In the world of natural ingredients, witch hazel has an exaggerated prestige as the solution to an endless list of skin problems. Here’s everything you need to know about this powerhouse ingredient.
What is witch hazel?
Witch hazel, also known as hamamelis virginiana, is a flowering shrub native to North America and Asia. The leaves, bark, and twigs are processed to produce a clear liquid known as witch hazel. Although the plant extract is used in topical ointments, the toner-like liquid form is far more common for skin care and home remedies.
Benefits of witch hazel
This ingredient is especially useful for people whose skin is too sensitive for classic acne-fighting all-stars like retinoids and salicylic acid. It’s an excellent option because of its ability to remove oil and reduce inflammation. It can be used as a toner or as a spot treatment.
Although nothing can permanently reduce the size of your pores, using this ingredient can make them look smaller. That’s because it is an astringent, which means it causes your skin and pores to contract temporarily, giving you a tightening sensation. This is due to the presence of tannins in witch hazel, which are chemicals that compress the proteins in your skin.
Helps with razor burns
Since witch hazel is anti-inflammatory by nature, it can help relieve itchiness, redness, and irritation caused by razor burn. However, experts advise you to avoid this ingredient with a high alcohol content because it can be harmful.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, this ingredient is an effective treatment for skin irritation caused by conditions such as haemorrhoids, diaper rash, and eczema. As a result, it is a key ingredient in many skin care products such as ointments and lotions.
Yes, you should always wear SPF, but if you miss a spot or simply forget to apply it, witch hazel works wonders to relieve sunburn pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a cooling effect, so it feels great when you apply it.
Potential side effects witch hazel
Since witch hazel absorbs, it has a bad reputation for being overly drying. However, it all comes down to the formula of a product and has nothing to do with the ingredients themselves. It is critical to look for alcohol-free formulations to reduce the risk of dryness or irritation. Additionally, some witch hazel products may contain other ingredients such as glycerin and aloe vera.
Furthermore, if you have extremely sensitive skin, witch hazel may be too irritating for you. Because witch hazel is derived from plants, it has the potential to cause allergic contact dermatitis. It contains tannins and eugenol, both of which can cause reactions in people who are allergic to those substances.
How to Use witch hazel?
To begin, patch test the product to ensure that it is compatible with your skin. Then, decide how you intend to use this buzzy ingredient. Do you have oily skin and want to get rid of the sebum in your pores? Do you have a swarm of blackheads on your nose? Do you need to control a breakout? If you have oily or combination skin, you should use witch hazel on a daily basis.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, you should use witch hazel products that are gentler on your specific area of concern (i.e., blemishes or inflammation). Presoaked pads are useful for spot treating or providing quick, all-over coverage. This powerhouse ingredient is best used after cleansing to prepare your skin for moisturiser or whatever else you apply next.
This ingredient is widely used in toners, but it can also be found in other types of products. Experts say it can be added to a variety of products, including cleansers, toners, facial mists, gels, creams or lotions, wipes or pads, depending on the desired effect. Toner can be applied to clean skin with a cotton round twice daily — morning and night — for people with combination/normal skin.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Witch hazel, also known as hamamelis virginiana, is a flowering shrub native to North America and Asia. The leaves, bark, and twigs are processed to produce a clear liquid known as witch hazel. Although the plant extract is used in topical ointments, the toner-like liquid form is far more common for skin care and home remedies.
Answer: Certain skin conditions, such as rosacea or extreme dryness, should avoid using witch hazel. If you have sensitive skin, you should use with caution. Remember that just because witch hazel is a "natural" ingredient doesn't mean it's suitable for everyone.