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How to Restore the pH of Your Scalp
Restoring the pH of the scalp may help prevent hair loss from dandruff, bacteria or fungus. Every liquid substance on Earth has a pH, or an acid-base, measurement. Very few substances are neutral; most are either acidic, such as vinegar, or basic, such as bleach. Human beings are no exception to this rule, having a pH balance of about 5 on the skin, including the hair and scalp. This low, or acidic, pH works as a protective mechanism, as germs cannot thrive in an acidic environment.
Rinse your hair and scalp in a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water to restore pH quickly - after a workout that increases the oil and sweat on the surface of your skin, for example 5. Follow this rinse with clean water, and be sure to keep the mixture out of your eyes.
Massage a mix of 1/2 c warmed apple cider vinegar into your scalp 5. Wrap your head in a towel or plastic cap to retain the heat and bring the pH back down. Rinse with clean water after 30 minutes and, again, be sure not to get the vinegar in your eyes.
Use a pH balanced daily shampoo. Check the bottle label -- shampoo pH may range between 4 and 8. You want to choose a shampoo with a pH closer to that of your scalp, at around 5. Harsh shampoos, such as those containing lauryl sulfates, strip the hair's natural acid and turn it alkaline, or basic, which may lead to hair problems such as dandruff.
Restore your pH from the inside out by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. Proponents of pH balancing for life encourage drinking alkaline water, which is a special type of water that has an elevated pH. The sweat and oil on your scalp adds to its overall pH, which may modify the health of your skin.
Talk to your doctor before attempting to change your internal pH with alkaline water, as a careful balance is essential, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or suffer from chronic medical conditions.
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- Dias MFRG, et al. (2014). The shampoo pH can affect the hair: Myth or reality? DOI:
- Liu F-Z, et al. (2011). Analysis of nutritional components of fruit vinegar.
- Nilgün HB, et al. (2014). Functional properties of vinegar. DOI:
- Tarr N. (n.d.). Apple cider vinegar hair rinse.
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