Skin Savvy DIY: Apple Cider Vinegar

I find a certain amount of skepticism is necessary as a DIY-er, particularly with regards to beauty. There are an awful lot of household products getting touted online as miracles for the skin with very little science to back up the claims. Usually, it’s easy to pick out the duds from a list of recommendations. I recently came across articles pushing ketchup and mustard for face masks, and it didn’t take long to debunk those claims.

Sometimes, though, I end up finding evidence to support using products on my skin and giving them a try. The sheer volume of Pinterest posts promoting apple cider vinegar was enough to get my spidey-senses tingling with suspicion. However, after research, I discovered that it actually passed scientific muster. There were still dermatologists who warned against using apple cider vinegar on the skin, claiming that there were safer products to use as a toner; however, the consensus seemed to be that as long as the vinegar was diluted, it was safe to use on the face.

Apple cider vinegar provides a number of benefits for the skin in theory. Its low pH makes it ideal to use as a toner. It can help dry out and prevent acne. It can also help to lighten dark spots on the skin. About the only thing apple cider vinegar doesn’t do is help reduce the appearance of aging. Thankfully, that isn’t a priority for me right now.

I’ve used an apple cider vinegar toner for almost two years, and I can honestly say that no other product has reduced my acne so successfully. I will still have the occasional pimple or blemish, but my breakouts have reduced and are much smaller than before I started using the toner. It’s helped manage the oil in my t-zone as well as balance the moisture in my cheeks. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The other purpose I’ve found for apple cider vinegar is to combat hard water build-up in my hair. I live in a town where the water is cloudy when it runs from the taps from the mineral concentration. I have to use a filter to make the water palatable. My hair tangles easily because of the build-up. A quick rinse once a week with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water gets rid of hard water build-up, restoring shine and helping tame my frizzy ends. There’s also research to suggest that apple cider vinegar helps treat dandruff, which is an added bonus given how cold and dry it is where I live.

Before I get to my recipes, here’s a few parting observations for you to consider before adding apple cider vinegar to your own beauty regimen:

– I am not a dermatologist. The research I have noted here comes from a number of reliable sources. Also, I can speak only to my personal experience with apple cider vinegar. As with any other treatment or product for the skin, this may interact differently on your face and hair.

– Use apple cider vinegar that contains the mother. The mother is a pulpy substance that collects at the bottom of the bottle. It’s basically the culture of bacteria used in and produced by the fermentation process, and it’s where a lot of the benefits come from for the body. If you can’t find this at your local grocery store, you may have to check a health foods store.

– Make sure to dilute apple cider vinegar before using it on the face or the hair. This is an acid, and using pure apple cider vinegar can have the opposite effect and dry out your skin or hair. You may even want to dilute the recipes I’ve provided before your first use to make sure it’s not a shock. If it burns, you’re probably using too much vinegar.

– Finally, apple cider vinegar smells, and it may not be a scent that you can tolerate. I find the smell dissipates as it dries, but I also have limited olfactory sense. The dude-spouse can’t come near me for a little while after I have applied it, at least until the odour fades. That I add tea tree oil to my toner doesn’t help, but it does work wonders on my acne.

Without further adieu, here are my recipes for apple cider vinegar toner and hair mask:

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

1 cup chamomile tea (you can also use green tea or distilled water)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (can adjust depending on your skin’s reaction, but I wouldn’t add more than 1/3 cup)
3-4 drops tea tree oil

Brew tea and allow it to cool. Add apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. Shake before every use. Either spritz onto the face with a spray bottle or apply using a cotton pad after cleansing face.

**I use this as part of my nightly skin routine; however, I have seen reports recommending limited use due to the acidity of the solution.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair ‘Mask’

1 cup distilled water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey

Mix ingredients together until honey dissolves. While hair is wet, apply mask from scalp to the ends of hair. Let sit for 3 minutes. Rinse. Vinegar smell will fade as hair dries. Use once a week.

I hope this post can help you pursue some DIY skincare solutions. What are some homemade beauty remedies that you have tested? Do you have scientific reasoning to support putting ketchup or mustard on your face? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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