When looking at a bottle of apple cider vinegar — particularly murky unfiltered apple cider vinegar — your first thought is probably not "I'd like to rub that all over my face." This article might change your mind.
This common ingredient has displayed its versatility since ancient times. Greek physician Hippocrates reportedly used vinegar (though the exact type is unknown) to treat his patients' wounds, and nowadays there are claims floating around that everything from psoriasis to high blood sugar can benefit from the amazing apple cider vinegar. Scarlett Johansson revealed in an interview with Elle UK that she relies on apple cider vinegar to calm breakouts: "It's a little bit stinky but if you're not sleeping over at your boyfriend's it's really effective!" These health statements have yet to be backed with hard scientific evidence; additional research is still being done.
However, there are things that have been confirmed about apple cider vinegar that'll make you see this substance differently. One of its most unappetizing features — the aforementioned murkiness in the bottle — is actually one of its most valuable. That cloudy material is called "mother of vinegar" and is defined as "a slimy membrane composed of yeast and bacterial cells that develops on the surface of alcoholic liquids undergoing acetous fermentation and is added to wine or cider to produce vinegar." While the "mother" hardly sounds appealing, it gives vinegar its characteristic sourness and is believed to contain "antibacterial and antifungal properties" when used topically or consumed in small quantities. Many companies strain out the "mother" before bottling, but Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar proudly touts the wispy strands. There are also other options available at your local health food store.
The Personal Care Products Council notes that low concentrations of acetic acid (one of the main components of apple cider vinegar) has long been used to stabilize the pH of cosmetic products, and some DIYers have resorted to applying "mother" onto their skin to achieve the same results. It's important to stress that acetic acid should only be used in limited quantities and should be heavily diluted to lower the concentration. There have been reports of accidental chemical burns and tooth erosion with excessive use of apple cider vinegar, so we urge you to use extreme caution.
In an article for InStyle, cosmetic dermatologist Karen Hammerman lists many ways in which it is safe to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your beauty routine. As a toner, the doctor suggests that apple cider vinegar "helps skin find the ideal balance between dry and oily." Apple cider vinegar is also adept at removing excess buildup of cosmetic products, making it suitable to use as a hair rinse or to clean makeup brushes. Again, Hammerman recommends diluting the vinegar prior to use.
To demonstrate another way apple cider vinegar can be used for skin care purposes, lifestyle blogger Annie Jaffrey shares her recipe for a "DIY Detoxifying Face Mask." Though this mask only contains three ingredients — apple cider vinegar, raw organic honey, and Himalayan crystal salt — Jaffrey lauds her concoction as being "packed with goodness." Along with the previously listed benefits of the apple cider vinegar (with the "mother"), the other ingredients exfoliate and nourish her skin.
To learn how to make this scrub mask and hear more about its benefits, be sure to watch the video below. If you try this recipe, or if you have another use for apple cider vinegar you'd like to share, drop us a line in the comments section.