Everything You Need to Know About Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Dandruff

November 11, 2015

According to a recent survey, nearly 50% of the population suffers from dandruff, and more than $300 million is spent annually on treatment. Although harmless, dandruff creates shame and affects confidence and self-esteem, causing more psychological problems than medical ones.

While many choose to use drugstore remedies, these expensive cures are not always effective. Not to mention that they don’t work if the cause of dandruff is unknown. More than that, products containing selenium sulfide or coal tar can be effective, but the side effects are unpleasant.
The good news is that there is one remedy that can be used to help reduce the symptoms of this harmless but annoying condition.

It is a common household product that you will normally find lying around the house, in your kitchen or the medicine cabinet. Not to mention, it is significantly cheaper than paying for drugstore products over and over again.

The name of the remedy?

Apple cider vinegar, a natural dandruff remedy used since ancient times.


Using apple cider vinegar for dandruff will not only alleviate the itching, but it’s use on a regular basis, can help you control the excessive production of sebum.

Here’s how apple cider vinegar can help you and how you can use it to get rid of dandruff.

What Causes Dandruff in the First Place?

Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is not caused by dryness or not drinking enough water. It is, in fact, a medical condition that has been around for centuries, despite numerous treatment options.

Dandruff is caused by a yeast-like fungus, medically known as Pityrosporum Ovale, which feeds on dead skin cells and sebum. This microorganism is ever-present in every person’s scalp, but in some cases exists in abundance leading to scaling, itchiness and the embarrassing white flakes that dandruff is well known for. Stress, allergies, and many other factors can lead to the overgrowth of this fungus.

This fungus thrives in moist environments and thus, dandruff can become a problem during summers and rainy seasons due to excessive humidity and sweating.


Another common misconception is that over shampooing will provoke an abnormal response from the scalp, which can lead to dandruff. While it’s true, that in normal conditions, dermatologists warn against over shampooing, not shampooing enough when you suffer from dandruff will only make your condition worse. Avoiding to shampoo your hair every day will cause more oil and dead skin to form on your scalp, which the fungus will continue to feed on, thus aggravating the problem instead of solving it.

Unfortunately, if you are prone to dandruff, you’ve likely tried every treatment available on the market. However, the majority of times, these remedies don’t treat the cause of the problem, but its symptoms.

Using apple cider vinegar for dandruff can help you manage both, the root problem and the symptoms of this condition.

Here’s how to use apple cider vinegar to make your hair healthier, more beautiful and dandruff-free.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar and How Does It Work?

You probably have a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your kitchen right now. It’s tasty, aromatic and, perhaps, it’s your go-to salad dressing. But, did you know that it’s good for your health as well?

The use of apple cider vinegar for cosmetic purposes or for treating medical maladies can be traced back to ancient times. Made from both cider and apple, this natural remedy is believed to be capable of curing everything from flu to fighting against heart problems, diabetes, and weight loss. Even though there is no science-backed evidence for many of its health benefits, experts believe that adding just a little of this sour liquid to your diet will impact your health.

Rich in powerful enzymes, experts believe that apple cider vinegar is a great dandruff remedy. These enzymes are extremely powerful and capable of killing bacteria and fungus that cause flaking and itchiness. So, the use of apple cider vinegar for dandruff will not only prevent the formation of fungus but will also help restore the right acid/alkaline balance of the scalp, open and cleanse clogged pores and give your hair, shine and volume.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Dandruff Treatment

Apple cider vinegar for dandruff can be used alone or with other natural remedies for maximum efficacy. How you use it depends on the severity of your condition.

Mild Dandruff

If you are suffering from mild dandruff, massaging your scalp once a week with equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar should help you control the overproduction of bacteria.

Moderate Dandruff

If you are suffering from moderate dandruff or dandruff that appears more than a few times a week, you need to treat your scalp daily. Mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with your shampoo and wash your hair daily.

Severe Dandruff

If you are suffering from severe dandruff, worry no more, this remedy will work wonders for you too. Massage apple cider vinegar onto your scalp directly every day for a week or until the symptoms start to alleviate.

However, you should pay attention to possible side effects of this treatment. If there are any open cuts or soreness on the scalp or if you have sensitive skin, you might feel a burning sensation. For these reasons, always test a small area of your scalp first before you proceed with the entire treatment. If the burning sensation is intolerable, try diluting the apple cider vinegar with water.

How to Apply Apple Cider Vinegar to Prevent Dandruff

There are a few things you need to know before applying apple cider vinegar for dandruff. For instance, as mentioned before, if you have sensitive skin, it is important to test a small area of your scalp first. Take a cotton disc, dip it in apple cider vinegar and apply it to the base of your hairline. If it burns or dries your hair, try diluting the vinegar with water to reduce its impact on the scalp.

Pay attention to how your skin reacts to the treatment. If you develop rashes or allergies, it’s better not to opt for this remedy as you might be allergic.

You also need to make sure to apply apple cider vinegar for dandruff treatment in a well-ventilated area. Its fumes are really strong and can sting the eyes.

If you didn’t develop any allergic reaction and the room is properly ventilated, you may proceed with the treatment. For best result, follow the steps below:

  • Wash your hair with a mild shampoo to make sure it is free of any oils. This step is essential since any presence of oil will make it more difficult for the vinegar to clean your scalp
  • Mix apple cider vinegar with warm water. If the strong smell of vinegar makes you uncomfortable, you can add a few drops of lavender or rosemary oil in the mixture
  • Part your hair to expose the areas where dandruff is most prominent, and apply the mixture directly on the scalp. Let it sit for at least an hour
  • Now rinse with warm water, but be careful not to use shampoo again.

For best result, it’s good to follow this treatment at least one or twice a week, especially if you are suffering from severe dandruff. If the problem persists, it’s better to consult a dermatologist.

Using Apple Cider Vinegar with Other Herbs and Natural Remedies

Rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar after shampooing, leaves it shining, healthier and fuller. Certain herbs and essential oil can enhance your hair shine along with quickening the disappearance of dandruff.

For instance, tea tree oil is similar to apple cider vinegar and can help to reduce or even eliminate the causes of dandruff. Mix apple cider vinegar with water, add a few drops of tea tree oil and apply it directly on your scalp. Let it sit for half an hour, and then rinse with warm water.

Honey is another great remedy that can help treat the burning and itching caused by apple cider vinegar treatment. Apply it on the scalp at the same time as the vinegar. Due to its calming nature, it will alleviate the burning sensation, allowing the vinegar to sit and do its job without causing discomfort.

Essential oils are also a great addition to the apple cider vinegar treatment. However, some of them are very strong and can cause irritations and allergies if not used correctly. Lavender and rosemary are two of a very small list of essential oils that can be applied directly on the skin.


Mix two cups of apple cider vinegar with 5 to 10 drops of lavender, rosemary, lemongrass or another scalp-friendly essential oil. You can use the mixture right away, but if you allow it to sit for a day, the flavors will blend, and the vinegar smell won’t be so powerful and uncomfortable anymore. When it’s ready to use, dilute two tablespoons of the mixture with one cup of water. Rinse after shampooing, and then rinse again with fresh water.

You can also mix apple cider vinegar with peppermint for optimum results. Boil a cup of water for a few minutes. Remove it from the heat and add 5 to 10 peppermint leaves and a cup of apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for a few hours and then pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray it on your hair daily and soon you will start to see results.


Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar

Even though apple cider vinegar is well-known for its wide range of health benefits, excessive usage can cause damage to your body. Acidic in nature, it can lead to serious allergic reactions if it’s not used properly.

To avoid any side effects, make sure always to use organic apple cider vinegar. If you don’t trust the product from the grocery store, you can make it yourself. All you need is apples, water, and vinegar. Cut off the apples into small pieces and mix them with water. Leave the mixture for fermentation and, after a few weeks, take out the apple slices. Let it continue to ferment for another week. While this solution is fermenting, healthy bacteria will form, eventually producing acetic acid.

You must also know that dandruff is not always the cause of flaking and itchiness. If you don’t see any change after using apple cider vinegar treatment, there might be another reason for your symptoms. For example, certain hair products with strong chemicals can create skin inflammation or allergic reactions that dry the scalp. Another possible reason for itchiness could be psoriasis, an autoimmune disease characterized by patches of abnormal skin.
To be completely safe, monitor yourself and your reactions and if you notice anything unusual, stop the treatment and consult a doctor to determine the cause of your condition and prescribe the best treatment for it.

Apple cider vinegar is a great alternative to expensive drugstore products. If used correctly, it can help you combat the overgrowth of bacteria and alleviate the itchiness. Cheap, accessible and safe, this natural remedy will effectively treat the root causes of dandruff. Try experimenting with different combinations to find the one that works best for you.

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