Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from apples with a double fermentation process that yields acetic acid, the key ingredient of all vinegars.

Often mistakenly called sebaceous cysts, epidermoid cysts are noncancerous bumps under the skin that commonly appear on the face, neck, and body.

If an epidermoid cyst is not causing you physical discomfort or making you uncomfortable for cosmetic reasons, it can be left alone. Sometimes it may even dissipate on its own.

Natural healers — perhaps motivated by a 2015 study indicating ACV’s antifungal properties — sometimes suggest using ACV to treat epidermal cysts. They recommend applying ACV to the cyst with a cotton ball two times a day.

Before trying ACV on your cyst, discuss other treatment options with your doctor. If your cyst causes you pain or a cosmetic problem, they might recommend either:

  • injection
  • opening and draining
  • full removal via minor surgery

Because ACV contains acetic acid, malic acid, and lactic acid, which are often used in skin care products, natural healers often suggest using ACV as a cystic acne treatment to help exfoliate dead skin and kill bacteria.

Although ACV does contain acids that can be effective in treating acne, studies are inconclusive. Also, applying ACV to the skin directly can result in skin burns and damage, so it must be diluted with water.

Before adding apple cider vinegar to your skin care regimen, discuss the idea with your dermatologist to see whether it’s a good decision for your specific circumstances.

Many advocates of natural healing suggest ingesting ACV as a treatment for ovarian cysts. However there is no published research indicating that ACV is a viable option for treatment or prevention of ovarian cysts.

Before you consider using apple cider vinegar for this or any medical need, discuss the idea thoroughly with your doctor. Your doctor can point out both the positives and negatives and how they relate to your current health.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular alternative treatment for a variety of conditions. There is not, however, much medical evidence to support these health claims.

Although the use of ACV may offer health and nutritional benefits and is not necessarily considered harmful for most people, it does have risks:

  • ACV is highly acidic and thus, especially in large amounts or undiluted, can irritate skin and mucous membranes.
  • ACV could interact with other drugs you use such as insulin and diuretics.
  • ACV can erode tooth enamel.
  • ACV like other acidic foods could intensify acid reflux.
  • ACV adds extra acid into your system that might be difficult for your kidneys to process, especially if you have chronic kidney disease.

No supplement, including ACV, can substitute for a healthy lifestyle. ACV may have some benefits, but more studies are needed to determine its health benefits and side effects.