Witch hazel is a topical astringent derived from the bark and leaves of Hamamelis virginiana, the common or North American witch-hazel shrub. Native Americans have long recognized the medicinal properties of witch hazel and used a decoction of the boiled plant parts to treat skin irritations and tumors.
Witch hazel has been recognized world-wide as a natural cleanser and toner, but it has many more uses than simply to clarify skin and shrink pores.
1. Fade Bruises and Blemishes
Witch hazel may be used to treat blemishes already present on the face or other areas of the body. Witch hazel applied to bruises can also help to fade discoloration and speed up the healing process of any underlying damage.
- Apply witch hazel with a cotton ball or cosmetic pad to reduce irritation and appearance of acne or other inflammatory skin conditions.
2. Facial Cleanser
Clean skin is clear skin and witch hazel helps remove any impurities that your face wash leaves behind.
- Simply put some witch hazel on a cotton swab and gently wipe it over your whole face to remove any leftover dirt, makeup and oil.
3. Treat Acne
Acne is hard to treat, but witch hazel can help because it has potent antibacterial benefits.
- Apply witch hazel twice per day after washing your face to help prevent a buildup of bacteria on the skin.
- Once you get your acne under control, use witch hazel once a day to maintain your results.
4. Prevent and Reduce Stretch Marks
Stretch marks typically are a problem for pregnant women, but they can also affect anyone who gains weight quickly for whatever reason.
Stretch marks are pretty tough to get rid of, but witch hazel can tighten loose skin around the scars (which is really what stretch marks are), which in turn can reduce their appearance.
You can use it as a preventative too, so this is something every pregnant woman should have on hand.
5. Soothe Itching With Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a potent anti-inflammatory that can help soothe itching associated with insect bites, poisonous plant contact and even diaper rashes.
A study published in the International Journal of Trichology in July 2014 even found that shampoos and tonics that used common witch hazel as a main ingredient could reduce the irritation associated with dermatological conditions such as a red or sensitive scalp.
6. Cleanse and Soothe a Wound
There’s a good reason why many tattoo artists cleanse a brand new tattoo with witch hazel. The reason is because it cleanses the skin, and also soothes inflammation. You can use witch hazel to cleanse any wound or scrape, big or small.
7. Brighten Around Eyes
The ability of witch hazel to tighten skin and reduce inflammation makes this an ideal natural remedy for treating discoloration and puffiness under and around eyes and is one of the most popular uses for witch hazel.
Note: Just make sure not to get any of this natural astringent on the eyes themselves as it will result in significant pain and lingering discomfort from dryness.
8. Reduce Under-Eye Bags
The anti-inflammatory properties in witch hazel will help reduce the bags and discoloration under your eyes when you dab on a few drops with a Q-tip or cotton ball.
9. Cleanse Oily Skin
Even though this is probably the most popular use for witch hazel, it is worth taking a moment to mention it. This stuff does a great job of getting sweat, oil, and dirt off your face and balancing your skin’s oil production. If you use it once a day, you will be amazed at how much better your skin feels throughout the day.
10. Cool Down a Sunburn
Witch hazel will help cool down a sunburn, prevent further peeling, and help heal the skin.
- Soak a clean washcloth in witch hazel and apply it to the sunburn.
- Let this sit for 10 minutes and remove.
Note: Only use this on minor sunburns and perform the treatment 3-4 times per day maximum.
11. Reduce Pore Size
If you have large, open pores on your skin and can’t stand the sight of them, then you will find that a daily application of witch hazel will help shrink them. This is true even if you do not suffer from acne or oily skin.
12. Treat Poison Ivy
If you love to camp, be sure to always have a bottle of witch hazel packed with your gear as it is useful for reducing the painful rash, swelling or itching from poison ivy and poison oak.
13. Prevent Razor Burn
Not only will witch hazel prevent bleeding from any nicks you might get while shaving, but the anti-inflammatory properties will also prevent razor burn.
14. Shrink Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are an unsightly cosmetic blemish with a similar appearance to stretch marks. Like stretch marks, they can be stubborn. Witch hazel is a popular remedy for spider veins. Just dab some on with a cotton ball several times a day.
Some people who have tried this report that it reduces the appearance of the veins, while others say it can alleviate the discomfort which is sometimes associated with them.
15. Treat Dandruff
If you are seeking a dandruff remedy, try treating it with witch hazel. Just massage it into your scalp, and then follow it up with your standard shampoo and conditioner in the shower and rinse it all out.
Alternatively, you can use it to wash your hair and scalp between shampoos, if you get your hair wet in the shower on non-wash days.