Malic acid – benefits for skin, hair & health

Malic acid is an organic compound which tends to be produced in all living organisms. It has a distinct sour taste and was first derived from apple juice. This acid is present in many fruits and vegetables. It imparts a sour taste to them. Malic acid is used as a flavouring agent in order to mimic the taste of certain fruits. You will find malic acid resent in candies and fruit flavoured gums. Sometimes, malic acid is added to soy products as well. It can also be found in certain drinks and beverages like iced tea and wine. Another very rich source of malic acid is apple cider vinegar.

This compound has several health benefits which can easily be obtained since it is present in many food items.


There are several cosmetic brands which claim to use malic acid in their cosmetics in order to impart its benefits to the skin. Some of these benefits are:

Makes the skin more even

Our skin may look textured and uneven due to acne and accumulation of dead skin cells. Malic acid helps to overcome this problem. It helps to exfoliate the skin lightly and therefore removes the layer of dead skin cells which may clog the pores or cause excess sebum production. When the layer of dead skin cells is removed, the skin looks even and smooth.

Helps to brighten and renew the skin

Malic acid is a common ingredient in many anti-ageing products. This is due to the reason that malic acid promotes cell production and therefore makes the skin appear much fresh and brighter with regular use and consumption. Malic acid can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and boosts collagen production. Collagen is a kind of protein which helps to maintain the elasticity and strength of the skin. Hence malic acid also prevents wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin.

Helps to balance the pH levels of the skin

Our skin tends to be of a slightly acidic pH. This is the natural and healthy level of pH for our skin. Malic acid can help to restore the pH levels of the skin. It is also one of the very few naturally occurring acids which do not lead to any harmful side effects with repeated usage. An unbalanced pH level of skin can result in dryness as well as sensitivity. Malic acid is therefore a beneficial ingredient to balance the skin pH level.

Helps in clearing out acne

Malic acid helps to prevent the build-up of dead cells. This ensures that the skin remains smooth and the pores do not get clogged. Often times, clogged pores can result in acne and breakouts which can take quite long to heal. Clogged pores also result in blackheads and whiteheads which are slightly less severe forms of acne but can be quite tough to remove. The way malic acid works is that it helps to breakdown the substance which holds the dead cells together leading to their accumulation. Hence the dull layer of skin is removed with ease and the chances of getting acne are greatly reduced.


Reduces pain

The most well-known use of malic acid is its ability to reduce pain. Malic acid can relieve pain symptoms with regular consumption. If one wants to use malic acid as a treatment for pain, then the doctor may prescribe the supplements to ensure regular and controlled intake of this compound. With many patients, significant improvement can be seen within 2 days of taking the supplement. This tends to be a much better alternative to painkillers which have many long-term side effects. 

Helps in increasing energy levels

The nutrients present in our body tend to undergo a certain process in order to be converted into a usable form of energy. This process is known as the Krebs cycle after the name of Sir Hans Kreb, a famous biochemist. This cycle plays a major role in the production of energy within our bodies. It helps to keep the body from getting tired due to minor amount of work. Malic acid is an important part of this ongoing cycle and hence it is essential for us to ensure that we take sufficient amount of malic acid through our diet. Not only does malic acid let the kerbs cycle run smoothly, it also helps to reduce tiredness and boost energy levels. Studies show that malic acid also helps to promote one’s mental functioning. 

Doctors suggest that a regular intake of malic acid can prove to be an effective treatment for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

Reduces the level of toxicity in our body

Due to our current lifestyles, we tend to consume foods which contain several harmful additives. Because of the high level of exposure to several toxic things, there might be accumulation of harmful metal components in our bodies. The presence of such harmful elements in the body for a prolonged period of time can pose many health risks like neurodegenerative issues, muscular disorders and even cancer. Malic acid acts as a metal chelator. This means it gets attached to these metals and deactivates them so that they can no longer be a threat to our health.

Helps in maintaining oral hygiene

Our mouth may host several bad bacteria which can cause dental problems like cavities, plaque and even bad breath. However, malic acid has anti-septic properties. This results in eliminating the harmful bacteria present in our mouth. You may also find malic acid listed as a very common ingredient in several mouthwashes and toothpastes due to the very same reasons. Malic acid also promotes saliva production and this also helps to decrease the number of problem causing bacteria. 


Malic acid can help one to achieve healthy and vibrant hair in several ways:

It helps to clarify the hair

We use several styling products on our hair. Regular usage of hair oils, hair serums, hydrating conditioners, colouring products and styling gels can actually make our hair very dull. This happens due to the accumulation of these products onto our scalp as well as the hair. Over time, our scalp begins to produce more sebum which makes them greasy and reduces volume. 

Malic acid helps to dissolve as well as break down such product build up. It helps to clarify the hair which restores their shine and makes them look more voluminous and bouncy.

Helps to balance the pH of the scalp

Malic acid maintains a healthy pH for the scalp which helps to deal with various problems like dandruff and itching. The restored pH leads to growth of healthy hair at a much faster rate than usual. 


  • Malic acid can be found in fruits like: Apples, Kiwis, Citrus fruits, Pears and Grapes. About 98% of the total acid content in apples is malic acid. Generally, fruits which seem sour to taste tend to have some amount of malic acid present in them.
  • About 85% of the total acid content of Watermelons is malic acid. Other fruits include tomatoes, strawberries and mangoes.
  • Some amount of malic acid is naturally present in vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots. Although they are not sour to taste, they do contain a healthy amount of malic acid which can help in ensuring a regular dosage of malic acid in the daily diet.


Apple cider vinegar hair rinse

In order to deep cleanse your hair and make them more shiny and vibrant, you will need:

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups of water.

How to: 

  1. Simply mix the apple cider vinegar with water. 
  2. Now pour onto the scalp and massage it in. 
  3. Let the solution stay in your hair for about 15 minutes. 
  4. Then simply rinse using some plain water.
  5. You can repeat this remedy once a week if you tend to use many styling products on your hair.

Apple cider facial toner

To make this toner, you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of water.
  • 2 tablespoons of rose water

How to: 

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. 
  2. Now using a cotton ball, apply this solution onto your face. 
  3. Concentrate on the areas which have enlarged pores. 
  4. Use this solution as a toner after cleaning your face. 
  5. It will help to keep your skin hydrated.
  6. You need not wash it off. Use at least 2 times in a day to balance the skin naturally using malic acid.

Green apple face mask

You will need: 

  • Half green apple
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to: 

  1. Grate half the green apple
  2. Now add the lemon juice to the grated apple.
  3. Mix well and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Now keep the grated apple in cheesecloth and squeeze out all the juice.
  5. To this juice, add thick yoghurt.
  6. Apply on the face and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  7. Wash using lukewarm water.
  8. Use this remedy twice a week. It will help to clear out acne and make the skin appear brighter and fresher with repeated use.

Apple cider vinegar and rice flour – face mask

You will need: 

  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of rice flour
  • 5 tablespoons of rose water
  • 1 pinch of turmeric

How to: 

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Once a paste has been formed, apply it onto the face and the neck area. 
  3. Let it dry.
  4. Now use a wet cloth to remove the face mask.
  5. You can use this face mask 3-4 times a week for best results.


Although, the best way of including malic acid in your diet is by consuming it through fruits and vegetables, but if you wish to take supplements to ensure regular intake then you may opt for supplements which are available in the form of capsules. 

  • The right way of taking malic acid is to consume it before having a meal. 1 to 2 capsules can be taken each day provided that they are not exceeding 600mg.
  • Never take a higher dose without consulting a doctor.


Apple cider vinegar is the same as malic acid. Apple cider vinegar is only a source of malic acid. Malic acid is added during the formation of apple cider vinegar in order to enhance its taste. Some amount of malic acid is naturally present in the vinegar because it is being made from apples.
Malic acid can prevent us from feeling tired. Malic acid in itself is not a source of energy; it only helps with the Krebs cycle in order to increase the production of cellular energy. Hence malic acid alone on its own cannot prevent tiredness. 



  • Consuming malic acid through its natural sources is very safe. Since it is found in most fruits and vegetables, one may not experience any side effects. However, if you take supplements of malic acid then in the beginning, you may experience gastro intestinal issues. Although, not serious, one may feel slightly bloated and experience belching. 
  • When taking supplements, ensure that you are consuming enough water in order to stay hydrated and neutralise the acid. 
  • Patients of high blood pressure must consult their doctor before taking supplements as malic acid can lower the blood pressure causing health disruptions.
  • If you have a sensitive stomach then avoid going for higher doses of malic acid as it may interfere with proper digestion.


How is malic acid related to fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a health condition in which one experiences pain for no apparent reason. The cause of this is not yet known. Its symptoms include tingling sensations, numbness, unexplained muscle pain and irritable bowel syndrome. Malic acid is known to ease these symptoms. Hence patients of fibromyalgia are prescribed malic acid supplements along with magnesium supplements.

What is the correct way to consume apple cider vinegar?

Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to one glass of water and consume it on an empty stomach daily.

Can our body make malic acid on its own?

Yes, our body is able to synthesise malic acid but we do need to include it in our diet in order to keep our Krebs cycle in order.

Which fruit contains the highest amount of malic acid?

Apples have a high content of malic acid. This compound is present in varying amounts in different fruits.

How much time do the supplements take to show significant results?

This depends upon the dosage of malic acid being consumed. For some people, the symptoms of pain and fatigue may reduce with a few hours while for some people, it may take days.

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