If you’re not aware of the magic of witch hazel, you’re missing out on some serious health wisdom. Witch hazel benefits range from banishing acne to treating sunburns, easing headaches, and so much more. It’s an awesome natural remedy that everyone needs to know about, especially if you’ve been suffering through bad skin and health problems like a sore throat and viral infections. It’s pretty amazing all that witch hazel can do! Read on to find out what exactly witch hazel is, and benefits and uses you’ll wish you knew sooner!
What is Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel comes from a plant called Hamamelis virginiana. It’s made from the bark and leaves of the plant, and has been used for a long time in traditional medicine. It contains tannins, which are a natural compound with astringent effects, meaning witch hazel helps shrink or constrict skin tissue. It’s most often used topically to treat certain skin conditions, including acne, bruises, burns, itches, inflammation, insect bites and more.
Where Can I Buy Witch Hazel?
You can buy witch hazel at some local health and drugstores, but if you’d rather not leave the comfort of your couch, you can find it online. Click here for witch hazel toner, here for witch hazel astringent facial cleanser, and here for organic witch hazel extract.
How to Use Witch Hazel: 4 Tips
1. Always Go Alcohol Free
Don’t use witch hazel with alcohol in it, especially if you have sensitive skin. Witch hazel is sometimes extracted with alcohol to create an astringent toner, but if the alcohol content turns out to be too high for your skin, it can disrupt the skin’s barrier function, not to mention really dry out your skin. Always look for moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or aloe vera when choosing your witch hazel.
2. Do a Patch Test First
Before slathering witch hazel on your skin, be sure to do a patch test. Always read the label to ensure there’s nothing you’re sensitive or allergic to, and test the product on a small, concentrated area of the skin. The last thing you want is an adverse reaction, especially if you’re using it on your face.
3. Dilute It With a Carrier Oil
A common way to use witch hazel is diluting it with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil and applying it directly to the skin. It can be used as a serum, toner, lotion, or even a face wash.
4. Make It in a Tea
Boil the leaves or bark of witch hazel in water for 10-15 minutes. You can add it to your favourite tea mix or drink it on its own for a throat-soothing drink. If you’re experiencing a sore throat, you can also add honey to the concoction to help soothe it further.
2 Side Effects of Witch Hazel
1. Don’t Ingest It
When applied topically, witch hazel is typically considered safe. It’s not recommended to ingest it (unless you make it into a tea) as it can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, liver damage, and more adverse effects.
2. Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin or spend a lot of time in the sun, be wary about using witch hazel on your skin. It may cause a reaction so always make sure to do a patch test first.
4 Witch Hazel Benefits for Skin Care
If you suffer from acne, witch hazel may just be your new best friend. Since it’s an astringent, it decreases oil and redness, but it also contains antimicrobial properties of tannins that reduce bacteria on the skin. It stops acne bacteria in its tracks, and also reduces irritation that accompanies breakouts.
2. Treats Sunburns
Witch hazel can be used to help treat sunburns. Having anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces the discomfort of a sunburn, and can be applied directly to sunburnt areas with a cloth or cotton balls.
3. Fights Signs of Aging
Witch hazel contains polyphenols, which can help fight premature signs of aging. Its high antioxidant content helps prevent free radical damage to the skin coming from UV rays and air pollution. Since it’s an astringent, it also makes your skin tighter, resulting in a younger looking complexion.
4. Pore tightening
If you’re looking for an effective way to tighten your pores, witch hazel is just the solution! It’s a rich source of constricting compounds that urge the proteins inside your skin cells to come together. This temporarily makes our pores look smaller, so you can feel confident when you rock your bare skin!
5 Witch Hazel Benefits for Health
1. Wards Off Infection
Witch hazel has been found to fight off certain viral infections. It’s often applied topically to ward off cold sores and relieve their associated symptoms.
2. Soothes a Sore Throat
If you have an irritated or infected sore throat, make yourself some witch hazel tea to soothe your symptoms. Its natural astringent properties help fight illnesses that cause a sore throat, and its soothing properties decrease discomfort caused by cough, sinus infections, tonsillitis and other throat problems.
3. Reduces Headaches
The astringent properties of witch hazel help reduce headaches. Applying it topically to your temples will ease the tension of the small capillaries that often cause headaches. Alternatively, you can brew a cup of witch hazel tea, which eases blood pressure and relaxes sore muscles or blood vessels.
4. Mouth, Lips and Gums
If you have blisters or sores on your lips, inner cheeks or gums, witch hazel can help speed healing and eliminate pain and swelling. You can apply the extract to the inside of your mouth, and combine it with coconut oil or peppermint oil for further healing effects.
5. Soothes Aches and Pains
Witch hazel has antioxidant and tannins that have been found to soothe inflammation from arthritis, as well as sore muscles and joints caused by physical exercise, injury or aging. Mix witch hazel with equal parts water or olive oil and rub it over the affected area.
Witch hazel can help with so many symptoms, from acne, to sore throats, to headaches. If you haven’t experienced the benefits of this plant, it’s time to jump on the witch hazel train!