Monday, 18 May 2009

Apple Cider Vinegar : Good or Not?

Jesmimi asked another interesting set of questions (first one led to the henna series)

I've read that apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal, and has been useful for people struggling with dandruff.

So first question, yes acetic acid in vinegar is known to be antifungal and antibacterial (J Food Prot, pg 2404-2409, 2008 and Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci, pg 265-71, 2008 ). As with all natural products there will be variances in how much acetic acid it contains and the antifungal/antibacterial activity also varies as a result.

It may help if your dandruff is as a result of a fungal infection. However, my advice is if you have dandruff and have tried the commercial anti-dandruff shampoos without any results, first get a diagnosis from a doctor.

How should I apply it? Should I dilute it with water? Let it sit on the scalp? How often should it be used? Will it damage my hair at all?

I haven't found a scientific answer to this question. There is research that says women prior to the manufacture of proper shampoos did use vinegar as a final acid rinse to remove limescale (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, pg116-122, 1958).
As no one has published how often or how much to use, I can't answer the question....sorry!

Final additional question from me - Can an ACV rinse close my cuticles to stop porosity?

I have to admit I am guilty of thinking of the hair cuticle in this way. However, after setting up this blog and doing the research I have to come to the conclusion that the hair cuticle just doesn't behave like this. It cannot just be opened and closed in a simple way. 
I have not found research specific to ACV, but certainly to acid conditions. ACV is a weak-ish acid and has a pH of about 3 (mine from my cupboard). Research shows that water absorption and surface roughness of hair appears to be quite similar at pH3 (acid) and pH7 (water). It actually only appears to change at high pH values (like for example relaxers at pH9/10). (J Invest Dermatol, pg 96-99, 1995 and Scanning, pg 431-437,1997)
If the cuticle was 'closed' at low pH, then water absorption should be lower and the surface roughness should change substantially. These two factors do not change, therefore the cuticle has not undergone a dramatic change. I therefore would think that an ACV rinse would not be able to drammatically change hair porosity. 
Do you use ACV, if so how much/how often, what are your results?

20 comments:

  1. I do an ACV rinse every time i wash my hair. It does help me retain moisture better, and my twist/braid outs are really moisturized and soft. When i ran out, my hair was noticeably drier.

    I love em, they help a lot, and my curls are more defined because they hold moisture.

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  2. I do an ACV rinse after co-washing if my scalp is particularly itchy. Usually i get a bowl of water and pour a little ACV in it - just enough to color the water a little because any more would sting when I poured it into my eyes. You can play around with your ACV/water ratio to find what works best for your hair. I find that I need to rinse about 3 times before I'm satisfied that my scalp is clean.

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  3. Man i've been looking so hard into understanding the ph levels of things. It honestly still confuses me a little about alkaline vs acidity. I think because I would assume a perm to be more acidic and other things to be on the higher end of the ph scale to be more moisturizing but things like soap are on that end and are considered to be very drying. Ironically a perm can burn the scalp like acid but is more alkaline but using ACV from what others have said cleanses it safely and even swear by it on their face. *may not try it on my face but my hair I may take a test run on* LOL I see 7 is safe but would using something that doesn't really do anything to the hair actually clean it and prevent buildup?

    Sorry I've been curious about this ph thing for a while LOL

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  4. i've been doing ACV rinses once a week for the last two months. i put it in a spray bottle, with alot of water, then i spray my damp scalp (not the hair), and i massage it through. then rinse, and continue with my regular routine. i must say i love it! i use to have dandruff,& i must say since using this i have not had dandruff issues. im not kidding, i keep checking my scalp because i thought it must be a fluke, but its not. it really worked for me.

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  5. How about a simple vinegar from our kitchen ?

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  6. i use apple cider vinegar as a final rinse. i dilute it with water in a 1:3 ratio. sometimes i use it to "wash" my hair also. i started using it religiously after some itchiness that resulted from the use of an old hair product (i suspect it might have had some fungus & bacteria) after two weeks of acv treatments, the itchiness went away. you can also incorporate some essential oils like rosemary and tea tree oil for their disinfectant properties.

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  7. Thanks all for your contributions!

    @Jaded - I have done a pH post which you can search for. Skin and hair are actually slightly acidic at around pH 4-6. A neutral pH (around 7) is generally regarded as non-irritating.

    @Kadiane - Yes if you are looking for acetic acid (antifungal/antibacterial) then any vinegar will do. I think many choose apple cider because the smell fades very fast. White vinegars and especially malt vinegars tend to 'hang' for a while.

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  8. i use white wine vinegar instead. is that any different? i don't get dandruff but i've got a very dry scalp. i'm not sure if vinegar helps but i still use it anyway, i've noticed that during the period when my hair wasn't breaking, i used vinegar.

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  9. @eccentric - yep white vinegar is fine too if you are looking for acetic acid

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  10. I'm surprised no-one in here is commenting about what you discussed in terms of ACV and porosity specifically ... because that's what most claim to use it for ...

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  11. Thank you for answering my question, Jc! I did go to a dermatologist, and he did diagnose me as having a scalp fungus. I'll try out the ACV rinse, as directed, since it seems to work so well for so many of the commenters.

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  12. My hair feels a lot smoother after I do a final cold water/ACV rinse (8:1 ratio of water to vinegar). Supposedly that smooth feeling comes with the cuticles laying flat, but I don't really know. I just like the way my hair feels--kinda like the moisture's been locked inside each strand.

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  13. will ACV rinse help my curly hair as a condintioner as want to try do I use after washing hair with my normal shampoo then do ACV rinse and is that it or do I condition as well and how often to do ACV rinse ? PLEASE HELP...

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  14. @Anon - I cannot tell you if it will be helpful or not. As I said in this post it is not researched. If you want to try it, then you can read the comments on this post and see what the ladies have said works best for them.

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  15. I was recently told I can use vinegar to "revert" my hair (i.e. strip my relaxer). Is this true? I think they said to use distilled or white vinegar and not apple cider for this purpose.

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    Replies
    1. No, this isn't true. A relaxer is a permanent change to your hair. You might dry your hair by not diluting the vinegar, but those strands are still relaxed.

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  16. is it okay to use acv rinsing in place of shampoo? i use Herbal Essences conditioners so i know i need to do something to remove build up

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  17. I've read that ACV can used as an effective detangler (because it supposedly smooths the cuticle), though I have yet to try it myself. Detangling my hair nowadays is nearly impossible so I'm going to give it a go soon. I have used ACV before as an anti-itch rinse for my scalp but wasn't too impressed with the results.

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  18. I do weekly ACV rinses with a 3:1 water to ACV ratio. I also add some honey and tea tree EO to the mix. It does a good job of keeping my scalp healthy.

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  19. My scalp has been seriously itchy for decades. I've used practically every dandruff product on the market. After almost 40 years dealing with dandruff I realised it was gone but the awful itching just got more intense. I was on prescription products for a while but my quality of life was not improved and I didn't see using smelly or steroid containing products as a long term solution. Plus medicated shampoos usually contain SLS which irritates my scalp and feels awful in my natural hair. Now I use Naked Care Mild Shampoo which really calms my scalp but I have to spritz with an ACV solution as needed throughout the week, and I don't wash it out. It's a real life saver for me. I was afraid of it destroying my hair but I've had no adverse effects. My hair feels amazing, my scalp is soothed and my quality of life is the best is been in a long time. I can't speak highly enough about it.

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