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Witch hazel – have you heard of it?
The chances are that you probably have. Its popularity surges and declines in the mainstream media throughout time. However, we're here to tell you that it should be a part of your life permanently.
Witch hazel has many benefits and uses. While you may think of witch hazel only as a beauty product, it has a wide variety of uses.
Let's take a look at what witch hazel does and how you can use it to reap its all-natural benefits.
What are the Benefits and Properties of Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel extract is derived from the leaves and bark of the Hamamelis virginiana shrub in North America. It is a natural extract that is popular in traditional medicine. It is most commonly applied to the skin and scalp.
But how does applying witch hazel to the skin and scalp benefit you?
Witch hazel is full of naturally occurring tannins. These compounds (the same that give red wine its distinctive flavor) work as astringents. An astringent is a chemical that contracts muscles and tissues.
Because of its unique, all-natural properties, it serves as a soothing agent for dry or irritated skin. Witch hazel is found in many facial toners, astringents, and cleansers. Let's take a look at the wide variety of benefits that witch hazel offers.
Witch hazel can be used to prevent and treat acne. Because it is an astringent, it cleans the skin of dirt. It also helps absorb and dry out excess oils. This can help reduce acne by removing the dirt and oil that often clog the pores. It also disinfects the skin with its all-natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. Cleaner pores often lead to less acne.
Witch hazel can also be used as a makeup remover. You can use a cotton ball dampened with witch hazel to dissolve even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup. But it doesn't stop there! After your face has been cleansed and stubborn makeup removed, the witch hazel helps close up your pores, preventing any bad buildup from entering and sealing in all of the fresh goodness of the witch hazel.
Did you know that witch hazel can also be used to treat razor burn?
It doesn't just help reduce inflammation from acne; witch hazel can also reduce the inflammation associated with razor burn. Simply apply witch hazel with a cotton ball immediately after shaving to prevent razor bumps from appearing. If the bumps have already appeared, you can still use witch hazel to reduce swelling and speed up healing.
Witch hazel can also be used to reduce under-eye bags. After you pulled an all-nighter studying for your final exams, you may greet the sun with severely puffy eyes. Try applying witch hazel to the area to reduce the redness and swelling. It will also help tighten up the skin, giving you a much more refreshed look.
Witch hazel can help eliminate and prevent blackheads. Because it cleanses the skin, witch hazel attacks the bacteria that create the blackheads (and whiteheads) in your skin. If you struggle to control blackheads by only washing your face, you might try incorporating witch hazel into your beauty routine.
If you struggle with dandruff, witch hazel may be an effective, all-natural solution. Adding it to your shampoo can help moisturize and condition the scalp. Or, if you prefer, you can apply it directly to the scalp before shampooing or between shampoos. It will cleanse the scalp and kill any bacteria that may be lingering. A clean, healthy scalp can lead to beautiful, healthy hair growth.
Witch hazel can also help heal or prevent cold sores.
If you feel the dreaded cold sore coming on, try applying a little bit of witch hazel. If it has already progressed to the blister stage, use witch hazel to reduce the swelling and inflammation. This should also provide some pain relief.
It may also help to prevent swimmer's ear. Because a bacterial infection causes swimmer's ear in wet ears, witch hazel can inhibit the growth of these bacteria. But that's not all. It also dries up excess oil and ear wax, leaving the ear much cleaner than it was before.
Witch hazel can also be used to treat psoriasis and eczema. Both of these conditions are caused by inflammation and irritation of the skin. Topically applying witch hazel can relieve the itching, redness, and irritation associated with psoriasis and eczema.
This also means that witch hazel can help reduce allergic reactions and hives. It not only provides an anti-inflammatory response to the skin; it also helps to constrict the blood vessels and sooth the irritation from allergic reactions.
Did you know that it could also be used as an antiperspirant? Because it helps to regulate the skin's oil production, witch hazel keeps excess oil to a minimum and works to kill the bacteria that cause underarm odor.
How to Use Witch Hazel Toner
This powerful, all-natural astringent can also be used to tone and treat oily skin. Its antimicrobial properties work to kill surface bacteria and remove excess oil. After that, it begins to tighten the pores. By tightening the pores, it can help regulate excess oil that you might struggle with. To see the maximum benefits, try using a witch hazel toner one to three times per day.
However, because it is an effective astringent, you will need to monitor the condition of your skin. If you start to use it too frequently, you may notice excessive dryness or irritation of the skin. Try alternating your use to every other day. Make sure you're using an alcohol-free brand. If necessary, switch moisturizers to keep your skin feeling fresh and supple.
To help combat this potential for dryness, you might opt for a toner that has a combination of ingredients in it. For example, some toners also include soothing and moisturizing ingredients, such as:
- Rose water
- Tea tree oil
Does Witch Hazel Help Dark Spots & Acne?
If you're looking for an all-natural alternative to treating dark spots and acne, then witch hazel might work for you. We've already covered how witch hazel can help prevent acne; it cleans the skin, closes the pores, and kills harmful bacteria and viruses.
But did you also know that it can help reduce the appearance of dark spots?
Because it is naturally hemostatic, witch hazel helps to reduce and eliminate dark spots and discoloration on the face. If you've had acne in the past and you have dark scarring or if you have sun spots from laying out on the beach too much, witch hazel can help diminish the appearance of those dark spots. Try applying it at night after you wash your face. The results may not be immediate, so you will probably need to continue to use it regularly for a few weeks to a month before you start to see noticeable results.
Witch Hazel First Aid Uses
Witch hazel is a staple of the traditional medical community, and it is one of the only botanical extracts that has been approved by the FDA as a drug. Additional scientific studies are being performed to determine if it can help treat diseases such as diabetes and skin cancer. Preliminary studies show that it may be effective in reducing the spread of cancerous cells. It is naturally anti-inflammatory. It is also antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral – the perfect combination of qualities for the ideal first aid tool.
Because it is naturally anti-inflammatory and hemostatic, witch hazel may help speed the healing of bruises.
If you have a swollen, bruised ankle, try applying witch hazel to the area three times per day. You should start to see the swelling go down and the bruise should visibly diminish.
Because it is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, it can also help with rashes from poison ivy or poison oak. It soothes the inflamed skin and can help prevent the rash from spreading. This means that it can also help relieve irritation from insect bites.
Witch hazel can also help reduce the pain from abrasions and small cuts or wounds. It reduces swelling and promotes healing to the wounded area. It also cleans the wound and helps to prevent it from becoming infected.
So there you have it – the nearly endless variety of uses for witch hazel. If you're looking to incorporate more all-natural health remedies into your routine, then look no further. Witch hazel may by the easy, all-natural answer to your skin or health ailment. Whether you're looking to improve the tone of your skin or help promote healthy hair growth, witch hazel can do it all. It is a cheap and easy-to-find alternative to many drugstore products.
Are you already getting your witch hazel on? Share your fave uses down below!