While certain types of acne (such as cysts and pustules) are inflammatory, witch hazel may possible benefit noninflammatory acne (blackheads and whiteheads) too. The idea behind witch hazel for acne treatment is that it can act as an astringent by drying out your acne blemishes, much like other OTC treatments.
Witch hazel acts as an astringent to help shrink your pores, soothe your skin and reduce inflammation.
Cleanse Oily Skin
One of the best uses for witch hazel is as a natural facial cleanser, especially when it comes to controlling excess oil. "Witch hazel is an astringent with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties so it can effectively be used as a cleanser," explains Engelman.
Because witch hazel is so astringent, it can make acne worse. Dryness and irritation can affect the skin, along with increasing the chance of leaving post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) behind once the pimple heals.
Witch hazel is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when small doses are taken by mouth. In some people, witch hazel might cause stomach upset when taken by mouth. Large doses might cause liver problems. Witch hazel contains a cancer-causing chemical (safrole), but in amounts that are too small to be of concern.
How to use it: To clean out oil-ridden pores, it's best to apply witch hazel after washing your face. Use a cotton pad to avoid getting oil from your fingers on your face. It's also important to moisturize your skin after using witch hazel, as overly dried out skin can cause your body to produce even more oil.
Follow up with moisturizer: It's best to pair witch hazel with a moisturizer to avoid over-drying your skin, says Dr. Schlessinger. Otherwise, you run the risk of triggering more acne. We recommend these dermatologist-approved moisturizers for oily, acne-prone skin.
“Witch Hazel is best used 2-3 times a week, after cleansing, because it removes traces of cleanser, makeup, dirt, or oil.
Witch hazel is best for people with oily, acne-prone skin. Its astringent and pore-tightening properties help fight the inflammation and overproduction of oil associated with acne. It can also help clear clogged pores – a primary cause of acne breakouts.
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.
The name witch hazel is a derivation from old English “wice” or “wiche” which means pliant or bendable. Early English settlers found that the branches of the witch hazel could be used to douse or divine for underground water much as the hazel bush (Corylus) was used back in England.
Use Witch Hazel
It can shrink large skin pores and tighten the skin. It also helps in slowing down the aging process. Witch hazel can be used on the face, neck, and even on thighs. Witch hazel can prove very effective in tightening the loose skin on the thighs.
Deep blackheads should be removed by a medical professional — usually a dermatologist or medical aesthetician. They use a small tool with rigid metal loops on the ends (blackhead or comedo extractor) to apply even pressure to your blackheads.
“Witch hazel can cause skin issues but only if used too frequently. You should only be using witch hazel a few times a week to avoid over-drying or stripping away the skin's natural protective barrier,” said Nicole Hatfield, certified esthetician for Pomp & Founder of Radiant Beings Wellness & Beauty Coaching.
Generally, witch hazel is used as a toner. That means that you'll want to apply it after using a cleanser to re-balance skin pH. After you've washed your face thoroughly, pat it dry with a soft cloth. Then apply your favorite formulation of Thayers Witch Hazel before adding a moisturizing cream or serum.
Dermatologists give the toner their seal of approval
"Witch hazel is a botanical ingredient used in skin care for its astringent effects on the skin," he said. "It can effectively remove oil from the skin to improve shine and minimize the appearance of pores, and may help soothe inflammation."
However, don't mistake the ingredient for an acne treatment, since it won't address the cause of your breakouts. "[Witch hazel] might soothe acneic skin, reduce inflammation, and accelerate clearing, but it is unlikely to treat your acne," confirms Dr.
Many people have reported that witch hazel has helped with their hair loss. That's because it works to increase blood circulation in the scalp, delivering vital nutrients to the hair follicles, which can stimulate healthy growth. It also reduces inflammation (see above), another major cause of hair loss.
Treats Many Concerns at Once. Witch hazel can do it all, so it's no surprise it's used as the main ingredient for a multipurpose skin care treatment. Using these pads can help you simultaneously cleanse skin, remove excess oil and exfoliate the skin—as well as keep the skin evenly toned and moisturized.
Does Witch Hazel Cause Skin Irritation? The witch hazel plant naturally contains eugenol, a potential skin irritant and allergen. Thayers unique maceration technique uses water only to create our witch hazel extract. This means the eugenol is virtually not present in the final product.
Also avoid witch hazel and other astringents—they won't eliminate the puffiness, Farris says, but they will probably cause dryness and irritation.