15 Witch Hazel Uses for Acne, Face, Skin, Hair and Health
Witch hazel is a type of plant that is used to create witch hazel extract, a liquid with antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a variety of natural components that are known for promoting health, including gallic acid, oils, flavonoids, tannins and resin. This unique combination of components and properties makes witch hazel a very unique product that can benefit many different health conditions.
1. Facial Cleanser
Every day, your skin is assaulted with pollutants, dirt and grime so it is important to wash all of this away before you head to bed at night. In the morning, you want to cleanse your skin to wash away any excess oils or sweat that accumulate at night. Start by removing your makeup and then use witch hazel to get rid of any trace amounts of makeup or dirt that are left on your skin. If you do not wear makeup and your skin is not excessively oily, you can often use witch hazel only to cleanse your face each day.
2. Acne Treatment
Acne can be hard to treat and keep under control, but the antioxidant and astringent properties of witch hazel may be just what you need. It works to cleanse the skin, minimize your pores and prevent the accumulation of bacteria. However, it is not nearly as drying as other acne products, so it will not leave you with flaking skin. You can also spot treat by apply witch hazel directly to blemishes. Use this product two times each day, once in the morning and once at night, to eliminate your acne. Once the acne is gone, continue to use this product once at night to prevent future breakouts from occurring.
3. Treating Scars and Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are something many people have to contend with, especially women, and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of. However, the loose skin associated with these marks can be tightened with witch hazel because it is an astringent. The colors of the marks are also reduced when you apply witch hazel. Apply this product to the affected area twice per day by soaking a gauze pad and allowing it to sit on the area for about five minutes so that it can soak into the skin.
4. Soothing an Irritating Diaper Rash
Diaper rash makes your baby miserable, but he or she does not have to be. A little witch hazel with something like petroleum jelly will soothe the rash and help to protect the skin from further irritation. The improvement is usually immediate because the irritation is immediately calmed by this combination of products. There are also diaper rash products available that already contain witch hazel if you do not want to do the mixing yourself.
5. Reducing Under Eye Bags
Under eye bags make you look exhausted and older than you truly are. Take two cotton pads and soak them in witch hazel, making sure to wring out the excess. Place the damp pads over your eyes, with your eyes shut, and lie back for 10 minutes while the witch hazel goes to work. Remove the pads and gently clean away any excess so that it does not get into your eyes. Your puffiness and any redness will be reduced.
6. Soothing the Blisters Associated with Chicken Pox
The blisters associated with chicken box are severely itching and so many things will not calm the itch. Take one cup of water and mix this with one cup of witch hazel to make a natural anti-itch remedy. You can apply this as many times per day as necessary to calm the itching. Apply it liberally to the affected area and simply allow it to dry. There is no need to rinse it away afterward.
7. Faster Healing of Bruises
Witch hazel can help you to heal your bruises faster due to its anti-inflammatory benefits. You should apply this product three times per day to the bruised area. Apply a liberal amount to a piece of gauze and place this in the bruise for about five minutes so it has time to absorb into the skin.
8. Cleaning and Healing Scrapes and Cuts
When you get scrapes and cuts, it is important to clean them out to prevent infection. Witch hazel is a viable substitute for rubbing alcohol and peroxide because it is able to kill germs and clean the wound. Only use this on minor cuts and scrapes, apply it liberally and allow it to dry on its own for optimal cleansing.
9. Soothing Razor Burn
Razor burn happens no matter how careful you are when you shave. This burn results in bumps that itch and burn due to the hair follicles getting inflamed and irritated. After shaving, splash a little witch hazel on the area to soothe the skin and prevent the inflammation from occurring.
10. Treating Sunburn
Sunburns actually damage your skin and cause intense inflammation in the burned area. This causes pain and significant discomfort. As the sunburn starts to heal, you are likely to experience itchiness and the skin flaking and peeling. Witch hazel is beneficial for all stages of a sunburn due to its properties. It can also help to prevent infection due to its anti-bacterial effects. Just make sure to only use this product on minor sunburns and never severe ones. If you have a severe sunburn, consult your physician. To use the witch hazel, soak a clean cloth in this product and then allow the cloth to sit on your skin for about 10 minutes.
11. Decrease the Visibility of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are unsightly and some of them can be very big and stand out. You want to reduce the appearance as much as possible until you are able to get a doctor to help you. Take a thin cloth, such as a piece of gauze and soak this in witch hazel. Apply this directly to the vein and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. This helps to reduce some of the puffiness so the vein does not stand out as much. This is ideal before you head out to work or an event where you will be wearing clothes that expose your legs. You can do this once a day to work toward reducing the puffiness and appearance of varicose veins long-term.
12. Cure a Sore Throat
Everyone gets a sore throat from time to time and this can really put a damper on your day. The various properties in this product helps to cure a sore throat when you use it to make a gargle rinse. Make sure to never swallow it and always completely rinse your mouth out after use. Witch hazel has been used since ancient times to decrease the burning and irritation of a sore throat.
13. Moisturize Your Skin
Witch hazel itself is not a moisturizer, but it does not strip away the natural oils on your skin like other astringents do. When you apply witch hazel right after a shower, you help to seal in moisture to prevent dryness and tightness. For a double dose of moisture, after exiting the shower, apply your favorite moisturizer, allow it to dry and then apply a thin coat of witch hazel to seal it into place. This is ideal for those with dry skin and during the cold weather.
14. Decrease and Soothe External Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are very irritating and they can also be quite painful and produce a burning sensation. The itching and associated discomfort can be soothed by making your own natural hemorrhoid cream with petroleum jelly or aloe and witch hazel. This can be applied several times per day and if you use the aloe and witch hazel combination, you will cool the burning and alleviate the itching at the same time.
15. Shrink and Refine Your Pores
No one wants visible pores, especially on their face, but this is a common beauty problem. Its astringent properties work to shrink your pores with regular use. Over time, your pores become smaller and less visible, creating a much smoother look for your skin.
When you are using witch hazel, just make sure no to overuse the product. When used as part of your beauty or skincare routine, two to three times a day is plenty for oily skin and those with dry skin should limit use to about once per day. Proper use ensures that you reap the full benefits of witch hazel.