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Witch Hazel for Skin: Benefits and Uses

4 mins

Angelina Wells

Interested in trying witch hazel but not sure how to use it? Read on for all things witch hazel, including its many skin care benefits!

Witch hazel is often brought up in discussions about skin care. But what is it, and does it actually make a difference for your skin?

In short, witch hazel is a natural product that does offer several benefits to improve the quality of your complexion. Today, we here at WOW Skin Science are going to define witch hazel and explain why it is worth implementing into your skincare routine.

Table of Contents:

  • What Is Witch Hazel?
  • What Are the Benefits of Witch Hazel Products?
  • Cleanses Blemishes
  • Minimizes Appearance of Scarring and Swelling
  • Works To Remove Makeup
  • Eases Bug Bites
  • Soothes Razor Burn

    What Is Witch Hazel?

    Witch hazel comes from Hamamelis virginiana, a small tree or flowering shrub that is native to North America. Witch hazel is produced from the shrub’s leaves and bark and has many medicinal uses. 

    The various components of witch hazel include tannin, gallic acid, catechins, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins. The extract can also contain essential oils such as eugenol and hexenol. Together, these ingredients account for many of witch hazel’s antioxidant, astringent, and cleansing effects.

    essential oils

    When it comes to skincare, witch hazel is most commonly used as a facial toner. Toner is a liquid that minimizes the appearance of your pores, temporarily tightens your skin, and refreshes your complexion. Toners also help to remove oil, dirt, and other debris from your skin.

    Witch hazel is a popular choice of toner since it is all-natural, in turn making it a safe option for most skin types. Those with sensitive skin who are concerned about the product drying out or disagreeing with their skin may opt to use a toner that is free of the following ingredients:

    • Alcohol
    • Parabens
    • Phthalates
    • Salicylic acid
    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Artificial fragrance
    sensitive skin care, skin care for different skin types

    These ingredients can cause uncomfortable side effects for sensitive skin, such as dryness and itchiness. Witch hazel extract is sometimes also used in other beauty and skincare products, like cleansers. The specific product you choose to use that contains witch hazel can depend on your skin concerns and skin type. 

    What Are the Benefits of Witch Hazel Products?

    Witch hazel is extremely versatile. As a skincare product, it offers a wide variety of potential benefits. Here are some of the top draws of investing in witch hazel.

    • Cleanses Blemishes

    One of the most popular benefits of using witch hazel toner or other products for your skin is its ability to soothe and cleanse blemishes

    Blemishes and breakouts can occur anywhere where sebaceous glands exist. Sebaceous glands are small glands attached to hair follicles and located in the skin all over the body. The glands produce sebum, an oil that naturally lubricates your skin and hair. Excess production of sebum may result in oily skin and blocked-up pores. 

    Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can dry out unwanted blemishes, clear away excess oil, and prevent the formation of more blemishes. 

    acne treatment

    Conversely, excessively dry skin can also result in breakouts. Sometimes the sebum in your skin will combine with dead skin cells that have accumulated on your epidermis, resulting once again in clogged pores. When bacteria feed on these follicles, it can result in breakouts.

    Apply witch hazel to your face directly after exiting your shower. While showering, your skin gains much-needed moisture. Witch hazel can function as a barrier to lock this moisture in. Additionally, if your dry skin tends to leave you feeling itchy, the witch hazel should be able to relieve you of this dryness and soothe your skin.

    To further protect your dry skin, be sure to apply a high-quality facial lotion. We recommend WOW Skin Science Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel. This water gel uses ingredients like vitamin E and B5 to restore lost moisture to dehydrated, dull skin. 

    Lacking moisture in your skin can aggravate skin irritation and signs of aging. Fine lines may be more visible, and your complexion can appear blotchy. Our hydrating, water-based product contains moisture-binding hyaluronic acid that can minimize the appearance of fine lines, support your natural moisture barrier, and provide your skin with a smooth and radiant finish.

    • Minimizes Appearance of Scarring and Swelling

    Thanks to its astringent properties, you can also use witch hazel to reduce the appearance of scarring and stretch marks. 

    how to soothe scars

    Scars are the aftermath of damage to your skin. After accruing a wound, your skin will begin to repair itself with the growth of new tissue. 

    This is often when scars form. The main component of connective tissue is collagen, and when the body forms new collagen fibers to mend its skin, it may result in some scarring. Scars can come in all shapes and sizes. There are fine line scars that are pink and flat, hypertrophic scars that thicken with time, and atrophic scars that sink below the skin’s surface, just to name a few.

    Witch hazel is useful for reducing the appearance of scarring and minimizing any redness associated with your scars. Try combining your witch hazel with aloe vera — another natural scar-minimizing ingredient — for extra support.

    Simply take a washcloth or cotton ball, depending on how large the problem area is, soak it with witch hazel, and dab it across the area. This should reduce unwanted swelling and help relieve any associated discomfort.

    • Works To Remove Makeup

    Looking for an environmentally friendly makeup remover? Witch hazel works just as well as many popular cosmetic products and does not leave an oily coat on the surface of your skin. This makes it compatible with most skin types — including oily skin. 


    best way to remove makeup

    Add a little witch hazel to a cotton pad and gently swipe it across your skin to wipe away your color cosmetics. You can choose to follow this step with your usual cleanser and skincare routine to ensure all impurities are removed or skip the cleanser, depending on your skin needs. 

    • Eases Bug Bites

    Especially during the warmer months of the year, bug bites can become a common nuisance. 

    Bug bites can cause uncomfortable irritation to the skin in the affected area, but witch hazel may prove to be an effective way to find relief. 

    Witch hazel can be used to soothe the itchy, painful, and overall irritating symptoms that accompany mosquito or fly bites. Soak a cotton pad in witch hazel and hold it against the affected area to help ease swelling and itchiness and soothe overall discomfort in the area.

    how to soothe mosquito bite

    That being said, if your symptoms or swelling are severe, you should consult a healthcare provider for further guidance.

    • Soothes Razor Burn

    Razor burn can be painful and can sometimes even lead to infection. Since witch hazel has calming and soothing properties, it may help soothe common symptoms of razor burn such as redness, itchiness, and irritation. This is why it is a common ingredient in many aftershaves. 

    Make sure to use alcohol-free witch hazel to prevent irritating your skin further, especially if you have more sensitive skin. To use witch hazel for razor burn, you can apply it to a cotton pad and swipe it across the affected areas or mix it into your usual face moisturizer or body lotion. 

    how to soothe razor burn, shaving legs

    Witch hazel can be a successful natural remedy for a variety of ailments as long as you know how to use it. It is an especially great option for improving the quality of your skin because of its lack of harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients. 

    Some of the potential benefits of witch hazel for skin include cleansing properties for blemish-prone skin types, minimizing the appearance of scars and dark spots, removing makeup, soothing bug bites, and calming razor burn. 

    Witch hazel is generally suitable for most skin types, but it is always best to try a patch test of new ingredients before applying them all over your face or body. 

    Now that you have a full understanding of the product, you can give it a try and watch your skin transform!

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    Angelina Wells

    Angelina Wells is not new to the world of glamour and style. After all, she has been working as a beauty guide for a few decades. She imparts her expertise to style lovers across the globe through her blog. Stay up-to-date on the latest and the best in beauty and wellness with Angelina.

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