The use of apple cider vinegar is not merely an invention of internet culture. Its many applications date back to traditional cleaning, as well as culinary and healing techniques, making it one of the most versatile pantry items we have.
Thus, it is interesting to see proponents rave about soaking the body in this vinegar. What does the research say about taking a bath with ACV, and what are the potential benefits?
Apple Cider Vinegar Bath
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar resulting from the fermentation of apples. It is highly acidic and derives many of its benefits from its constituents, including acetic acid.
Lately, taking an apple cider vinegar bath for body detox has become a new trend. It seems odd, but does it work? Could we expose our whole body to this substance full of acids?
Benefits of Bathing in Apple Cider Vinegar
Typically, researchers tend to discredit the use of home remedies as effective treatments compared to their medically prescribed counterparts. History claims that Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine, used ACV for various healing purposes, and he may have been right.
ACV’s components are proven potentially valuable through several research trials outlined below.
An Antimicrobial Agent
A study by Middlesex University London proved ACV’s therapeutic clinical implications against E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida Albicans. Apple cider vinegar demonstrated that it possesses antibacterial and antifungal activity which can help prevent numerous diseases in the body. (1)
Studies have also claimed ACV’s microbe resistance and antifungal nature against denture stomatitis, food-borne pathogens, microbial infections, and much more.
It seems that bathing in vinegar could rid the body of these harmful pathogens and promote overall health and wellness.
Strengthens the Skin
A 2015 study declared ACV as an effective treatment for athlete’s foot. In this case, it appears that apple cider vinegar can help this condition with a bath or a simple foot soak. (2)
In 2002, the Indian Journal of Dermatology came forward with a groundbreaking development in the field. They used lactic acid, a component of ACV, in the form of a lotion for skin. This exposure helped the subjects treat the condition of acne vulgaris and significantly reduce skin lesions. (3)
These studies show the potential of an apple cider vinegar bath to help foster healthy skin. Many people use ACV as a face wash to treat acne for this reason.
Helps Treat Wounds
A study by the University of Birmingham put forth acetic acid’s healing tendencies by combating the bacteria found in burn wounds. Another trial by the J R Army Med Corps also concluded ACV’s inhibition over the growth of bacteria P. aeruginosa, which is often found in burn and skin wounds. (4, 5)
May Help Eczema
An animal study observed the skin barrier integrity during atopic dermatitis by exposing mice to ACV creams. The results showed that topical acids inhibited the development of skin lesions. (6)
In 2019, human subjects experienced a similar trial to further study the conclusions drawn. While the immediate results matched those of the former, irritations began developing within a short period. (7)
What Does a Vinegar Bath Do for Females?
History stands proof of women bathing in apple cider vinegar to treat vaginal discharge and sexually transmitted diseases. A study collected different management approaches for bacterial vaginosis and found vinegar as a common home remedy among them. In African continents and other underprivileged areas, ACV is used to cleanse the vagina for treating discharges. (8)
A case report involving a 32-year-old woman diagnosed with candida albicans sought treatment for symptoms including foul odor, severe vaginal discharge, itching, groin pain, and a long history of infertility. When her body failed to acknowledge prior medicinal treatments, she gained recovery through the use of apple cider vinegar. (9)
In 2000, a study testing vinegar-containing douche products showed they were selectively resistant against pathogens linked with bacterial vaginosis. (10)
Reduces Body Odor
Staphylococcus aureus, along with other microbes, helps to metabolize sweat that results in body odor. Fortunately, ACV has proven itself effective in combating this particular bacteria. Therefore, it is popular to use as a remedy against distinct odors due to sweat.
Does an ACV Bath Help Detox?
Soaking in apple cider vinegar combined with other healthy ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, or turmeric has emerged as a popular detox remedy. Detox is known to improve bodily functions, and when combined with ACV, it provides many advantages.
- It draws out harmful toxins that damage enzymes, cause inflammation, and promote diseases like gout.
- It restores skin health and pH balance by strengthening the skin barrier.
- It helps in the process of weight loss and promotes enhanced metabolism.
- It supports the digestive system, thus reducing chances for gastrointestinal dysfunctions like acid reflux or heartburn.
- It helps fight muscle tension.
- It supports the immune system.
Potential Side Effects
Skin is the most sensitive organ of the human body. You must be careful when exposing it to acidic substances or chemicals of any kind. ACV usage is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects.
However, there have been accident reports that emphasize the need for safe usage. Improper exposure can lead to burn wounds, and damaged skin, especially when topically applied to diseases that typically require a dermatologist. If you’re unsure, consult with a certified medical professional, first.
How Often Should I Bath in Apple Cider Vinegar?
When using vinegar in your bath, keep its acidity in mind. Excessive exposure to ACV on your skin could gravely irritate it, regardless of whether you have sensitive skin or not.
One should not take an ACV bath more than 2 to 3 times per week. However, if you have sensitive skin, reduce the frequency further.
How Much ACV Should You Use?
People often go overboard with the ACV in their bath because they like the smell, the tickling feeling, or they generally don’t know how much to use. Since this is a bath we’re talking about, not a food recipe, you must keep any love for vinegar out of this.
Keep the amount to 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar against a full bath. You don’t want to go around smelling like a salad dressing, nor would you like irritated skin after excessive use.
- More Reading: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Expire?
Safety Tips for an ACV Bath
- For a smooth and safe bathing experience, keep the following points under consideration before starting your soak.
- Dilution is key. Directly applying ACV to the skin is likely to irritate it.
- Use lukewarm water for the bath.
- Take a regular shower before bathing in vinegar to clean off dirt and oils.
- Rinse your skin with clean water after the bath if you experience any side effects.
- Always perform a test trial before making ACV part of your bathing routine. Prepare an ACV bath and expose only a small part of your body to the mixture. After a while, if you feel any burning, immediately quit the operation.
- Soak in the bath for 15-30 minutes, depending upon skin vulnerability.
- Do not rub dry your skin after use. Only gently dab the towel over until dry.
- Always use a raw ACV for your detox bath.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink
If the concept of laying down in a pool of vinegar is intimidating, you can switch to a simpler option by drinking apple cider vinegar shots. This way, you can experience most of its health benefits without committing to a bath.
- Grab a jar and pour in 8 ounces of cold water.
- Mix in 1-2 tablespoons of ACV.
- Add in a sweetener of your choice. (honey, sugar, etc.)
- Finish it off with a personalized touch by including any healthy ingredient you may like. Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, and ginger are common choices.
Other Ways to Take ACV
ACV is very versatile, thanks to its many different components. Therefore, you can also choose to get more apple cider vinegar in your diet by one of the following means.
- As over the counter ACV pills
- In the form of salad dressings
- Cooked within other meals
- As tasty ACV gummies, the most popular form of consumption
Choose whatever works for your skin and body. Just remember the recommended ACV dosage for oral ingestion should remain between 15-30 ml per day, regardless of method.
- More Reading: Best Time to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Final Thoughts on Soaking in Apple Cider Vinegar
Safe to say, the hype surrounding ACV is real. However, the safety concerns are of equal significance. As long as you abide by the precautions, you may find that a vinegar bath works wonders for your health.