We hear about its health benefits all the time, but what exactly does apple cider vinegar do for our skin, hair and scalp? Plenty, apparently. According to experts, a small amount of this miracle ingredient might ultimately improve your beauty and grooming routine. Here’s everything to know.

Everything to know about apple cider vinegar for your skin, hair and scalp

Although the scent isn’t pleasant, there’s a reason apple cider vinegar (ACV) is popular in the beauty industry. It’s naturally acidic, which is great for your skin, scalp, and hair. According to experts, the natural pH of our bodies’ skin is more acidic when we are healthy. When your skin is irritated, a small amount of this might be your secret weapon for calming it.

If you want a brighter complexion and a healthier scalp, the vinegar from the old saying might come in handy. That is, if it is made from apples.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples and then squeezing off the juice, according to experts. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start an alcoholic fermentation process that turns the juice’s sugars to alcohol. The alcohol is then transformed into vinegar in a second and final fermentation process.

Benefits of apple cider vinegar for skin

ACV’s skin-perfecting acids are similar to a mild chemical peel that gently exfoliates the skin. Gentle is the key word here; when used properly, ACV may help slough away dead skin cells that you can’t see, brightening your complexion.

ACV’s acidic characteristics also make it ideal for acne-prone skin – it has a low pH, which experts say helps to maintain our skin’s healthy acid mantle.

A well-balanced skin tends to be more acidic, so a few strategic swipes of the stuff on specific areas can work to bring your skin back down to a healthy pH, which, according to experts, is beneficial in balancing things like oil production and calming eczema flare-ups. It’s also worth noting that, due to the fermentation, ACV is naturally antimicrobial, which adds to its power in combating acne.

Benefits of apple cider vinegar for hair and scalp

You’ve probably heard it a million times: scalp is skin. As a result, ACV is equally effective in your hair-care regimen. Its exfoliating acids reduce oiliness and can help break up any debris or product residue left behind from daily activities. It helps to reduce scaly scalp since it is a mild exfoliator. According to experts, using diluted ACV to your hair might help it seem shinier by eliminating product buildup on the hair shaft.

It’s also great for dandruff. Remember those antibacterial and anti-fungal properties we mentioned earlier? They also make ACV a great natural cure for flakes, which can be aggravated by yeast (a form of fungus) on the scalp skin. Overall, it can support a healthy scalp by targeting dead skin cells that cause dandruff, minimising flakes and allowing you to go back into your cute black tops and shirts.

There are a few more advantages that the acids in ACV can provide for your crown. It seals the hair cuticles, retains hair colour, increases shine, and reduces frizz, as well as softening and strengthening the hair shaft.

How to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your routine?

The way you use ACV is determined by your overall skin or hair needs. According to experts, apple cider vinegar may be used on the skin as a cleanser, acne spot treatment, toner, and exfoliator, and on the hair as a cleansing hair rinse, shampoo, and so on, so you know there are an a plenty of products out there filled with it at various levels.

Experts recommend looking for acetic acid or vinegar on the ingredient list. It should be within the first five or so ingredients, and definitely not after the preservatives. If the product is labelled as fruit extract, any acetic acid is further diluted in a solvent such as glycerin or is only present in trace amounts.

If you’re still hesitant about apple cider vinegar due to allergies or simply dislike its distinctive scent, here’s a guide to some equally excellent ACV alternatives.

(Featured image: Ron Lach/ Pexels; All other images: Shutterstock)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Can I use apple cider vinegar directly on skin?

Answer: Apple cider vinegar is quite strong and can lead in chemical burns. As a result, before applying it to the skin, it should always be diluted with water—generally, one part apple cider vinegar to four parts water.

Question: Does apple cider vinegar lighten skin?

Answer: Its astringent properties help brighten skin and the acidic properties are perfect to keep problems like acne at bay.

Question: Does apple cider vinegar remove dark spots?

Answer: Acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may help lighten skin pigmentation and enhance the overall look of your skin. To use this remedy, combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a basin. Apply to dark spots and leave on for 5 to 7 minutes.

Question: Can I use apple cider vinegar daily?

Answer: Since apple cider vinegar is a powerful component, it should only be used two to three times a week.

Question: How long does apple cider vinegar take to show results?

Answer: A full skin-cell turnover takes four to six weeks, so allow it at least that long for the benefits to kick in.

Question: Are there any side effects of using apple cider vinegar?

Answer: Because the chemical exfoliant malic acid is milder than other AHAs, it is suitable for all skin types—just make sure to patch test any new products on your skin first. Other components of apple cider vinegar can irritate and dry up the skin, and studies suggest that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can cause chemical burns. To avoid this, just dilute the formula more than is recommended if it becomes too harsh.

Question: How long should I keep apple cider vinegar on skin?

Answer: Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes on the skin and wash it off with cold water.

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