Cellulite is fat pushing through the connective tissue just under the skin’s surface (subcutaneous). This causes skin dimpling that has been described as having a similar look to orange peel or cottage cheese.

It is believed to affect 80 to 90 percent of adult women, primarily on the thighs and buttocks.

Although researchers are unsure of the exact causes of cellulite, it is not considered a health threat. Many women who have it, however, do not like it from a cosmetic point of view.

If you search Google or other search engines for “apple cider vinegar for cellulite,” you will get links to page upon page of instructions on how to use apple cider vinegar (ACV) both orally and topically to reduce cellulite and even to make it magically disappear.

Many online articles include before and after photos to illustrate the results.

There is not, however, much, if any, scientific data to back up the claims.

According to a 2018 article from Harvard Medical School, “…apple cider vinegar has seen its share of health claims with little medical evidence to support them. The studies exploring its health benefits have focused on reductions in blood sugar levels and weight loss, but these have been small, short-term trials or animal studies.”

According to a 2011 study, there are a number of topical treatments for cellulite that include agents to:

  • prevent to formation of free radicals
  • restore dermis structure
  • restore subcutaneous tissue structure
  • reduce lipogenesis (metabolic formation of fat)
  • promote lipolysis (hydrolysis to breakdown fats and other lipids)
  • increase microcirculation flow

The study concludes that there is little clinical evidence that these topical treatments improve cellulite or lead to its resolution.

The side effects of consuming large quantities of apple cider vinegar include potentially deadly lowered levels of potassium. According to the University of Washington, no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV per day is recommended.

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

The use of ACV may or may not offer health and nutritional benefits. Although ACV is not necessarily considered harmful, there are risks. For example,

  • ACV is highly acidic. Used in large amounts or undiluted, it can be an irritant.
  • ACV might interact with other drugs you take such as insulin and diuretics.
  • ACV can erode tooth enamel.
  • ACV may intensify acid reflux like other acidic foods.
  • ACV, when ingested, adds extra acid into your system. This additional acid might be difficult for your kidneys to process, even more so if you have chronic kidney disease.

Although tempting, apple cider vinegar — or any supplement — is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. ACV may offer some health benefits, but more studies are needed.

If you are considering using ACV as an alternative therapy, talk to your doctor. Make sure that it is appropriate based on your current health, the medications you are taking and other factors.