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Apple Cider Vinegar & Kombucha for Skincare: Are They Worth Trying?
Most of us aim to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends in skincare, but sometimes it can be difficult to keep up.
Once you hear the buzz about a new product, there are a variety of factors to consider.
What are the actual benefits? How do I know what’s fact or fiction? And most importantly: Is it truly right for me?
So let’s dive right in and talk about two of the latest hot topics in skincare: the wonderful world of apple cider vinegar and kombucha.
We’ll start by tackling the basics — what exactly these products are, where they originated, and how they are made.
Next, we’ll get into the stuff you’re really looking for: the variety of benefits of apple cider vinegar and kombucha, and how to use it to get your best skin ever.
Finally, we’ll wrap it up with a few fun DIY ideas that won’t break the bank. (Homemade and affordable options? Yes, please!)
Feeling intrigued, fellow skincare buffs?
Let’s do this!
Apple Cider Vinegar and…Kom-WHAT-a?
You may have heard of apple cider vinegar, but don’t necessarily know the deets.
Kombucha, on the other hand, might be a little more of a foreign concept.
Don’t worry, lovelies — I'm here to settle the confusion for you!
Apple cider vinegar consists primarily of apple juice, and the addition of yeast turns the fruit sugar into alcohol (the science-savvy will identify this process as fermentation).
Bacteria turns the alcohol into acetic acids, which results in the sour taste and strong smell.
The product has a long history of use as a home remedy — it's frequently used to soothe pesky sore throats (and is actually my go-to solution when I start to feel a tickle in my throat).
The ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates also used it to treat wounds.
Additional health benefits include aiding in weight loss, reducing dandruff, and even boosting heart health.
An animal study in Japan, for instance, showed that giving rats acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, resulted in reduced levels of blood pressure.
However, recent findings identify a multitude of other benefits that have proven particularly helpful in the beauty world.
We all know that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but can apple cider vinegar keep your skin at bay?
Before getting into the benefits, let’s take a closer look at kombucha.
Kombucha is a fizzy, sweet-and-sour drink made from tea.
Some people hate it; some people love it.
It’s been known to assist with a variety of health issues, such as hair loss, and has served as a remedy for acne, fatigue, hypertension, headaches, and constipation.
It also supports several other body functions, including:
- Improved pancreas function
- Liver detoxification
- Increased energy
- Better digestion
- May be beneficial for weight loss
Plus, for all of the Nervous Nellies out there, kombucha may also be an effective stress-buster!
One particular study showed that rats exposed to stress post-tea consumption produced more antioxidants and had less DNA damage than those who went tea-free.
Kombucha even reversed the damaging effects of stress on the rodents’ immune systems.
Talk about powerful!
Although kombucha is often referred to as “mushroom tea,” it’s not a mushroom.
Instead, it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast.
Although the drink may not sound super appetizing right off the bat, stay with me!
Kombucha is made up of three key ingredients: yeast, sugar, and black tea (sometimes green).
After being set aside for a week at minimum, this leads to the formation of bacteria, acids, and a small amount of alcohol (once again, our little friend called fermentation comes into play).
First brewed in China nearly 2,000 years ago, the mix eventually spread to Japan, Russia, and finally Europe in the 20th century.
It’s gained major popularity in the US due to its rep as a health and energy drink.
Kombucha has been linked to a healthier immune system and weight loss, as well as the alleviation of high blood pressure and heart disease.
The health benefits of kombucha can largely be attributed to the “good stuff” it contains.
In addition to its caffeine and B vitamins, it also provides “good bacteria” known as probiotics.
These guys are good for your gut and aid in digestion.
Kombucha also offers a lower-calorie option in comparison to other carbonated beverages, such as soft drinks.
With only 30 calories per cup, it’s fat-free too. Win-win!
I also want to make an important note: I'm not a doctor, so please ask yours for official medical advice. And, many articles online will claim that apple cider vinegar and kombucha are cure-alls that will help instantly. This is not so!
Why Should We Use These Products In Our Beauty Routines?
So you’re officially well-versed in the basics of apple cider vinegar and kombucha.
Now it’s time to get into the beauty-centric benefits!
Apple cider vinegar contains several components that make it a go-to beauty boost.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Another important note: Perform a patch test before fully committing to using ACV and kombucha on your skin. I don't want you to have a reaction! Sensitive skin types should be particularly careful.
- Say “adios” to adult acne!
Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help prevent acne by keeping the skin pores free from bacteria and excess oil.
It also helps restore and balance your skin’s pH, which is crucial to stopping breakouts before they start!
- Dandruff destruction
There’s nothing worse than those embarrassing white flakes, but apple cider vinegar may be a promising solution due to its natural antifungal properties.
Plus, it can help restore pH balance of the scalp and clean clogged pores and hair follicles.
Here’s a quick dandruff-destroying recipe:
- Mix 2 tablespoons each of apple cider vinegar and water.
- Add 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil.
- Apply this solution on your scalp and massage for 5 minutes, and then leave on for another 5 minutes.
- Rinse your hair with water, then shampoo as usual.
- Use this natural treatment 2 or 3 times a week.
- Sayonara, stinky feet!
Nothing quite kills the mood of date night like some major foot odor.
Luckily, apple cider vinegar’s antimicrobial properties can come to the rescue.
Simply mix one cup of apple cider vinegar and four to five cups of warm water, then soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes.
Use this treatment once a day for a few weeks, and your toe woes will be a scent of the past!
- Boost hair health and shine
We all long for shinier locks, and apple cider vinegar just might be that fool-proof method to get us there.
Apple cider vinegar works its magic with its clarifying properties that help remove leftover buildup from styling products and shampoos.
Plus, it helps restore the natural pH level of the scalp.
Just mix ¼ cup of ACV with two cups of water, and pour the solution onto your hair post-shampoo sesh.
Massage it into your scalp and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing.
Using this method once a week should do the trick!
- Brighten yellow nails
So you’re typing away at your cubicle, and can’t help but notice that your fingers have some funky yellow-ish tint going on. What gives?
This can be attributed to a variety of lifestyle factors, but apple cider vinegar offers a quick solution.
The malic and acetic acids in ACV help reduce discoloration of the nails, and can also treat nail infections that cause discoloration.
Here’s how to whiten ‘em on up:
- Prepare a nail soak with ½ cup each of ACV and lukewarm water.
- Soak fingernails in this solution for 20 to 30 minutes, and then rinse it off.
- Massage a small amount of olive oil into each nail bed.
- Perform twice daily until color is improved.
- Treat razor bumps
Shaving may be crucial, but that bumpy road after-effect is enough to make us want to break our razors in two.
Never fear — apple cider vinegar is here!
ACV has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the irritated skin and decrease inflammation and itching.
Plus, the acetic acid works to prevent infection and soften skin to help ingrown hairs grow out more easily.
Check out this easy mix to dump the bumps:
Apply a thin layer of honey on the affected area, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
Rinse it off with cold water, and apply ACV to the area using a cotton ball.
Let it air dry, and repeat a few times a day for best results.
- Reduce age spots
Apple cider vinegar has alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which help to rid your skin of dead cells.
Try swapping your usual face wash with apple cider vinegar, and you may notice your age spots starting to fade out — finally!
You can also speed up the process by putting a drop of apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and dabbing the spots.
Wait 30 minutes before rinsing your face, and repeat daily for about six weeks.
- A wrinkle-fighting wonder
ACV contains vitamin C, which makes it a promising anti-wrinkle solution.
Vitamin C works to effectively stimulate the production of collagen, which helps maintain your skin’s toned and wrinkle-free look.
- Remedy oily skin
Excess oil can be more than just a nuisance, especially when it interferes with our desired beauty looks!
The good news: Apple cider vinegar can keep things balanced. Containing a similar pH to the skin’s, the acids help stimulate blood flow and minimize pores for soft and toned skin.
Now that we’ve covered several beauty-focused properties of apple cider vinegar, let’s move right along to kombucha!
While the skin-related benefits of kombucha are less known, there are several to take note of.
According to a representative from Emergen-C:
“Kombucha not only detoxifies but also hydrates the skin as it improves skin elasticity. Kombucha improves skin tone, texture, and clarity as it brightens the skin. Finally, kombucha as an active ingredient also combats the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.”
Plus, the NYU Langone Medical Center points out that advocates of kombucha find it useful for promoting weight loss, clearing up acne, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read!
While I’ve highlighted various benefits of both apple cider vinegar and kombucha, it’s important to note that some rumors may be too good to be true.
Before going kombucha-crazy, consider these words of caution:
- If you’re pregnant, a nursing mom, or have a medical condition, be sure to check with a doctor before consuming - as it contains both caffeine, sugar, and levels of alcohol.
- Kombucha has been known to cause bloating in some people who drink it, which can be largely due to the presence of probiotics and potential changes in gut bacteria. Got a digestive disorder? Consult your doc before gulping it down!
- If kombucha is made incorrectly, it may contain harmful and dangerous bacteria. Although this is rare, it’s more common with homebrews - so make sure you know before you brew!
- Make sure you’re prepping correctly and safely. Preparing the drink in a ceramic vessel may be dangerous as the acidic brew can leach any lead from this vessel into the finished drink.
Kombucha has also been linked to potential dental problems, but luckily, we have a few simple tips to avoid this from happening.
Drink it all in one sitting rather than sipping the drink throughout the day, and swish down with clean water (rather than brushing) right after.
Much like with kombucha, don’t dive into all-things apple cider vinegar without getting all of the facts.
Here’s a big one: Many people recommend brushing your teeth with apple cider vinegar, but doing so can actually be hazardous to your enamel.
According to Jack Ringer, DDS, a cosmetic dentist based in Anaheim, CA:
“There’s a lot of good stuff in apple cider vinegar, but it’s also very acidic. And we know in the dental world that when acids touch the teeth for a prolonged time, it can be disastrous— they erode tooth enamel, and we don’t get that enamel back.”
Luckily, this doesn’t mean you need to completely ditch ACV for your pearly whites.
Simply follow these tips to keep your enamel intact:
- Dilute the apple cider vinegar in another liquid, preferably water.
- Drink it through a straw so the vinegar doesn’t make contact with your teeth.
- Don’t swish the vinegar around in your mouth.
- Rinse your mouth out with water after you drink the vinegar.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking ACV.
- Don’t eat or drink other acidic things — like orange juice, grapefruit, or tomatoes — immediately after drinking apple cider vinegar.
There are a variety of easy ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar and kombucha into your beauty regime — no need for complicated instructions or confusing ingredients!
Why not try out a DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner or At-Home Skin Peel?
Looking for more of a full-day affair?
Treat yourself to a kombucha spa day with these DIY beauty recipes to improve your skin’s glow and hair’s shine.
Well, beauties, we tackled quite a bit of information on apple cider vinegar and kombucha!
I hope that this article helped navigate some confusion around the two, and gave you some good insight on how to incorporate both into your beauty routine.
Whether these products serve as an all-around skincare boost or a simple tweak, I’m always happy to share the latest tidbits and best practices with you.
Need some high-quality and effective skincare products to add to your routine? Check out my All Skin Types Set!
Care to share your experience with apple cider vinegar or kombucha? I’m all ears! Let me know your results in the comments.
That’s awesome to hear! :)
I ve been drinking the kombucha it really works. I also use it on my skin
Hi, Graceanne! When doing my research, I didn’t come across any mentioned side effects of using vinegar and kombucha in conjunction with each other. However, if you start to notice any negative side effects, I would stop. Hope this helps!
Prior to starting to drink about 1/2 up kombucha before breakfast each morning, I drank a glass of water with a cap full of vinegar. (I am not, as you see, someone to “go overboard” with these things!) My question is: is there a down-side of drinking both of them at one time (before breakfast)? I would tend to forget otherwise. Thanks.