If you’re one of the one in five Americans who experience dandruff, you’re probably familiar with the itchy scalp, irritation, and embarrassing flakes that come with the condition.
Although many over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos claim to fight flakes, it is often difficult to know which ones are effective.
Many of these shampoos are harsh, smelly, and just plain unpleasant to use. They contain ingredients such as salicylic acid that strip your hair of valuable nutrients and make your shower smell like a laboratory.
Luckily, you have other options for fighting dandruff and getting silky, hydrated hair at the same time.
Apple cider vinegar is a super ingredient that is common in many cosmetics for its antimicrobial and clarifying properties. It can also help fight dandruff and clear buildup away from your scalp.
Here is how you can use apple cider vinegar, or ACV, for dandruff.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Dandruff?
- What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
- Why Use ACV for Dandruff?
- How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Dandruff
- Adding apple cider vinegar into your shampoo
- Using apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a common scalp condition that causes itchiness, irritation, and flakiness of the scalp. Dandruff is usually caused when the scalp produces too much oil.
Often, this can be the result of underlying common scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or an excess of the fungus Malassezia.
Dandruff is not a sign of poor hygiene as most of the oils that fuel it are produced naturally. It is also not hazardous to your health.
It’s just irritating and embarrassing. The best way to treat dandruff is with frequent shampooing, often using an anti-dandruff shampoo.
However, this is an imperfect solution as many dandruff shampoos are too harsh to be used often. They can strip your hair of valuable nutrients, leading to dry, frizzy hair and even hair loss.
Drying out your scalp too much can also cause irritation and flaking, this time as a result of dry scalp instead of dandruff.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples combined with yeast. Besides being delicious, apple cider vinegar has several properties that make it useful beyond salad dressings and seasoning.
Apple cider vinegar contains two important ingredients: acetic acid, an active vinegar compound, and mother, a combination of proteins, enzymes, and healthy bacteria.
Although scientists are still exploring the exact benefits of these ingredients, they believe that their presence in apple cider vinegar gives this substance its reported health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood sugar, and better heart health.
Besides helping our health from within, apple cider vinegar also contains natural properties that make it an important ingredient in many cosmetics.
It is a natural disinfectant and cleanser, which is why many people believe that it can help clear up acne and scalp buildup that causes dandruff.
Why Use ACV for Dandruff?
There are several reasons why apple cider vinegar is an excellent ingredient in the fight against dandruff. It has strong antifungal properties and was proven to stop the growth of certain fungi in a scientific study.
Since one of the main causes of dandruff is an excess of the fungus Malassezia, ACV could stop dandruff by inhibiting one of its main causes.
Its disinfecting properties could also kill any bacteria that are using an oily scalp to grow.
Finally, the acidic properties of apple cider vinegar can help rebalance the pH of your scalp. Hair sebum, the natural substance that coats your hair follicles and protects your hair from drying out or absorbing oils and bacteria, is naturally acidic.
If your hair is suddenly greasy, oily, or falling out, that could be a sign that your scalp is too alkaline and preventing the development of sebum.
Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, falling between 2 and 3 on the pH scale. It can counteract the harmful effects of alkaline shampoos by rebalancing your scalp’s pH and repairing your natural sebum.
This will help prevent oily hair, dandruff, and even hair loss.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Dandruff
There are a few ways that you can incorporate apple cider vinegar into your hair routine.
Adding apple cider vinegar into your shampoo
Adding apple cider vinegar into your regular shampoo not only saves you a trip to the drugstore to buy a new product, but it can also fight dandruff and scalp buildup without drying out your hair in the same way that chemical-based formulas might.
However, it can be difficult to get the ratios right. That is why buying a natural apple cider vinegar shampoo is one of the best ways to incorporate the benefits of apple cider vinegar into your hair care routine.
Use it as you would any clarifying shampoo (be careful not to use it too often as that could strip your hair of valuable nutrients). These shampoos also contain other natural ingredients that help hydrate and strengthen your hair, such as argan oil.
When using a clarifying shampoo, including an apple cider vinegar shampoo, it is very important to use a conditioner.
Even the gentlest clarifying shampoo will strip your hair of some of its valuable nutrients, so you should get a conditioner that rehydrates and nourishes your strands to prevent hair damage. One based on natural ingredients such as coconut oil will work best.
Using apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse
If you already have a shampoo that you are happy using, you can incorporate apple cider vinegar into your hair care routine by making a homemade rinse. All you need are ingredients that you would find in your pantry at home.
To make an apple cider vinegar, hair rinse, dilute one-half cup of the vinegar with about one-and-a-half cups of cool water. Getting the ratio of vinegar to water right is important because if the vinegar is not diluted enough, it could irritate your scalp.
Then, pour the rinse through your hair after shampooing. Some preparations recommend leaving the rinse on for five minutes before washing it out with cool water, while others say that there is no need to add a second rinse. You can do what feels better for your hair. Finally, apply conditioner to nourish the hair cuticle.
The solution to your dandruff woes could be in your cupboard already. Add apple cider vinegar to your hair routine for a healthier scalp.
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