There are many plants that contain a lot of medicinal properties and work wonders on the skin too. One such plant native to the North American region is witch hazel. Hamamelis virginiana is a species of witch hazel that is widely used in skincare products and teas due to the many benefits it offers. Its ability to soothe sensitive skin and calm inflammation makes it an excellent ingredient for topical application to treat infection on the skin and scalp. Consuming witch hazel in small portions in the form of teas can work as a natural treatment for several health conditions.
Witch hazel is easily available in your local drugstore and can be used in a number of different ways to treat certain skin conditions. Several DIY treatments recommend the use of witch hazel due to its skin soothing and healing properties. Having said that, witch hazel may not be suitable for every skin type and concern, therefore one needs to exercise caution when using this ingredient. The best way to know if it is safe for your skin is by conducting a patch test.
How to do a witch hazel patch test
To understand whether witch hazel works for your skin type or not, it is necessary to do a patch test first. Here’s how:
- Cleanse the area where you want to do the patch test, preferably the back of your hand, neck or a small section of your face.
- Let it stay for a few hours, generally, it is safe for most skin types so there shouldn’t be a reaction.
- Don’t see any reaction? Go ahead and use it on your skin!
Beauty benefits of witch hazel
Right from acne to dandruff, witch hazel has the ability to address a lot of skin and hair concerns. In this article, we will tell you all the benefits of witch hazel for your skin, along with ways to use it. Scroll down to see them all!
1. Tightens pores
As you age, the natural collagen in your skin starts to break down. This makes the skin lose its elasticity and start sagging. Witch hazel contains astringent properties which means it has the ability to tighten and shrink your pores temporarily. A lot of beauty brands use witch hazel instead of alcohol in their toners to close pores and tighten cell gaps, thereby reducing the penetration of impurities into the skin.
How to use: Wash and rinse your face with a cleanser, then add a few drops of witch hazel on a cotton ball and apply it to the face. Follow up with the rest of your skincare products.
2. Reduces excess oil and acne
Those with oily skin struggle with excess oil on their face. Apart from making your skin look shiny, excess oil also clogs pores. When pores get clogged with oil and other impurities, it leads to breakouts and acne. Using a face wash for oily skin does get rid of excess oil, but if you follow it up with witch hazel, your skin will be deeply cleansed and it won’t produce excess oil.
How to use: After cleansing your skin with a suitable face wash, take some witch hazel on a cotton pad and gently wipe your face with it. Don’t forget to apply moisturiser a few minutes later, as witch hazel can sometimes be too drying for the skin.
3. Calms skin irritation
Witch hazel contains anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and calm the skin as well as reduces irritation. In fact, witch hazel is a key ingredient in ointments formulated for those with skin conditions like hemorrhoids, eczema and diaper rashes. The topical application of this anti-inflammatory ingredient offers quick and long-lasting relief.
How to use: Although calming in nature, be careful to wash your hands and the area of application thoroughly. Using a clean cotton pad apply witch hazel on irritated skin. If you are using an ointment or lotion, apply it directly with clean hands. If there is an open wound, avoid that area and visit a dermatologist.
4. Prevents skin damage
As the protective layer of your skin weakens with age and other environmental factors, the skin gets easily damaged. Witch hazel is rich in tannins which act as a barrier and protect substances from entering and damaging your skin cells. In fact, one study shows that witch hazel can neutralise the harmful effect of free radicals, thereby slowing down ageing.
How to use: You can use products infused with witch hazel to prevent skin damage if you don’t want to apply it directly onto the skin. Depending on your skin type, you can choose a product with the perfect combination of ingredients. For example, if you have dry skin, witch hazel can dry out the skin further so use it in the form of a moisturiser mixed with other nourishing ingredients.
5. Wards off infection
As mentioned earlier, witch hazel forms a protective layer on your skin and prevents external aggressors from entering into the skin easily. This fights infections and prevents them from troubling your skin. If you are looking for a natural and quicker way to heal a wound, a popped pimple or ease swelling, using witch hazel can help.
How to use: It’s simple, take a few drops of witch hazel on a soft cotton ball and hold it against the pimple, swelling or wound to accelerate the healing process and prevent it from getting infected further.
6. Relieves sunburns
Sunscreen is an absolute must to stay protected from the harmful rays of the sun that may damage your skin and cause sunburn. However, if you miss a spot and do end up getting sunburnt, the anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel can help. When applied on the affected area it will have a cooling effect and offer relief.
How to use: Prepare a cup of green tea and let it cool down, then add witch hazel along with aloe vera gel and peppermint oil. Transfer to a spray bottle and spritz from time to time on the affected area. This will soothe and heal the skin.
7. Diminishes dandruff
Dandruff is a common problem, but walking around with flakes on your shoulder is not a good sight. Did you know that witch hazel can help address this problem? Since it has the ability to fight infections and keep bacteria away, using witch hazel on the scalp can help get rid of dandruff for good.
How to use: When it comes to using witch hazel to fight scalp infections and dandruff, you can simply mix it in your regular shampoo and use it to cleanse your mane. Alternatively, add it to your oil before a hot oil massage session to curb dandruff.
FAQs about witch hazel
Q. Does witch hazel improve skin tone?
A. Witch hazel, when used regularly can diminish dark spots and blemishes, thereby improving and correcting skin tone. You can add a few drops of witch hazel to your cleanser and use the mixture to wash your face. It will also prevent excess oil production and keep acne at bay.
Q. Can I use witch hazel on my face everyday?
A. Witch hazel is safe to use on your face daily, however, it also depends on how your skin reacts to it. If your skin feels dry and stretchy, use it every alternate day, those with oily skin can use it every day.
Q. Should I moisturise after applying witch hazel?
A. Since witch hazel has astringent properties, it can make the skin feel dry after application. Therefore, it is necessary to apply a moisturiser after using witch hazel.