Apple Cider Vinegar: When and When NOT To Use It

Apple cider vinegar

People are gaga for apple cider vinegar these days (endearingly shortened to simple ACV). Its used internally to cleanse the liver, re-alkalize the body and gentle detoxify our tissues. But beyond taking a spoonful of ACV daily, many naturalists love it for beauty. Its raved about online as a natural toner, cleanser and anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately, some of this exuberance is misguided. While I love, love, love apple cider vinegar for beauty – like any ingredient – its great for some conditions and detrimental for others. Read on for guidance on how to use this trendy health food.

ACV: An Amazing Hair Rinse

Apple cider vinegar is great for hair. I love ACV as a hair rinse as it creates volume, clear scalps and softer strands. I try to use it weekly as a head and scalp treatment and have even used it as a shampoo and conditioner replacement in a pinch. However, using it every day can be drying then lead to oil imbalance of the scalp. Those with resilient scalps may not experience this but others with oil-prone hair can find that too much ACV makes them bounce between a too dry and too oily mane.


A Natural Toner

Looking for a cheap, natural skin toner? ACV may be your answer. This vinegar makes a nice, astringent toner that removes oil and purifies the skin. Its great on thick, oily complexions that need a swab down of clarification. But I don’t recommend it for dehydrated skin. Apple cider vinegar can be too drying and irritate the skin. Actually, I personally have found it trigger eczema flare-ups in these skin types. Although, some of my clients swear by ACV for pustules, skin infections (especially infected ingrown hairs). I also have found it to be an excellent tonic treatment for mosquito bites.

Beware For Sensitive Skin

Along with dry, dehydrated skin, ACV must be used with caution on sensitive complexions. These usually happen to also be dry and dehydrated but not always. While it does take down swelling of inflamed bug bites, its not good on open, broken or sore skin. As mentioned above, it can also trigger eczema-prone skin because of its astringent nature.

sensitive skin

Keeping ACV Away from Burns And Intense Inflammation

Because apple cider vinegar can be used on skin that is wet and inflamed, many people think it can be used on any time of inflammation. However, it works on wet inflammation (such as infections, bites and other parasites) because of its clarifying action. When used on dry, inflamed skin, it can be damaging. I experienced this personally. My husband and I both got very bad sunburns a while back on vacation to Mexico. It was a bright, painful burn that needed aloe vera immediately to cool it down and help our skin repair. Note: aloe is full of cellular water and hydration. Another hotel guest suggested we use ACV instead of tried and true aloe, saying they read about it online and touting its anti-inflammatory properties. I was skeptical but I like challenging my own preconceived notions in the name of experimentation and an open mind. Who knows? I have changed my view of many ingredients through personal testing. So, we dabbed ourselves in patches with ACV and left other areas alone completely. The skin that was treated with apple cider vinegar became so dried out and tender that could hardly move without discomfort. The untreated areas were also inflamed but no longer painful. We then changed gears and started using fresh aloe vera instead and found our skin’s healing speed up immensely. The ACV areas still lagging behind the previously untreated body parts! Take advantage of my curious mind and avoid ACV on burns and intense inflammation. These conditions need hydration to regenerate and repair so opt for soothing moisturizers and gels instead of astringent apple cider vinegar.

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