Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Dandruff

Apple cider vinegar good for dandruff – But is it good for your scalp?

is apple cider vinegar good for dandruff

There isn’t any scientific evidence to prove that apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps with dandruff but, many people claim it has helped them get rid of annoying flakes. It’s supposed to be great for your scalp’s health by lowering pH levels due to ACV’s acidic nature. Let’s see if that’s true.

ACV might help the pH level of your scalp

The natural pH level of your scalp is around 5. Shampoo’s pH levels can range anywhere from 3.5-9 with most of them being higher than 5. And ACV’s pH ranges from 3.1-5. Apple cider vinegar could be better than some shampoos out there for balancing the pH level of your scalp. Which might be helpful for dandruff. There is research to go along with this.

Higher pH levels of hair products can lead to hair damage. Specifically, higher pH levels increase the negative charge of the surface of your hair which increases the friction between hair fibers. That can lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage.[1]

That’s one reason I recommend against using baking soda as a shampoo.

Skin barrier dysfunction is thought to be a secondary cause of dandruff, itch, and dry scalp.[2] A few of the primary causes that disrupt the skin barrier being:

Apple cider vinegar is thought by many to help balance pH better than regular shampoos and restore your skins natural barrier to treat dandruff. There’s no science to back that up though. Just guesses based on the studies above.

Apple cider vinegar benefits

  • Less frizzing
  • Antimicrobial (antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant)
  • Diluted it may be less harsh on your scalp than many shampoos
  • More natural 

It makes sense that you might think the acidity of apple cider vinegar would help out your scalp. But, there’s just not enough research right now to confirm that. Mainly we know that lower pH causes less frizzing in hair.

We also know that apple cider vinegar has some antimicrobial properties including antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant activities. There’s no doubt that it has a lot of benefits that could be useful as a home remedy for your skin but, we don’t know enough to confirm if the pros outweigh the cons of its use.[3]

Apple cider vinegar cons with dandruff

  • Long-term/overuse might damage the scalp and skin
  • Must be diluted
  • Can irritate damaged skin further

The acidic nature of ACV can be a double-edged sword. Too much can cause more damage to your scalp than good. That’s why dilution is a must.

Since you can never cure dandruff for good, apple cider vinegar may be an okay treatment (when diluted) in the short term but, might not be a permanent solution. That said, many people have been using it for years without any problems.

And it must be diluted. If you don’t dilute it you may risk chemical burn and/or long term scalp issues.

If you have open wounds or damaged skin it’s recommended not to use ACV. It can irritate your skin even more. Especially if you have severe dandruff and itchiness. The scratching can hurt your skin and in turn cause apple cider vinegar to make things worse.


If you decide to give it a shot, it’s highly recommended that you dilute it with water to minimize the smell and make it gentler on your scalp.

It’s too concentrated to use by itself. Make sure not to get it in your eyes or broken skin either!

How to use apple cider vinegar on your skin

My recommendation is to dilute it with water being 90-97% water and 3-10% apple cider vinegar. So something around:

  • 1 tbsp of ACV in 2 cups of water would be around 3% ACV
  • 3 tbsp of ACV in 2 cups of water would be around 9% ACV

But, you can play around with the percentages to see what works. Higher percentages of apple cider vinegar may be completely fine for you. I’d recommend you do a patch test before applying it to your whole scalp. So apply a bit of your dilution to the inside of your arm for a few minutes to see.

Just remember with undiluted ACV you run the risk of skin damage. If you feel any discomfort, rinse it off immediately.

After you’ve applied it to your scalp (just rub it in like regular shampoo) leave it for a minute or two and rinse it out. Simple.

What kind of ACV should I get?

The most popular ACV is Bragg organic raw apple cider vinegar.

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