I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I had started the ancient agoraphobic's hobby of brewing kombucha, when I had an epiphany: Why drink this watered down crap when I can go straight to the source? A week with the party liquor of probiotics: apple cider vinegar. (Unpasteurized, natch.)
When I was a teenager, I had perfect skin. I don’t mean, like, it was good. I mean Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet good. I didn’t even know what a zit was; the first time I got one, I called my bestie, so we could figure out what this tiny, red blister-type thing was.
But when I was 25, all hell broke loose, and my face often looked like a Hieronymus Bosch painting. I was working as a barista at the time, and consumed up to 10 shots of espresso on any given day. I also ate like King Henry VIII: lots of rich, creamy starches, meat, and not much in the way of fresh foods.
I did a diet overhaul, and lo and behold, my skin chilled out.
For a bit.
Recently, I’ve been getting those teeny-tiny zits that crop up in the span of an hour or so, in little minefields all over my temples and forehead. In an attempt to find out what was causing them, like a modern woman, I hit Google. After a few hours of reading, I kept seeing the same old-timey fix: apple cider vinegar.
All the hippies I know talk about its many virtues constantly; but they also don’t brush their teeth (because the natural scum helps? Really? What the hell?) and think that their digestive systems are basically a set of rusty old pipes that need to be “cleansed” constantly. I’d always thought of apple cider vinegar like I do ear candling and homeopathic remedies: for the birds.
But after reading up, I found out that ACV (what the hip kids call it?) has a lot of the same super-incredible properties as kombucha, the superfood of fame circa 2009. Though it’s no longer trendy, its curative properties are still totally legit. It’s full of antioxidants, microflora and fauna to make your guts...do that stuff guts do. The acid in the vinegar aids digestion/absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. But most of what I read about it’s skin-clearing abilities were what I would call "folk wisdom." Blogs, videos and tumblrs, all telling similar stories of how they drank ACV, and their skin magically cleared.
If there are two things I love, it’s magic and folk wisdom, so I figured I would give it a shot. For something that costs less than $5, I decided to do it.
Seven days, drinking four tablespoons of ACV in water, three times a day. I decided not to apply it topically because I don’t have running water and don’t want to smell like trash.
Let the games begin!
I was so excited about my new bottle of Bragg’s Raw Vinegar, that I got home, chewed off the seal like a rat, and downed a shot. This was not a great idea, as the hot, sour stomach that lasted for about an hour would indicate. Was I burning my insides? Maybe, but it felt like progress.
After it chilled out a bit, I put four tablespoons (cause I don’t mess around) in 16 ounces of water and drank up. Made my stomach feel warm again, but I did it a total of three times. It made me not eat two pounds of Night Cheese, which was cool.
I broke out all over my forehead, so I was super-eager for that morning ACV + water. I’m pretty over the taste--it’s kind of like wine gone bad; but by the third glass, I totally like it, secretly. Still makes my stomach feel weird, but no change in Molehill 2013 on my forehead by bedtime.
I woke up to the zit crop gone! I was tempted to chalk it up to ACV and then never take it again, but I persevered.
One major side effect I’m seeing with this stuff is that it makes me less hungry after dinner. Which is kind of awesome because I usually eat six tablespoons of almond butter dipped in shredded coconut every night, when I’m not hungry but am compelled to Put Things In My Mouth.
Clear skin, totally used to drinking this stuff. Nay, I’ve started to crave it. It also makes me really thirsty, so I usually follow my glass of ACV with another glass or two of water. The stomach weirdness is totally gone.
Got my first “Dang your skin looks nice!” compliment in a really long time. That was pretty awesome, especially since I’ve had such gnarly skin since I was pregnant six months ago.
Started mixing the ACV with cold-brew green tea; it’s tasty, keeps me awake at night!
I feel like today I noticed something about my skin. It looks all plump and full, which is weird, because I don’t actually sleep. At all. But it looks good. In pictures, even. We’re traveling currently, so we’re taking a lot of them, and I don’t look like a molerat in ANY of them!
I started drinking another one before dinner too, so I’m up to four a day.
I’m almost done with the bottle. I ended up drinking almost all of it, which is super-impressive to me. My skin still looks all glowy and nice, and I haven’t had a breakout, which is kind of shocking because Aunt Flo is in town tomorrow.
It’s been a few days since I started my ACV bonanza, but I’ve still been drinking it. I’ve started just doing it in the mornings, because it was a pain to plan around.
Ultimately, since this "experiment" had zero controls, tons of factors involved, my folk-wisdom takeaway was that my strict water-guzzling routine had lots to do with my great skin. And while I feel like my stomach appreciated the vinegar, I don’t think it’s something you need to drink vast quantities of for results, especially since drinking lots of it can inhibit your body’s ability to use potassium, and can even cause osteoporosis.
So instead of swilling vinegar all day, I think I’m going to get serious about drinking more water. However, I’m totally still drinking kombucha, even if it’s the Budweiser of fermented health drinks.
Has anyone else tried this? What do you use ACV for? More importantly, what’s a good term for "that time of the month"? I feel like I either sound like a 14-year-old boy or my mother when I talk about it.