Witch hazel is a flowering shrub native to North America and Asia. The plant extract that comes from its leaf, bark, and twigs are said to have medicinal properties and is widely used in folk medicine. The leaves or bark are used to make tea or mixed with an ointment to make a balm for soothing sores and minor burns.
The chemical tannin present in this plant is also thought to help fight bacteria and reduce swelling. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, witch hazel is also used in skin care to target oily skin and minimize acne.
1 Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties
Witch hazel has tannic and gallic acid which can help fight inflammation on the face which may help control acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
2 Great for soothing skin after a fun in the sun
3 Its astringent property helps keep oil production at bay
Tannins found in witch hazel is good at balancing oil on the face. It constricts the blood vessels in the skin which also helps create finer looking pores.
4 Supplements antioxidant-rich products
The tannins in witch hazel also act as antioxidants that fight free radicals and promote healthy cell turnover. And while the amount is not as abundant as in other powerhouses like green tea and other antioxidant-rich products, it has the benefit of adding some more to the skin to enhance the fight against skin aging.
5 Provides relief to sensitive skin
One study concluded that witch hazel, when mixed with other moisturizing and non-irritant ingredients can help provide relief to sensitive facial skin.
6 Perfect addition to your first aid kit
It’s been known to help alleviate minor burns, cuts, and bruises. Witch hazel has been used as a medicinal plant way back in the past.
7 It’s safe for use with the right dosage
Of course, if you are allergic to witch hazel, it goes without saying that you should veer away from using it. However, some studies have shown that witch hazel that has been extracted with water rarely caused allergic reactions when used on top of the skin. If any did occur, research suggests that the adverse reactions to these ointments or products were likely caused by other ingredients that were added together with witch hazel.
8 Helps minimize the look of pores
Contrary to popular belief, our pores do not open and close because they do not have muscles that would allow them to do so, instead, they stretch or dilate.
Pores can appear larger when dirt and debris, oil, and dead skin cells clog them up. What witch hazel does is help remove these unwanted obstructions from your pores and make them shrink back to normal, leaving your skin with a smoother finish.
We don’t see why not. Using witch hazel on the face allows your skin to benefit from it, especially when used alongside other nourishing skincare products.
Serums,toners, and moisturizers containing witch hazel when paired with other hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, honey, and glycolic acid helps to increase the amount of moisture present in the skin.
Toners in the past had alcohol-distilled witch hazel in them used to have high percentages of alcohol in them, which may have caused witch hazel its bad reputation. Now, you can find alcohol-free witch hazel toners in the market that are safer and better for the skin.
Witch hazel has its fair share of pros and cons when it comes to adding it to your skincare regimen. As far as we can see, the benefits of using witch hazel as a skin care ingredient or product far outweigh the negatives.
On the other hand, if you have allergies to witch hazel or other ingredients used with witch hazel, then it would be better to stay away from it.
As always, it’s best to do a patch test before using it entirely on your face (or body) for good measure. What works for others may not work for you. Inversely, what doesn’t work for them may actually be perfect for your skin.
Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of what witch hazel can do for your skin. And don’t forget to also check the other ingredients listed with it to make sure you’re not allergic or sensitive to any of them.
As a toner
If you have oily skin, using witch hazel as a toner will help give your skin a matte finish. The astringent property of witch hazel shrinks your pores by contracting the tissues around it. Witch hazel toners may also help to relieve blemishes and inflammation to help even out your skin tone. Use it twice daily after cleansing to refresh your skin.
In face masks
Face masks that contain witch hazel water helps get rid of puffiness and redness on the skin. Just apply right after your cleanser and wait 10 to 15 minutes before removing with a damp cloth dipped in warm water. Rinse off the remaining mask with cold water for a rejuvenating finish.
Serums are action-packed skin care products that have high concentrations of vitamins and ingredients. They have smaller molecules than most skin care products which allows them topenetrate deep into the skin. Adding witch hazel to the equation helps boost the antioxidant ingredients that come along with it to increase your skin's resilience. It promotes healthy cell regeneration to quickly replace old, dull skin making you look younger.
Witch hazel is a plant known to help with skin lesions and other ailments. Because of its astringent properties, witch hazel can be used to get rid of acne and blemishes and banish excess oil on the face. But its astringent property is also the reason it is not recommended for use on dry skin, at least without using a moisturizer.
Its anti-inflammatory property helps relieve burns, redness, and irritation. It’s good for after-sun skincare.
It might not be an all-in-one miracle product but it’s definitely earned a spot in your skin care routine as well as your medicine cabinet.
Witch hazel is harvested, extracted, and distilled in many ways, usually by using alcohol, which can be drying and may destroy the skin’s protective shield.
However, witch hazel may also be extracted by steaming or distilling it with water where it removes the alcohol or deducts the use of alcohol in the equation. This process can make the final product safe for use in cosmetics and skincare products.