Vinegar on Sunburn – Does Vinegar Help, Remedies and Treatments

If you hit the road into the warmth of midday sun without sunscreen protection and are now wondering if applying vinegar on sunburn is helpful, then you have come to the right place. This article will explain everything you need to know about vinegar in as far sunburn treatment is concerned.

Does Vinegar Help Sunburn

Does vinegar help sunburn” is a commonly asked question and this is not surprising considering the amazing arrays of helpful uses that vinegar can be put to at home ranging from treatment of dry scalp and foot odor.

The simple answer to this query is, yes, vinegar works spectacularly in soothing of sunburn related symptoms such as itching, inflammation and pain and promoting faster healing of sunburns.

Any type of vinegar can be used but most skin experts agree that apple cider vinegar is the most effective for treatment of sunburns.

But you should not use apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar for that matter) since it is typically very acidic and can easily be counterproductive. Ideally, you should use vinegar that is diluted with water as explained in a subsequent section of this article.

Vinegar is also not recommended for use on skin that has abrasions or cuts. For example, you should refrain from using vinegar on areas of skin that was recently shaved.

You should also not use vinegar for sunburn if there is blistering which is typically a sign of second degree sunburn (extending beyond the topmost layer of the skin). Blisters should ideally be treated using antibiotic creams the likes of Bacitracin and Polysporin.

An equally important is that you should not pop the blisters but if blistered, covering them with nonstick bandage is advisable.

Coming back to the use of vinegar on sunburn, the question often arises, “how does vinegar work to soothe sunburns?” well there are various explanations that are often used to explain the modality in which vinegar works.

The first is the fact that vinegar is pretty volatile liquid and evaporates at low temperatures just like ethanol. As it evaporates, it gives a cooling effect to the skin, which then soothes the sunburned skin.

Vinegar is also believed to balance the pH of the skin after disruption of the same by the harmful damage of the Ultraviolet radiation from the sun. With balanced pH, the sunburned skin will then heal faster.

The third explanation often given has to do with the acetic acid in the vinegar which is similar to that found in aspirin. The acid is thought to reduce pain and inflammation in the same manner as aspirin medications do.

Vinegar for Sunburn Pain

“Does vinegar help to relieve sunburn pain?” That is a question asked the other day by one of our valued readers. Well, applying vinegar on sunburn – preferably apple cider vinegar – works to not only reduce the pain associated with it but also offer improvement in other symptoms such as inflammation, itching and redness.

We have explained how to go about using this home remedy in a subsequent section of this article.

How to Apply Vinegar to Sunburn or How to Use Vinegar for Sunburn

You might right now be wondering how to use vinegar to promote faster healing of sunburn. There are basically two approaches used in application of vinegar to sunburned skin, namely, vinegar soaks (or compresses) and vinegar baths. Both approaches are discussed in more detail in another section of this guide.

Sunburn Remedies Vinegar

You probably came to this page looking for “sunburn remedies vinegar” as one of our readers likes to put it. For the sake of this article we will discuss how to use diluted apple cider vinegar even though white vinegar can as well be beneficial to sunburns.

We have broadly speaking two type of sunburn vinegar remedies so to speak as you will soon realize in the next section.

Sunburn Treatment Vinegar or Vinegar Sunburn Treatment

Apple cider vinegar is better suited for relief of sunburns. Vinegar sunburn treatment is pretty easy and straightforward as you will soon realize. Two approaches are commonly used to apply vinegar on sunburn and they are as follows:

Sunburn treatment vinegar soaks

As the name suggests, this approach entails compressing small wash cloths soaked in dilute apple cider vinegar on the skin to help the skin cool down and soothe the pain and inflammation.


  • Mix a cup of water and a cup of apple cider vinegar in a small basin. For smaller areas of skin, you can as well mix ½ cup water to ½ cup apple cider vinegar and so on. The idea is to have a 1:1 ratio for the two ingredients.
  • Now wash your body (or affected area of skin) with lukewarm water to get rid of lotions and other chemicals before rinsing it with cools water. You should however not use soap.
  • Pat your skin dry with a towel as opposed to rubbing the towel across the surface of the skin which could irritate the skin further.
  • Take a small washcloth soaked in the apple cider vinegar solution and press it gently on the affected area of skin. Using a spray bottle filled with the vinegar solution is an equally good alternative.
  • Leave the washcloth on the skin for 15 to 20 minutes and re-soak it if it gets warm. Repeat the procedure 2-3 times every day until the sunburned area of skin has significantly improved in as far as pain and inflammation is concerned.

If the pungent smell of vinegar is offensive to you, don’t fret, it will go away in not more than 1 hour.

Sunburn Treatment Vinegar Baths

Bigger areas of sunburned skin are best treated by getting a vinegar bath every now and then. As the name suggests, this involves bathing with water to which apple cider vinegar – or white vinegar if that is what you have in your house – has been added.

Here is how to go about it:

  • To a bathtub of water, add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • Soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes and pat yourself dry with a towel once through
  • Repeat this 2 to 3 times daily until you have achieved significant improvement of sunburn symptoms such soreness and inflammation.

In conclusion, using vinegar on sunburn not only soothes the pain, itching and inflammation, but also reduces the risk of developing blisters considerably. Getting your apple cider vinegar from a health food store is an especially great option since high chances are that the vinegar you get there is wood-aged, as opposed to chemically-aged.

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