Witch hazel is a plant with powerful benefits when used in skin solutions. It’s a type of shrub native to North America -- known for its ability to ease inflammation and soothe sensitive skin.
It can also be added to herbal teas and ingested orally in small amounts as a natural treatment for other conditions.
Here are the top 5 benefits and uses of witch hazel
1. Relieves Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal immune response designed to protect your body against injury and infection. HOwever, chronic inflammation caused by drinking, lack of sleep and stress can increase the chances of skin issues like acne, eczema or psoriasis. Witch hazel contains many compounds with potent anti-inflammatory properties, including gallic acid, tannins, and antioxidants that help prevent widespread inflammation and neutralize free radicals, which are disease-causing compounds that can build up in your skin.
Studies show that topically-applied witch hazel can effectively reduce inflammation and help soothe your skin. Just a couple of products with Witch Hazel include the Anti-Vice Face Set and Purifying Face Cleanser.
2. Reduces Skin Irritation
Sensitive skin is a very common condition affecting an estimate of up to 45% of Americans.
Some research suggests that applying witch hazel topically to sensitive skin may be beneficial in the treatment of inflamed, irritated or broken skin. In fact, witch hazel has been shown to suppress erythema (skin redness caused by injury or irritation) by up to 27%.
One study in 40 people found that using a lotion with as little as 10% witch hazel extract was effective in reducing skin inflammation and treating erythema.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties research suggests that witch hazel could be useful in the treatment of acne. It can be applied directly to your face after cleansing as an astringent, causing your tissues to contract to help shrink pores, while also soothing your skin and relieving inflammation. This may prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting your skin.
Still, studies on the effects of witch hazel on acne are limited and further research is needed to determine its efficacy.
4. Reduces Scalp Sensitivity
Scalp sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from cosmetic hair treatments to dermatological conditions, such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Applying a bit of witch hazel to your scalp before washing your hair may help treat scalp sensitivity and provide relief from symptoms, such as itching and tenderness. Witch hazel also helps relieve inflammation, which could be useful in reducing scalp sensitivity caused by conditions like psoriasis or eczema. It’s also sometimes used as a natural remedy to relieve symptoms of other scalp problems such as dandruff and dryness.
5. Skin Protection
Witch hazel is rich in tannins, a natural plant compound with powerful antioxidant properties that can help protect your skin against damage when applied topically.
Witch hazel is an astringent that is a powerful anti-inflammatory containing several compounds which are useful in treating a variety of conditions ranging from acne to scalp sensitivity.