Since there is no secret to my obsession with ingredients for skin care, I no longer need to hide the truth. I don’t have to load up on apple cider vinegar in shame, or fear judgment for my ramblings on its virtues. The truth is we don’t have to look that hard or far for the perfect skin fixes. Reading about the latest jungle berry or sea wonder for skin, cosmetic companies are having us race to the beauty counters for the next miracle in a jar. Don’t be tempted! I am not refuting that there can be advancements in skin care and that from time to time an amazing new active is discovered. What I am saying is that there are also shelves already lined with skin wonders, pantries full of actives that will deliver the results you’re after. So instead of chasing the promise in a jar, racing to the beauty aisle, loading up on products that make empty promises and then feeling let down by the money you wasted on yet another “skin perfecting, wrinkle erasing, zit zapping” product, look to the shelves of your local grocery store for all the skin magic and miracles you need.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been one of my favorite skin ingredients for some time. Consumers may tire of the same old, same old when it comes to what they use for their skin, but the benefits of ACV are so numerous and varied that your skin’s capacity for absorption of these advantages will never cease.
Fermentation is used to make the cider into vinegar. During this process, bacteria and yeast break down the sugars in the cider. First the sugars are turned into alcohol, and when the alcohol ferments further, you get vinegar. The word vinegar comes from the French, meaning, “sour wine.” The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, however it also contains other acids (lactic, citric and malic), vitamins, mineral salts, and amino acids.
There are several key attributes to ACV for maintaining beautiful skin, and exfoliation is one of them. Exfoliating is a key element for keeping youthful healthy skin. There are several ways to exfoliate, and one of them is by “digesting” dead skin cells, which the acids in ACV do. This mild cell turnover is widely used as a skin treatment to improve, soften, and smooth skin texture. The new skin layer, once revealed, is more vibrant, youthful, and healthy.
With a pH similar to skin, AVC helps restore and balance your skin’s pH and acid mantle. This too is key to healthy, beautiful skin. The acid mantle is the combination of sebum (oil) and perspiration on the skin’s surface. This barrier protects the skin and makes it less vulnerable to environmental damage (smog, sun and wind), less prone to dehydration, and also inhibits the growth of foreign bacteria and fungi (enabling skin to be healthier and have fewer breakout and blemishes. Acne, allergies and other skin problems become more severe as the skin becomes more alkaline).”Mild” soaps are often alkaline (pH 9.5-11), and remove the natural acid protection as well as extract protective lipids (fats) from the skin. Washing with soap can increase this alkaline state and make the skin even more vulnerable to irritation and infection. Most people are cleansing with products that are breaking down their acid mantle and causing increased skin issues. Balancing your pH is an imperative part of maintaining healthy skin.
When it comes to obsession with Apple cider vinegar, Dr Bragg needs to be mentioned. He has championed, pioneered and touted the health and skin benefits far longer (and louder) then I. When making my products I use his vinegar. It is the best I have found.
On the Bragg’s website they list these benefits:
- Support a healthy immune system
- Helps control weight
- Promotes digestion & pH balance
- Helps soothe dry throats
- Helps remove body sludge toxins
- Helps maintain healthy skin
- Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
- Soothes irritated skin
- Relieves muscle pain from exercise
That is mild in comparison to all the astonishing things people claim it can do. It is no wonder that ACV is used from everything from cleaning silver to ridding skin of acne. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, treated his patients with natural apple cider vinegar in 400 BC, so it may seem new to you, but its virtues have been touted throughout history.
With all the fanfare that ACV gets it is hard to sort out what really works and what does not. I have used ACV with great success in both my products and at my spas. Along with some of my proven formulas using ACV (toner and mask), here are a few of my favorite AVC remedies:
Hair rinse: Apple cider vinegar gets rid of residue build-up on hair, leaving it soft and shiny. Mix ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with 2 cups water. Apply after shampooing.
Stain remover: For berry stains on hands use straight apple cider vinegar.
Sunburn: Add 1and 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath.
Detox bath: Add 1and 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, 1and1/2 cups Epsom salts and ¼ cup dead sea mud (optional; if you can find it) to your bath.
Dandruff: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts warm water, apply to scalp. Use a hair toner/dye bottle or any bottle that has a pointy tip that will allow you to get the liquid directly on your scalp.
Deodorant: Since ACV helps adjust the skin’s pH level, it helps to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. For underarms use a cotton ball to apply, for feet: Add ½ cup ACV to a bowl of water; soak feet.
Acne: Mix 1 part ACV, and 3 parts Rooibos tea and apply to blemishes. You can add a drop of Tea Tree Oil or Oregano oil as well.
pH balancing toner: Mix 1 part ACV with 4 parts water for your base.
For acne/oily skin replace water with roobois tea.
For dry skin replace water with chamomile tea or cucumber-infused water (leave several slices of cucumber in the water overnight).
For aging skin replace water with green, black or white tea.
Skin perfecting mask: 1 teaspoon deep sea mud, 1 teaspoon rose water, ¼ teaspoon ACV, 1/8 teaspoon yogurt, 1/16 teaspoon nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon kombucha. Mix all ingredients together. To balance the texture, you can add more mud or yogurt (to thicken) or kombucha or water (to thin). (If you cannot find deep sea mud or rose water locally you can either eliminate them from the mask replacing the mud with arrowroot and the rose water with plain water. If don’t want to do the swaps I suggested you can purchase deep sea mud and rose water online at www.sumbody.com).
And last but not least, if you have achy, swollen hands and feet: Rub them with a little apple cider vinegar.
Ins and Outs:
- Understanding common, accessible ingredients, and how they transform skin.
- Using locally sourced actives from your pantry.
- Having to run out and buy any and every new miracle ingredient for skin.
- Being sold on the ideas that new is better, and exotic does more.