Apple Cider Vinegar: Hero or Hype?May 30th, 2017 by Dr. Michael Glass
Everything You Need to Know About the Cosmetics of Apple Cider Vinegar
Remember the wafting, pungent smell of Apple Cider Vinegar from your grandma’s house? Nowadays Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV) can be found in every health and beauty magazine, blog, and news feed. ACV has obtained cult status, much like acai and other “super” berries, or “ancient” grains like quinoa. There’s seemingly no end to the different ways ACV can be used, from making your hair shine to toning uneven skin and soothing sunburns. ACV can manage your dandruff and disinfect the bacteria on your smelly feet. And that’s not to mention all the health benefits of actually drinking it!
So is ACV really the ultimate elixir? Today we’re going to look at what, exactly, ACV is, how it works all of its wonders, and how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle.
We’ll be focusing just on the cosmetic benefits of ACV, not the various claims made about consuming it (a topic that’s highly contentious, and needs to be studied further.)
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar is, like any vinegar, a fermented liquid obtained from a carbohydrate source. This means that the source, in this case apples, have had their natural sugars broken down by yeast and turned into alcohol. Acetic acid bacteria then converts the alcohol to acetic acid. This is where the tart flavor and strong odor come from. There are other components found in vinegar, like vitamins, mineral salts, and polyphenolic compounds, but the key ingredients of any vinegar is acetic acid.
Vinegars were used as far back as ancient Greece as a remedy for sores and infections. The antimicrobial properties of vinegar are well documented, but nowadays we use far better techniques and compounds to dress wounds, and vinegars are used primarily in food preparation.
The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of acetic acid can, however, be used as a topical treatment for warts, pimples, and zits. ACV also has anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful for treating bug bites, as well as soothing sunburns. But it’s also important to remember that acetic acid can cause burns, too, if the concentration is too high.
What Can I Use ACV For?
Along with acetic acid, ACV also contains alpha hydroxy acids that increase blood flow on the surface of the skin, and minimize pores. When properly diluted with filtered water, a little ACV can help restore your skin’s pH level, evening your tone and reducing the appearance of unsightly pimples.
Apple Cider Vinegar can be better for your skin than soaps or face washes that contain dyes and scents that dry out the skin by stripping essential oils, but again, having the right acidity is key.
Always use at least a 1 to 1 ratio of ACV and diluted water, and if you have sensitive or dry skin, you’ll want to dilute that mixture even further. Apple Cider Vinegar works like many cosmeceuticals available on the market today, except that you can drink it, too.
Just as with skin, ACV has the ability to balance the pH level of your hair, and this can restore your hair’s shine. As impurities found in hair products, as well as particulates and irritants, can upset the production of essential oils on your scalp, ACV’s astringent properties have the ability to clear out those impurities, leaving your hair smooth and shiny. A rinse with ACV after your regular shampoo can help with dandruff, tangles, frizz, and leftover hair product residue. As a home remedy, it’s simple to make, and can have the same effect as more expensive haircare products.
ACV is also great as an antifungal solution. Soaking your nails in a solution of one-fourth cup ACV and three-fourths diluted water can remove bacteria under the cuticles and keep your nails infection free. This is also true for fungi that cause unpleasant foot odors.
Veni, Vidi, Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is not a miracle cure by any means.
Many of the skin and hair benefits associated with ACV can also be found in high quality cosmetic products, ones that offer more than just acetic acid and alpha hydroxys.
However, as a simple, household ingredient, ACV is quite handy at giving your face and hair a regular boost in tone and texture. As long as you’re properly diluting Apple Cider Vinegar, it’s a great alternative that most people already have lying around in the kitchen cabinets.