Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have heard about the numerous health benefits of apple cider vinegar by now. What was once just a remedy talked about in alternative health circles 10 years ago, has become more mainstream over the last couple of years. Currently one of its most popular uses is as a natural skin care treatment. Even celebrities like Scarlett Johansson have sung the praises of apple cider vinegar’s benefits for skin.
Apple cider vinegar isn’t just any old vinegar. It’s made in a particular way, and it’s this process that gives it its many health benefits.
Keeping a bottle at home means that you’ll always have a quick remedy on hand for a number of minor ailments and you’ll have an inexpensive, effective and all natural skin care ingredient that can replace so many of the decidedly unnatural skin care treatments that are commonly available in stores today.
What Makes Apple Cider Vinegar So Special?
The reason for apple cider vinegar’s amazing health and skin care benefits is due the way that’s it’s made. Apple cider vinegar comes in two forms. Filtered and unfiltered. It’s also available made with organic apples and with conventionally grown apples that have been sprayed with pesticides.
The kind that you need to look for is raw, organic, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar. It will look a little cloudy and there will be a spidery-looking mass down near the bottom of the bottle. This mass known as “The Mother,” is the special ingredient that sets apple cider vinegar apart from all other vinegars..
The Mother is alive, and it’s full of beneficial bacteria and nutrients. It’s primarily made up of amino acids and contains lots of health promoting antioxidants.
Vinegar has a long history and is thought to have been discovered about 5000 years ago, with its medicinal properties realized soon after.
Hippocrates, the father of western medicine used vinegar to treat wounds, and in the 1700’s medical practitioners made use of vinegar for a wide range of complaints.
And today with more and more people looking for natural alternatives for their health and wellbeing, apple cider vinegar is enjoying a surge in popularity.
How Is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
Raw apple cider vinegar starts life as organic apples, free from pesticides and fungicides. If you purchase the Bragg brand of vinegar, they certify that their apples come from organic farms in the United States.
The apples are crushed and left to ferment in tanks, during which time the sugars turn to alcohol. This apple cider is fermented once more by bacteria known as acetobacter. These bacteria turn the alcohol into acids.
All vinegar starts out with healthy live cultures in it, but manufacturers then pasteurize the vinegar, which destroys bacteria and enzymes and then they filter it to produce a clear liquid.
Raw organic apple cider vinegar on the other hand keeps all of those beneficial attributes.
Apple cider vinegar costs quite a lot more than regular white vinegar but it’s worth it. White vinegar is great as a natural cleaning product and as an effective fabric softener, but for therapeutic benefits you need to look out for the natural unprocessed vinegar with The Mother in the bottle.
Some Of The Benefits Of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar:
- Contains potassium that helps keep teeth strong, prevents hair loss and remedies a runny nose.
- Contains pectin that keep blood pressure regular and can reduce LDL cholesterol.
- Contains malic acid which makes it a good defense against viruses, bacteria and fungus.
- Contains calcium which helps keep our teeth and bones strong and healthy.
- Contains ash which normalizes your body’s pH and maintains a healthy alkaline state.
- Contains acetic acid that helps to reduce the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream after a meal – useful for weight control and for diabetics.
- Contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and E
Many people take a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day as a general health tonic, and many more swear by it as a cure all remedy for pretty much any health issue under the sun. If you wander over to a site like Earth Clinic, you’ll see apple cider vinegar listed as a natural remedy for many of the ailments covered on the user driven site.
Why You Should Wash Your Face With Apple Cider Vinegar
As a natural cleanser, without any worrying chemicals, dyes, fragrances or preservatives, apple cider vinegar cleans your skin safely and leaves it looking fresh and feeling supple.
Apple cider vinegar removes grease and dirt. Just like any good cleanser apple cider vinegar cleanses your skin. But there one big difference! Because apple cider vinegar is a mild acid, it cleanses without altering the pH balance of your skin.
Your skin is naturally acidic because of the sebum and perspiration layer that coats and protects it. This layer known as the acid mantle, stops water loss and keeps harmful bacteria out of your skin.
When this layer is stripped away by other cleansers or by soap and water, you can experience dry skin, if your skin isn’t functioning well enough to replace the lost acid mantle effectively. Conversely your skin can over react to this stripping and produce too much sebum which results in greasy skin.
The malic acid in apple cider vinegar will keep your skin clear of microbes like fungi and the bacteria that cause spots. It also acts as an antiviral that will prevent cold sores and warts from forming.
Apple cider vinegar helps to remove toxins from your skin. Environmental pollution is a big problem for skin (and the rest of our body). Our skin is the layer between us and the world, and in our modern environment it has to deal with substances that the human body has never been exposed to in all of human history. Humans are adaptable but that adaptability is a slow process. We still haven’t fully adapted to the grain based diet that our civilization adopted 10,000 years ago, which is why a diet heavy in grain based foods makes us fat, and why it sets us up to suffer from chronic disease..
The type of pollution in our environment has been around for less than 100 years and our defence mechanisms are struggling to deal with it. We just haven’t had time to adapt. One thing that apple cider vinegar is very good at is drawing these toxins out of the skin and neutralizing them. Used on a regular basis, apple cider vinegar can aid in detoxifying your body inside and out.
For older skin, apple cider vinegar is a real blessing. If you have age spots, apple cider vinegar will help to fade them. As well as cleansing your face with vinegar, you can apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the age spots with a cotton ball.
The alpha hydroxy acids in apple cider vinegar act as a natural exfoliant that removes the dull dead skin cells that make your skin look tired, and reveals the fresh healthy skin underneath.
Wrinkles are another area where apple cider vinegar shines for the older complexion. Older skin with wrinkles is typically dehydrated skin. Holding onto the moisture that your skin naturally produces is a far more effective way of plumping up wrinkles than attempting to add moisture from the surface. Surface moisture just doesn’t work in the same way. By keeping your acid mantle intact, apple cider vinegar prevents the water loss that leaves skin parched and more prone to wrinkle. When your skin has more of its natural moisture your existing wrinkles will be less evident.
To benefit from this effect, you have make sure that you drink plenty of water. If you are in even a mild state of dehydration (as many people are due to their choice of beverages and overconsumption of sodium) then your skin won’t have the moisture level that it needs.
When you consume too much sodium your body has to get rid of it. It does this by drawing water from your body to make urine. The more sodium your body needs to excrete the more water it will use. If you don’t sufficiently replace that water you become dehydrated.
Mild dehydration doesn’t just affect your skin, it can cause headaches, foggy thinking, slowed reactions (on par with those caused by alcohol), and stress on your entire body.
So by drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and your skin, and by using apple cider vinegar to keep your acid mantle intact, you will ensure that your skin has a nice healthy level of moisture which will help it to look plumper and years younger.
Apple cider vinegar is too strong to use undiluted on your skin. You must dilute it with water otherwise it could burn and leave your skin irritated.
Try a 50% dilution with water and see how that feels on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you may need to further dilute the vinegar. The best thing to do is to make up your dilution and then test it on a small area of skin on your wrist before you use it on your entire face.
Apple cider vinegar makes a great spot treatment. If you suffer from acne or from the occasional pimple, then washing your face with apple cider vinegar could be the solution that you need. It’s a mild cleanser that does not remove too much of your skin’s oil, and it leaves your acid mantle intact. The bacteria that thrive in the alkaline environment caused by soaps and other pH disrupting cleansers can’t survive in large enough numbers to create problems when you use apple cider vinegar on a regular basis.
You can also use a Q-tip to dab neat vinegar onto spots. Just make sure that you only touch the spot with the Q- tip and not the surrounding skin.
Cleansing with apple cider vinegar isn’t something that you need to do every day. Three or 4 times a week is plenty to experience its beneficial effects. An apple cider vinegar skin toner is perfect to use everyday, however. Make a toner with a 25% dilution of apple cider vinegar in water.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your skincare regime will give you cleaner, clearer and firmer skin, and it will reduce your reliance on expensive products that often cause more harm than good.
Other Great Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a really healthy addition to your diet. Some people mix it in a glass with water and drink it straight down. But let me tell you that is pretty unpleasant! A little raw honey can make it go a little easier, but there are less unpleasant ways to get its health benefits.
Use apple cider vinegar in your salad dressing. Use half cup of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of raw organic honey, a dash of mustard and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to make a delicious and healthy vinaigrette.
If you eat rice, you can add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the pan while the rice is cooking. The rice will soak it up, be extra fluffy and will take on a nice flavor.
Drink apple cider vinegar in a tea several times a day.
You will need:
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup of fresh brewed green tea or a herbal or fruit tea.
- A dash of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- 1 slice of ginger
How to make:
- Add the vinegar, lemon, honey and ginger to your hot cup of tea and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- Remove the ginger and drink.
You can use apple cider vinegar as a cleaner in your home (although regular white vinegar is effective for most uses).
Simply mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you want to. Use the spray on counters, in the bathroom, on glass and even for dusting.
Fruit flies love apple cider vinegar. All you need to do to tempt them away from your fruit bowl or kitchen scrap container, is add a little apple cider vinegar to a small bowl with a drop of dish soap. Place it on your counter and the fruit flies won’t be bothering you for much longer.
Marinate beef in apple cider vinegar for about 30 minutes before cooking for tender meat with a delicious flavor.
A diluted apple cider vinegar wash works great to clean your fruits and veggies. Just add a tablespoon to a bowl of fresh water.
If you suffer from leg cramps apple cider vinegar can help. Leg cramps often occur because of a lack of potassium. Drinking a cup of vinegar tea and rubbing the cramped muscle with vinegar will help to unlock the muscle and to prevent cramps in the future.
Apple cider vinegar can remove warts. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and tape it in place with a band aid or first aid tape. Leave it on overnight. Keep applying each night until the wart is gone.
Soaking in a warm bath with a little apple cider vinegar in the water is a good way to help treat a yeast infection. Add ½ cup of apple cider vinegar to the water and soak for twenty minutes.
Apple cider vinegar will condition your hair better than any conditioner that can buy. All you need to do is mix ½ cup vinegar with ½ cup of warm water and then slowly pour over your hair as you massage it through. Keep your eyes closed because it will sting if it gets into your eyes. If this happens flush your eyes with clean water.
Heartburn is often caused by too little acid rather than too much. The remedy is to add a little acid to your system for quick relief. Use two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a 8 ounces of water and enough raw honey to mask the flavor, and sip before you eat to prevent heartburn. It will taste a bit unpleasant for a moment but it’s better than the pain of heartburn. To remedy existing heartburn, mix the same drink and down it quickly.
How To Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar At Home
Apple cider vinegar is really easy to make. You just need apples and a little time! You can use fresh apples or to be really thrifty, you can make use of apple peelings and cores.
You will need:
- Crushed apples peelings or cores (or a mix)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar per one cup of water
- Large glass jar
How to make:
- Add apples to the jar until it is three quarters full.
- Stir the sugar into the water until it dissolves.
- Pour over the apple until they are covered. leave a few inches of air space at the top of the jar.
- Cover the jar with a coffee filter and a rubber band. It’s important to use a breathable cover and not a lid. Gasses need to be able to escape and oxygen needs to be able to enter.
- Let the jar sit in a warm and dark place for two weeks
- Stir the vinegar daily or at least 3 times a week
- Skim off the scum each time that it build up noticeably.
- After 2 weeks, strain the vinegar to separate the juice from the solids.
- Let this vinegar sit and mature in a clean jar for another 2-4 weeks. Keep tasting to find out when it has a flavor that you’re happy with.
- Pour into a clean jar with a lid and it’s ready to use.