Witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) is a natural product obtained from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel shrub. It offers a number of health benefits, particularly in the treatment of different skin conditions, because it is less likely to cause skin irritation or sensitivity. Its benefits primarily result from the high levels of tannin acid that it contains. In its distilled form, witch hazel has long been recommended as an affordable, accessible and effective topical remedy for acne. Read on to learn some of the ways in which witch hazel is beneficial in the treatment of acne.
Witch hazel has disinfectant properties. Use on the skin can reduce the bacteria there, helping to prevent inflammation and the formation of acne.
The tannin content in witch hazel has strong astringent as well as antioxidant properties. These astringent properties are cleansing to the skin, while minimizing the size of skin pores. Unlike many harsh commercial acne formulations, it is gentle and non-drying when used to tone and cleanse acne-infected or acne-prone skin.
Witch hazel reduces irritation on skin and surface tissue by means of a numbing effect that it has when applied. Furthermore, it helps to prevent any further infection from occurring.
Reduces Swelling and Inflammation
The tannins in witch hazel tighten pores and swollen veins, as well as reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties are further increased by the flavonoids and procyanadins, as well as resin, in the witch hazel plant.
Many acne treatments can irritate the skin, causing soreness, inflammation and dryness. Witch hazel, being a natural product, is well suited for skin care, because it does not disrupt the pH of the skin, which tends to cause irritation.
Plain witch hazel may be applied to the skin straight from the bottle using cotton balls. It should be applied to the acne-infected skin twice a day. It should never be applied more than three times a day. Witch hazel must never be taken orally.
Witch Hazel Facial Mask
Alternatively, witch hazel can be combined with other healing ingredients to make a soothing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial face mask. Simply mix a teaspoon of witch hazel and another of tea tree oil with 2 tsp. of honey and a mashed banana or avocado, plus an egg white. Apply to the affected area and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing with cool water and patting dry.