Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is an all-natural health supplement that has been gaining popularity in recent years. One reason for this is due to its hair benefits, enabling you to cleanse your scalp and hair follicles and accelerate hair growth.
In this post, I’ll introduce you to apple cider vinegar and its variety of uses. This will include a look at the five ways in which ACV can combat hair loss.
In addition, you’ll learn four ways to add ACV to your hair care routine and how to use this supplement most effectively.
BONUS: Once you’ve read through the article, I recommend you take the six-question hair loss quiz at the end. The results will tell you more about your hair loss (including whether it’s reversible), and this will help you to determine if apple cider vinegar is the right treatment option for you.
The Rise of Apple Cider Vinegar
As a centuries old folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been used for a variety of medicinal and cosmetic purposes around the world.
This supplement contains a number of beneficial minerals and nutrients, including vitamins b and c, and niacin. In addition, it contains malic acid, acetic acid, and citric acid – all which have their own benefits.
In recent years, apple cider vinegar has grown in popularity among the health and wellness community.
That’s because there are many general health benefits which ACV provides, including weight loss, blood sugar control, lowering of cholesterol, and lowering of blood pressure.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Combat Hair Loss
In addition to the above mentioned benefits, apple cider vinegar can also be a treatment option for individuals suffering from hair loss. Let’s discuss a few things it can do.
It Removes Buildup from the Scalp
Scalp buildup is a common occurrence, and it occurs as a result of daily living.
Buildup consists of sebum, dirt, dead skin, hair products, pollution, and even harmful chemicals (such as DHT). This buildup can clog the hair follicles, and this makes it difficult for hair growth to continue.
As a cleansing rinse, apple cider vinegar can gently remove this buildup and prevent it from returning by balancing the scalp’s pH level.
It Improves Blood Circulation to Hair Follicles
Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), also known as Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB), is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. To understand why this is, it’s important to know how AGA works.
First and foremost, DHT is a chemical believed to contribute most significantly to the hair loss suffered by those with AGA. This is an androgen (sex) hormone that’s produced from testosterone with the help of 5-alpha-reductase (5AR).
Individuals with AGA don’t usually have more DHT; instead, their follicles are more sensitive to the normal levels present within their hair follicle cells.
Eventually, this sensitivity leads to miniaturization of the hair follicle and an interruption of the hair growth cycle.
As miniaturization occurs, blood flow to the follicles is restricted. This leads to poor delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients, as well as less removal of waste and buildup.
Apple cider vinegar, however, can improve blood circulation. While this itself won’t reverse hair miniaturization, ACV can also remove DHT from the scalp and lessen irritation.
It Treats and Prevents Dandruff
Dandruff is an embarrassing problem, but it’s also one that causes much discomfort and can even lead to hair loss.
There are a number of natural remedies for this condition, however.
While not much is known about the mechanism, it’s believed that the acidity of apple cider vinegar makes it difficult for Malassezia – the fungus responsible for dandruff – to live and spread.
While not a direct cause of hair loss, dandruff can be responsible for increased thinning. This is because scratching of the scalp can stress the hair and follicles, and can even result in permanent scarring if allowed to continue.
It Prevents the Growth of Bacteria and Yeast
A common problem among hair loss sufferers, bacteria and yeast overgrowths can lead to permanent scarring and continued thinning and hair loss.
A few of the more common infections include dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis (yeast), scalp folliculitis (bacteria), and impetigo (bacteria). These can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but they can also cause permanent hair loss if not addressed immediately.
Malic acid is a compound found within ACV, and it contributes significantly to its antiseptic abilities.
With regular use of ACV then, you can treat infections and prevent them from reappearing. This is vital if you want to maintain the health of your scalp.
It Targets Free Radicals and Reverses Signs of Aging
Free radicals are atoms present within the body. However, they’re missing an electron and must scavenge it from other atoms – healthy ones – in order to complete themselves.
These scavenging abilities lead to the degradation of vital cells, including skin and hair cells. This contributes to advanced aging, and it can make hair loss possible.
Availability and Cost
Aside from its many health and cosmetic benefits, the two greatest things about apple cider vinegar is its 1) availability; and 2) low cost.
Apple cider vinegar can be found in grocery stores and health markets around the world, and it can also be purchased online from retailers such as Amazon.
To reduce costs, I recommend purchasing in bulk.
A 16-oz bottle of Bragg Organic ACV costs only $9.64 ($0.60/oz). However, a 128-oz bottle of the same brand costs $42.44, but that only comes out to 33 cents per ounce!
Of course, there are a variety of other brands to choose from.
IMPORTANT: When purchasing apple cider vinegar, ensure that it contains “mother”. This is a pulpy substance, and it’s where the majority of the vitamins and minerals reside. ACV without the mother will NOT deliver the same results.
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4 Ways to Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Hair Care Routine
Of course, you won’t experience any of the above benefits if you don’t use ACV regularly. With this in mind, here are three ways you can easily add to your daily routine.
Add It To Your Diet
While the majority of hair-related benefits come from direct application to the scalp, adding ACV to your diet can improve your body’s overall health. As a result, your scalp and hair will be healthier, too.
This versatile diet staple can be added to just about any recipe or meal. Add a few tablespoons to soups, stews, and broths. Or, use it as a base for your salad dressings and marinades.
If you like the tangy flavor, or if you just want a more direct way of consumption, you can even mix into water and tea.
Here’s a delicious tea recipe from Dr. Axe that you can easily add to your morning or night routine:
- Warm or hot water (12-16 oz.)
- Apple cider vinegar (2 TBSP)
- Lemon juice (2 TBSP)
- Ground ginger (½ to 1 TSP)
- Cinnamon (¼ TSP)
- Cayenne pepper (dash)
- Raw, local honey (1 TSP) (optional)
Heat the water to desired temperature, and then combine all ingredients. Stir well, and enjoy!
Health & Hair Benefits:
All of the ingredients included in the above recipe are beneficial to your overall health.
ACV, as mentioned, can control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. In addition, it can increase blood circulation to help cleanse and purify your scalp and hair.
Lemon juice is a digestive aid, helping to break down mucus and line the tract. In addition, it’s an antioxidant.
The three herbs contained within the recipe – ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper – also contain a variety of health benefits. Ginger, for example, is an anti-inflammatory while cayenne pepper is known to increase blood circulation.
Last, honey is a known antiseptic, but it can also add a touch of sweetness to offset the tang and spice of the tea.
Make Homemade ACV Shampoo
- Apple Cider Vinegar (1 cup)
- Water (1 cup)
- Rosemary (1 bunch)
- Jojoba Oil (1/4 cup)
- Peppermint Essential Oil (10 drops)
Steep the rosemary in boiling water, remove from heat, and allow to steep until room temperature. Discard the rosemary, and pour the rosemary tea into a shampoo container. Combine the rest of the ingredients, and stir well.
Lather the mixture onto wet hair, and massage the shampoo into your scalp for at least 3 minutes. Allow to absorb for another three minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.
This shampoo recipe is a combination of cleansing and soothing, both of which contribute to the health of your hair follicles.
The rosemary tea works to soothe irritation and inflammation, while the jojoba oil hydrates and ensures proper moisturization. Additionally, the peppermint oil balances the scalp’s pH and leaves a comforting tingle.
Of course, the apple cider vinegar gently cleanses and removes harmful buildup without stripping your hair of essential oils.
Make an ACV Hair Rinse
If simplicity is what you’re looking for, you’ll be happy to learn that an ACV hair rinse can be made in just a matter of minutes.
- Apple cider vinegar
Combine the two ingredients in a 1:1 ratio, and store in a cool, dry place.
Before use, shake the mixture well.
To use, pour over wet hair. Leave in for 10-15 minutes, and massage your scalp to be sure the mixture reaches all areas. Rinse thoroughly, and repeat at least twice per week.
As mentioned previously, ACV is an excellent way to remove buildup from your hair and scalp. With the help of this gentle rinse, then, you can cleanse and nourish the scalp while gently removing any harmful chemicals and other buildup.
Create an ACV Scalp Tonic
A bit more powerful than a rinse, this tonic can be used to gain more stimulating results.
- Apple cider vinegar (2 TBSP)
- Cayenne pepper extract (3 drops)
Combine the two ingredients in the bottle of your choosing, and mix well.
Using your fingers or a pipette, apply the mixture to problem areas of your scalp. Gently work the combination in by massaging with your fingertips, and leave the tonic on for at least one hour (though, you can also leave it on overnight).
Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, and repeat the process at least three times per week.
This tonic not only cleanses your scalp and hair follicles, but it also stimulates active hair growth by increasing circulation to the follicles.
As a cheap and effective hair loss treatment supplement, I urge you to consider adding apple cider vinegar to your regular hair care routine.
While the results may not be as dramatic as minoxidil or finasteride, ACV can supplement your health and contribute to a balanced and clean scalp. This is essential for the growth of strong, healthy locks.
I do recommend you use ACV alongside other natural treatment options to boost results.
To learn more about the hair loss treatments that will work for you, take the quiz below.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?