Witch Hazel plant is well known for its powerful astringent, toning and medicinal properties that can be used in several ways. The leaves and bark of the plants are most commonly used in folk medicine. Let's explore this wonderful ingredient and the following points:
- What is Witch Hazel ?
- Uses and benefits of Witch Hazel
- How Witch Hazel extract is made?
- How to safely use Witch Hazel?
What is Witch Hazel?
Witch Hazel plant is famous for its medicinal and astringent properties. There are numerous species of witch hazel but the most commonly used species is Hamamelis virginiana. The bark and the leaves of the plant are made into ointments and teas.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is conventionally used for the inflamed skin and it also soothes the sensitive skin. This plant can also be ingested orally and can be added to herbal teas in small amounts for the various natural treatments.
Witch hazel extract is nothing but is a clear liquid that is distilled from the bark and the twigs of the witch hazel tree i.e Hamamelis virginiana. This tree is native to the Northeastern United States. Witch hazel extract is a widely used cosmetic ingredient due to its skin toning and astringent properties.
This extract is excellent for all the skin types and also it can be incorporated in various skin products like face toner, creams, lotions and more and can be used alone.
Uses and benefits of Witch Hazel
1. Helps in reducing the skin irritation
Topically applying the witch hazel to the sensitive skin is beneficial in the treatment of the broken, inflamed and irritated skin. Sensitive skin is a very common condition that affects around 30% of the population.
Witch hazel has been shown to suppress the symptoms of erythema which is reddening of the skin which is due to minor skin injury (bug bites or insect bites) or irritation up to 29%. A cream or lotion containing witch hazel is effective in treating erythema and reducing skin inflammations.
2. Helps in reducing the acne
Due to the strong anti-inflammatory properties witch hazel is useful in the treatment of acne. To achieve the maximum effect it can be applied directly to the face after steaming or cleansing. The astringent effect of the witch hazel helps in shrinking of the pores by contracting the tissues and also soothing and relieving the inflammation from the skin. Witch hazel is added to many over-the-counter acne products as it prevents the acne-causing bacteria from infecting the skin.
3. Protects against skin damage
Witch hazel possesses powerful antioxidant properties due to the presence of tannins (a natural plant compound) and protects the skin against the damage when applied topically. Studies have also found that tannins present in the plant acts as a barrier and prevents the entry of foreign substances.
4. Helps in alleviating the sensitivity of the scalp
Cosmetic hair treatments or dermatological conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis can cause scalp sensitivity. Applying witch hazel to the scalp before washing the hair helps in reducing the sensitivity and relieves the itching and tenderness.
Witch hazel is also used as a natural remedy for the treatment of symptoms of scalp dryness and dandruff. To know more about it, click here!
5. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is a body's normal immune response that protects the body from infection and injuries. But chronic inflammation can lead to the development of certain diseases.
Witch hazel contains gallic acid and tannins that possess potent anti-inflammatory properties and various antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent the widespread inflammation. Studies suggest that topically applying witch hazel soothes the skin and reduces the inflammation.
How Witch Hazel extract is made?
Normally the dried leaves, partially dormant twigs and bark of the plants are collected and then they are double-distilled with a low content of the alcohol to get a high-quality extract from the plant. This method of extraction is one the approved method for getting a good quality and to achieve a desired purity of the product. This extract can be added to any cream, lotion or gel or it can also be applied topically on the skin.
How to safely use Witch Hazel?
Creams, lotions, ointments or face toner can be applied topically but if you have sensitive or allergic skin doing an initial patch test on the skin can avoid the allergic reactions.
Witch hazel can also be taken orally. Generally, 3-4 teaspoons of witch hazel are considered as safe. But if taken in excess it might cause vomiting or stomach irritation.
If you experience any side effects while using witch hazel, you must concern a dermatologist for medical advice.
So, witch hazel is an amazing plant that can be used as a cosmetic ingredient or can be used alone or in a combined recipe. Witch hazel is full of several compounds possessing antiviral and potent anti-inflammatory properties that help treat various conditions starting from scalp sensitivity to haemorrhoids. Click here to know how to add witch hazel in a skin care routine.
What is witch hazel good for?
Witch hazel is used for several disease conditions and skin conditions ranging from inflammation, itching, pain, injury, acne, sensitive scalp, excess oil production (oily skin) to varicose veins and haemorrhoids.
Is witch hazel the same as rubbing alcohol?
When it comes to cleaning out a cut, witch hazel can be used as a replacement of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. It can also be used on cracked and blistered skin.
Does witch hazel help with dark spots?
Witch hazel extract is well known for the treatment of the blemishes present anywhere on the body and the entire face. Witch hazel fades the discolouration of the blemishes and bruises.
Is witch hazel good for aging skin?
Being a natural astringent, it reduces acne, tightens the pores and slows down the signs of the aging. It also reduces the appearance of the fine lines and wrinkles.