Witch hazel is a deciduous shrub that grows naturally throughout North America and other parts of the world. The bark, twigs, and leaves of this plant have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The various parts of the plant contain tannins.
These tannins have been found to be beneficial for a variety of reasons, but most notably, it has been used to treat conditions of the skin. It has long been a recommended product in the beauty industry for its ability to ease various afflictions of the skin. Long before it became a popular skin treatment in modern-day society, the Native Americans were using it to treat skin conditions.
Famed for its astringent qualities, witch hazel is indeed an excellent product for the skin; however, it can be used in several other ways. Here’s a look at 30 reasons why you should always have a bottle of witch hazel on-hand.
1. Natural makeup remover
Makeup transforms the look of your face, but wearing it for extended periods of time can do damage to your skin. Soap and water can be drying to the skin, and often, it doesn’t remove all traces of makeup. There are several makeup removers on the market, but they can be harsh on the skin.
If you are looking for an all-natural makeup remover, look no further than witch hazel. Its astringent qualities allow it to remove makeup with ease – even waterproof varieties that can be difficult to remove with other cleansers.
Plus, it’s gentle on the skin, so it won’t do any damage. To use witch hazel as a makeup remover, simply apply some to a cotton ball and swipe it over your face, focusing on areas where makeup is concentrated, then rinse with lukewarm water. Your skin will be fully cleansed, smooth, and hydrated.
2. All-natural acne treatment
There is nothing more embarrassing than unsightly blemishes covering your skin. If you suffer from acne, you have probably tried different treatments. And while some may have cleared up your acne, they may have left you with dried out patches of sore skin.
Instead of spending tons of money on acne treatments that may or may not work and that may or may not damage your skin, give witch hazel a try. Thanks to the astringent qualities of this plant, it has been proven to effectively cleanse the skin and clear up the buildup of oil and dirt that clog the pores that result in acne.
In fact, one of the primary uses for witch hazel for centuries has been its ability to reduce the effects of acne. Just apply it to a cotton ball and wipe it over the acne-prone areas of your skin.
3. Homemade hemorrhoid relief
The leaves and bark of witch hazel contain tannins that have the ability to reduce inflammation and slow down bleeding. These tannins also provide anti-inflammatory qualities and tighten the skin. For all of these reasons, witch hazel is a great natural remedy for treating the swelling and pain that is associated with hemorrhoids.
To use witch hazel to treat hemorrhoids, simply soak a cotton pad in the liquid (you can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil), freeze the cotton pad, and apply it to the affected area. The pain, itching, and even any bleeding that is associated with the hemorrhoids should reduce significantly within a matter of minutes.
Though there isn’t any scientific support to back up the reasons why witch hazel is an effective way to treat hemorrhoid discomfort, many people claim that it is a highly effective home remedy for them.
4. Cleanser for oily skin
If you have oily skin and haven’t found a solution that helps to prevent it from becoming oil, try using witch hazel. The astringent qualities that witch hazel offers do an excellent job of removing the buildup of oil, dirt, and even sweat from the skin.
It also balances the skin’s production of oil, preventing oil from building up throughout the day. Apply witch hazel to a cotton swab and wipe it over your face after washing it with your normal cleanser.
Make sure to concentrate on the areas that tend to produce more oil, such as the T-zone – the forehead and the top of the nose, as well as the cheeks and the chin. You can also use witch hazel to cleanse, remove, and prevent the buildup of oil on other parts of the body, such as on the chest and on the back.
5. Shrink large pores
The skin is covered by millions of pores. There are two types of pores: pores that house sebaceous glands, which produce oil, and pores that serve as ducts for the sweat glands, allowing sweat to exit the body. The oil produced by the former pores helps to lubricate the skin, while the latter allows the skin to release sweat, which helps to cool the body.
Though most of the pores on your skin are very small and are virtually invisible to the naked eye, some people have large pores on certain parts of the body, such as the face. Larger pores are noticeable and they can be unsightly.
Additionally, because of their size, dirt, oil, and other debris can easily get trapped in them, which can lead to the development of embarrassing blemishes. Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can effectively reduce the size of large pores.
6. Reduce the size of varicose veins
Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged. They protrude through the skin and have a bluish-purplish color. Any type of vein can become varicose, but the veins in the legs and feet are most commonly affected because of the pressure that standing and walking places on the veins in the lower portion of the body. Because of their appearance, varicose veins can be very unsightly and embarrassing. Varicose veins can also cause discomfort and pain.
For many people, these types of veins are just a cosmetic concern, though in some cases, they can lead to more serious issues. If you have varicose veins and they are just a cosmetic concern, try using witch hazel to shrink them. Simply apply witch hazel to a cotton ball and rub it over the affected area. The anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel may be able to shrink them.
7. Prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks
Stretch marks are a common affliction for many people. They are the result of skin that has stretched, as well as increased levels of cortisone in the body. Cortisone is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. If there is an over-abundance of this hormone, it can reduce the elasticity in the skin.
Stretch marks are often the result of pregnancy, rapid weight gain, and even puberty. Creams and lotions that contain corticosteroids can also cause stretch marks. Common areas for stretch marks to appear include the stomach, breasts, hips, arms, and buttocks. Initially, they can be red, blue, or purple in color, but over time, the color fades, leaving a translucent line.
If you believe that you are going to develop stretch marks or you already have them, witch hazel may be able to prevent them or reduce their appearance.
8. Alleviate dry scalp and dandruff
If you suffer from a dry, itchy scalp or dandruff, you are probably feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. Constantly scratching your head can be annoying and may attract the attention of people. The flakes that are associated with dry scalp and dandruff are also unsightly and extremely embarrassing. There are several reasons why dry scalp and dandruff can occur.
Some of the most common reasons include dry skin, seborrhoeic dermatitis, cleaning the hair too frequently, using harsh products on the scalp, eczema, psoriasis of the scalp, and yeast-like fungi.
It can also occur as a result of taking certain types of medicines. While there are several products on the market that are designed to treat dry scalp and dandruff, they aren’t always effective. If you’re looking an effective treatment for dandruff or dry scalp, try witch hazel. Massage it into your scalp before washing.
9. Treatment for dark, puffy eyes
The skin around the eyes is very sensitive, which means that it is easily prone to puffiness. Puffy eyes can occur for several reasons. It’s commonly caused by swelling, which occurs as a result of an excessive amount of fluids in the body, which collect in the tissues of the skin.
Since the skin that surrounds the eyes is thin, it’s not uncommon for it to become swollen and discolored. Other reasons for puffy eyes include eating too much salt, sinus issues, lack of sleep, stress, crying, dehydration, and aging. Whatever the cause, if you have puffy eyes, you’re probably looking for a way to improve their appearance.
Witch hazel can effectively reduce the swelling that causes puffy eyes, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties that it contains. Apply some to a cotton ball and dab it around the eyes a few times a day.
10. A natural deodorant and antiperspirant
Sweating is part of life. It’s actually good for you. It’s the body’s natural way of cooling itself down. Perspiration helps to regulate the temperature of the body. It also helps to excrete toxins from the body. That’s why you tend to sweat more when you exert physical energy, such as after working out.
Obviously, you can also sweat when the temperature of your environment becomes hot. Taking certain medications can also lead to sweating. And for some people, sweat glands can be over-active, which can cause sweating even when they are exerting limited physical energy. Sweating can lead to odor, and both can be embarrassing.
Though there are countless products that aim to reduce sweating and odor, many contain harsh chemicals. If you are looking for a natural, safe, affordable and effective way to prevent sweating and body odor, consider trying witch hazel.