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Could ACV be the dandruff solution you’ve been searching for?


Flakes in winter Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Kate Daigneault

Apple cider vinegar is one of those seemingly does-it-everything liquids, beneficial for a serious health boost in just one shot. In particular, it may aid in digestion and could lower high cholesterol levels. But the wunderkind panacea seems to also have powerful benefits when used for hair, helping to reduce dandruff from a dry, flaky scalp, which is perhaps one of winter’s biggest beauty problems.

According to Skin Cleanse author and natural beauty guru Adina Grigore, apple cider vinegar is a wonder worker when it comes to your hair because it busts through buildup. “ACV not only helps balance your scalp’s pH, but it gets rid of all the excess gunk and buildup that’s accumulated over time,” says Grigore. “That means a healthier scalp and shinier hair.”

ACV contains naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids which can be used to cleanse the skin, improve acne-prone skin by helping to unclog pores, and reduce scalp scale.

Which begs the question that if it can remove excess gunk and build-up—and also soothe inflamed skin, as it does in the bath—ACV should be the perfect treatment for dandruff (which is caused by the yeast malassezia), right? New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, says yes. “Apple cider vinegar has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and is reported to effectively kill both bacteria and fungi on the skin,” he explains. “It’s also been proven that ACV kills yeast and likely lowers the levels of related yeast involved in the development on dandruff.”

Likewise, Mark P. Seraly, MD, a dermatologist based in Pittsburg, also notes its efficacy in treating dandruff. “Specifically, ACV contains naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids which can be used to cleanse the skin, improve acne-prone skin by helping to unclog pores, and reduce scalp scale,” he says. However, there’s just one caveat. “Full-strength apple cider vinegar may irritate the skin when applied directly, but you can create a mix of it and tap water for a similar effect for more sensitive skin.”

Get your mixing bottles out: DIYing such an incredible hair treatment has really never been easier.

Not the DIY kind of girl? No big deal. These products already have built-in ACV beauty benefits, and Ariana Grande swears by this easy-to-use essential oil to keep her ponytail shiny all the time.