Apples contain a host of phytochemicals, including bioflavonoids and polyphenols, which are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Apple cider vinegar made from whole fresh apples also contains some amounts of these beneficial compounds.
A new study highlights the anti-acne properties of phloretin, a bioflavonoid found mostly in apples, allowing it to join the hallowed ranks of acne warriors like ECGC (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) found in green tea.
That led me to wonder how acne sufferers might benefit from the new study in a way that helps clear their skin without damaging their teeth. Here's what I learned:
Tea: Tea, green or black, has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruit or vegetables, but the real key to tea's superior health benefits are catechins, a disease-fighting flavonoid and antioxidant. Drink two to three cups a day, and remember, the longer you steep the tea, the more flavonoids you'll get in your brew.
An apple a day may help keep acne away. (Be sure to eat the peel, the primary home for the bioflavonoids.) Many people laud the health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, but in truth you'll get way more bioflavonoids from eating an apple—without worrying that acetic acid may corrode the enamel on your teeth.
Topical applications are a different story. You might find that apple cider vinegar is useful when applied after cleansing. The primary reason for this is not necessarily the phloretin, but rather because cleansing, especially with soap, can raise the pH of your skin and compromise barrier function. Retuning your skin to its proper pH, around 4.5 to 5.5 helps skin stay healthy. (Women tend to have slightly more acidic skin than men.) Microbes beneficial to skin thrive in acidic environments, while pathogens do better under more alkaline conditions.
Follow these tips for safe use of topical ingredients:
Never use apple cider vinegar (ACV) at full strength. Make a diluted solution: nine parts water to one part ACV. After washing morning and night, apply diluted apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball or cotton round and spread it on your face, or wherever you have acne. This solution will also work for 'backne.' Since backs are hard to reach, try filling a spray bottle with your ACV solution for an easier spray-on application.
You can apply green tea (an excellent source of ECGC) the same way as the ACV. Add two cups boiling water to two to three tea bags and let steep. Apply when cool, using either cotton balls or a spritz from a spray bottle.
Refrigerate what you don’t use for later applications.
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Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oil, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin seed) oil, Borago officinalis (borage) oil, Euterpe oleracea (acai) oil, Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, Rubus idaeus (red raspberry) seed oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil, Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil, squalene (from olive oil), Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) seed oil, Argania spinosa (argan) oil, Usnea lichen tincture Essential oils: Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Daucus carota (carrot) seed, Curcuma longa (turmeric), Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree), Cymbopogon martinii (palmarosa), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Chamomilla recutita (Moroccan chamomile)
Camellia sinensis (green and white tea) infusion, Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu oil), Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) seed oil, vegetable squalene (from olive oil), Argania spinosa (argan) oil, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), saccahromyces/xylitum black tea ferment (kombucha) extract, Usnea lichen extract, Epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) extract
Essential oils: Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Daucus carota (carrot) seed, Curcuma longa (turmeric), Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree), Cymbopogon martinii (palmarosa), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Chamomilla recutita (Moroccan chamomile)