repeat as needed.

A Little Word of Warning

Apple cider vinegar is really wonderful and has so many uses, but you need to understand that it is also acidic. Because of this, it does cause chemical burns to the skin with prolonged exposure. This risk increases greatly when acv is used undiluted. In order to prevent this from happening always remember to dilute the vinegar with water before using.

Some people are more sensitive and burn more easily than others. You might want to perform a skin patch test before using it.

Sounds Great, But Any Proof to Back it Up?

During the 1950s, a best-selling book entitled Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health made numerous claims to the health benefits apple cider vinegar can do to the body. It’s so popular these days, you can even buy acv pills for daily supplement.

There is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove acv’s effectiveness, but that seems to be the case for many of these home remedies. In fact, there is very little research about apple cider vinegar and its benefits. There was one notable research about acv, but it was not related to sun burn relief, so it’s not worth much for this topic.

Even though there’s no research that proves it works, you have very little to lose. At most it will cost you a few dollars and in the case where you already have some on hand, it won’t cost you anything.  If you decide to give it a try, make sure you buy the unfiltered stuff to get all of its benefits. If these apple cider vinegar sunburn remedies don’t seem like they would be the right choice for you, you do have other options to for sunburns such as coconut oil.