People are literally obsessed with apple cider vinegar. Just open up Instagram— you will find someone drinking it for better digestion or more impressive weight-loss results.
Sure, you might smell kind of like salad dressing, but there actually are some legit benefits to using apple cider vinegar on your skin and hair, according to New York City-based dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman, M.D.
1. Skin soother
Add eight ounces of ACV to a bathtub filled with warm water and soak in it for 15 minutes. “ACV has anti-inflammatory properties that help balance the skin,” says Engelman. “It contains alpha hydroxy acids that chemically exfoliate to remove dead skin buildup and reveal healthy new skin cells.” You’ll emerge with smoother, softer skin.
2. Facial toner
ACV is a natural acne-fighter, says Engelman. “It’s a potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral substance capable of keeping bacteria at bay and pimples from forming,” she says. It removes oils and helps balance skin pH, Engelman adds, keeping your skin from becoming too oily or too dry. Apply ACV using a cotton ball over clean, dry skin (no need to rinse it off).
3. Hair rinse
Mix two tablespoons ACV with one cup water, and douse your hair after washing. “Massage into scalp, and leave on for about 10 minutes before rinsing,” says Engelman. The acetic acid in ACV will remove residue from product buildup and help you get shiny, lustrous locks. Rinse thoroughly, and follow with a light conditioner.
4. Razor bump remedy
Because apple cider vinegar helps remove dead skin cells, says Engelman, it can help exfoliate away the skin that traps ingrown hairs—clearing up and preventing razor bumps.
5. Dandruff treatment
Mix together a solution of equal parts ACV and water. Massage into your scalp before shampooing, recommends Engelman. ACV has natural anti-fungal properties to combat and mitigate dandruff, says Engelman. Plus, its acidic properties balance pH levels and restore the scalp’s protective acid mantle layer to ward off further fungal growth.
6. Bruise healer
Soak a cotton ball or pad with undiluted ACV, and secure it with a bandage. Leave on for one hour. “Since bruises are caused by pooled blood under the skin as a result of trauma, the anti-inflammatory properties of ACV help to dissipate pooled blood,” says Engelman—which helps speed up healing and reduce bruising.
7. Bug bite treatment
Moisten a cotton ball or pad with undiluted ACV, and dab on bug-bitten skin for instant relief. The acids in the vinegar neutralize the itch, while its anti-inflammatories ease swelling and its pH-balancing properties speed healing.
8. Sunburn relief
Mix together a half cup of ACV and four cups water. Douse a washcloth with the solution, and apply to sunburned skin to make the most of its anti-inflammatory properties. If large areas of your body are sunburnt (whoops, guess that SPF was expired?), Engelman suggests trying an apple cider vinegar bath. “After soaking for 10 minutes, the ACV will have helped restore the skin’s pH levels and your skin will feel cool and soothed.”
9. Foot deodorizer
Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with four cups water in a basin. Soak feet for 15 minutes, then rinse and dry. ACV’s antiseptic properties help to deodorize rank odor and disinfect feet, says Engelman. Plus, its antifungal attributes prevent and combat fungal conditions like athlete’s foot.
“You can also make amazing foot deodorizer wipes by pouring one cup ACV over baby wipes or thick single-use paper towels,” she adds. “Soak the wipes overnight in the fridge, then store in a Zip-lock bag to use as needed.”
10. DIY deodorant
The same foot deodorizing wipes can also work for your pits in a pinch, says Engelman, since its antiseptic powers can work well for sweaty armpits.