Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

If you suffer from eczema, you're not alone. Eczema, a skin disorder characterized by red, itchy, inflamed skin that’s annoying at best, and painful at worst, affects more than 30 million Americans, according to the National Eczema Association.

The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which often surfaces during the first six months of life in the form of a red, itchy rash on the arms, legs, and cheeks, notes the National Eczema Association. Sometimes atopic dermatitis disappears as a child grows older, but some children will continue dealing with this skin condition well into adulthood.

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People with eczema and atopic dermatitis are constantly searching for easy treatment options to help them manage their symptoms. Some claim that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an effective home remedy for these skin conditions that is both easy and inexpensive.

But can it help with eczema and atopic dermatitis? Here’s what you need to know.

Can ACV Improve Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?

ACV may help treat eczema and atopic dermatitis, but it’s hard to say for sure. Unfortunately, the research is pretty thin.

Why You Should Approach ACV With Caution

Given the lack of research on ACV and eczema and atopic dermatitis, it may be best to try other treatment options first. “I usually recommend using diluted bleach baths instead of apple cider vinegar,” says Samer Jaber, MD, a board- certified dermatologist and founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City. Bleach baths involve soaking in a bath of water that’s been mixed with a small amount of bleach for 5 to 10 minutes a few times a week. Instructions on the American Academy of Dermatology website recommend using ½ cup of regular strength (6 percent) plain bleach in a full bathtub of water, or 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water for a baby or toddler.

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In addition, many dermatologists aren’t sold on the effectiveness of ACV. “I have in my practice definitely seen [apple cider vinegar] irritate the skin and cause atopic dermatitis flares when used topically,” Dr. Jaber says.

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