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There are a number of effective natural remedies for sunburn, apple cider vinegar is also one of them. This acidic product does not logically fit the bill to treat sunburn, but it is being used for ages. Does it really prevent or treat sunburn? There is not enough scientific evidence to prove it one way or the other. Yet, it is popular among sunbathers to remove tanning and pain relief.

apple cider vinegar for sunburn

ACV has been found effective in healing scar tissues wounds and burns and has been proved effective against bacteria. All these evidences still not prove its usefulness against sunburn. Apple cider vinegar contains small amount of Vitamin A and Vitamin E which are supposed heal the skin damaged by sunburn. However, it has so insignificant content of vitamins that may really have no impact. Let us examine all the facts in try to understand why Apple Cider Vinegar is popular among some sunbathers?

What Causes Sunburn?

Every time you expose your skin to the sun for a long period, you are at risk of damaging your skin. Two types of ultraviolet rays produced by sun UVA and UVB cause the most damage. It begins with the tanning of skin which some people love. Excessive sun exposure causes sunburn.

When your outer skin begins to damage due to high sun exposure, melanin rushes to protect against the damage. Melanin is the pigment which gives skin the colour you have. Excess melanin reaching out to the outer skin causes the skin to darken. That is the cause of tanning due to Sun exposure.

When ultraviolet rays of sun overpowers the protective effect of melanin, damage to the skin begins in the form of sunburn.

This may lead to peeling of skin increasing the risk of bacterial growth. Apple cider vinegar with its antibacterial capabilities is useful to fight against the bacteria.

Continued overexposure to the sun and resulting sunburns may lead to skin cancer.

So, protecting your skin from Sunburn is extremely important to protect yourself from the unnecessary deadly skin cancer.

Everyone gets sunburn due to overexposure in different intensities depending on skin type. Lighter skin people gets Sunburn faster. Dark skin people are protected better because of higher melanin content in the outer skin. Lighten skin tone can give you sunburn within 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to the harsh sun. If your skin is darker than it may resist sunburn for little longer from the harsh Sun exposure. But, ultimately you will get sunburn.

Excessive sunburn gives you excruciating pain, so it  becomes a medical emergency. Some scientific studies show that excessive sunburn once in 2 years can increase your risk of getting Melanoma, the skin cancer, by 3 times.

Once you get sunburn your skin begin to peel off. It may take two to three weeks before normalcy is restored.

During this entire period you need to be more careful to completely avoid sun exposure and ensure that no bacterial infection occurs. If it occurs then it should be immediately treated.

Apple cider vinegar will give you cooling impact and protect you against the bacterial infections. It will also give you pain relief.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Prevent or Treat Sunburn?

acv for sunburn infographic

The answer to question is not very straight forward. Enough scientific human studies have not yet been done on the topic. However, the following research work done on rabbits as evidence,  can be useful.

  • Wounds heal faster in the presence of apple cider vinegar
  • Scar tissues are fewer as compared to when ACV is not used
  • Hair follicles stay normal in the presence of ACV

These findings are encouraging, but they do not prove in any way that ACV can prevent or heal sunburn.

The blisters caused by the sunburn can get ruptured and infected by bacteria called pseudomonas aeruginosa. Acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar can fight bacteria and protect against further damage to the skin.

This is perhaps one of the reasons you should use Apple Cider Vinegar for sunburn. Other is of course pain relief. 

So, to some extent ACV is certainly helpful in certain stages of sunburn, but it may or may not prevent or heal sunburn.

How to Use ACV for Sunburns?

As we have already seen that Apple Cider Vinegar can be useful in sunburn. It can be used in the following manners to get the most benefits.

  • Always dilute apple cider vinegar before use on the sunburn skin
  • Use a spray bottle for uniform dispensing
  • Add it in the water in bathtub and soak your body for relief from the cooling effect of ACV

Concentrated apple cider vinegar can cause its own burns on your skin. So be careful and do not ever use Apple Cider Vinegar directly on your Sunburn skin.

Other Tips and Precautions

To heal your Sunburn skin quickly you can use the following precautions in addition to the home remedies and other treatments.

  • Take frequent showers and bath
  • Apply soothing lotions such as aloe vera gel
  • Lie down in cool room to lower the pain
  • Drink enough fluids throughout the day to avoid headache caused by dehydration
  • Use cool cloths on the sunburn affected skin
  • Spray diluted apple cider vinegar on the affected area for cooling and pain relief

Your outer sunburned skin will gradually be peeled off and be replaced by the new skin. Do not force peeling, let it take it's own course.