Apple cider vinegar is often quoted among the most effective of natural, athlete’s foot remedies. Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that surfaces in the form of blisters and scaly skin on the human foot. The symptoms are more pronounced between the digits of the foot, as these areas tend to retain more sweat and grime. The scientific name for athlete’s food is Tinea pedis, and it is caused by parasitic fungi.
Apple Cider Vinegar Basics
Apple cider vinegar is obtained by extracting the juices from crushed apples. These juices are then fermented with a special kind of yeast and sugar. The fermentation process is regulated under controlled temperature conditions, wherein a special strain of bacteria slowly decomposes the alcohol (by-product of fermentation) into apple cider vinegar, which is also called cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is naturally concentrated with many minerals and vitamins that render its curative properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Athlete’s Foot
Apple cider vinegar contains beta-carotene and potassium. Beta-carotenes don’t play a direct role in alleviating the fungal infection, but the potassium is helpful for alkalizing the skin’s surface. The increased alkalinity impairs the fungal growth. Thus, apple cider vinegar has the ability to alter the pH level of the skin when it is applied topically. The change in pH is too drastic for the fungus.
Other trace elements found in apple cider vinegar that help to detoxify the skin’s surface by inducing an antiseptic reaction include sodium, chlorine, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, fluorine and iron. However, the most potent ingredient of apple cider vinegar that makes it ideal for treating athlete’s foot is malic acid. This natural acid has the ability to gently scrape-off the top, infected layer of the skin and make the surface immune to bacterial and fungal infections. This is why cider vinegar is also used as an organic, household cleaning solution.
The combined action of these active ingredients ensures that cleaning the feet with cider vinegar reduces the itching and inflammation caused by athlete’s foot. Since the cider vinegar is extracted from natural food resource, there is no fear of side-effects. This is in stark contrast to many prescription ointments that aren't recommended for people with an allergic skin, as they might worsen the condition.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar
The most recommended way to treat a foot diagnosed with athlete’s foot is to prepare a vinegar foot soak. The feet should be thoroughly washed with lukewarm water and dried. The cleaned, dried foot should be then soaked in a solution containing apple cider vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:2. This can be repeated up to twice a day.
Apple Cider Vinegar Varieties
The more potent type of apple cider vinegar is the unfiltered variety. This version of cider vinegar is slightly brown in color. This variety has a higher concentration of active ingredients. The sparkling clear variety of apple cider vinegar tends to lose many of these active ingredients during the filtration process.