Should You Be Using Witch Hazel? Experts Break Down the Benefits

Should You Be Using Witch Hazel? Experts Break Down the Benefits

PSA: Witch hazel is not synonymous together with your outdated Sea Breeze Astringent. 

The harsh, alcohol-filled toner choices of the previous have, nearly solely, been changed with kind-to-skin choices which are spiked with nourishing elements as an alternative of stripping ones. To dispel the many myths surrounding witch hazel—and to seek out out who must be utilizing it—we tapped pores and skin specialists for a fast Ingredient 101. 

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What is witch hazel?
Perhaps the model most conversant in witch hazel is Thayers, the beloved skin-care model based in 1847 that counts witch hazel as a primary ingredient in each considered one of their merchandise. (More than 10 million bottles of the 12-ounce toners have been offered since!) Andrea Gity, advertising and marketing supervisor for Thayers, says witch hazel is a deciduous shrub that grows in the Eastern a part of the United States; the extract is then taken from the shrub’s leaves, bark and twigs. When not used for medication, the extract is commonly mixed with alcohol and water to create toners and comparable merchandise, however alcohol-free, water-based options have additionally turn out to be accessible. (More on this later.)

What can witch hazel deal with?
While making use of an astringent ingredient to purple, itchy pores and skin could seem to be a nasty thought, Florham Park, NJ dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling says witch hazel can truly assist with plenty of pores and skin illnesses. Among the lengthy listing of advantages? Relieving irritation and redness, calming eczema, zits and psoriasis, aiding in shrinking pores, and even decreasing puffiness and brightening pores and skin.

Can witch hazel deal with acne-prone pores and skin?
The tannins (a sort of astringent-meets-antioxidant molecule) present in witch hazel have lengthy been thought to assist infected pores and skin—Dr. Sperling contends the ingredient successfully fights micro organism, relieves irritation and repairs damaged pores and skin, all musts for acne-prone pores and skin. However, much like many different acne-fighting elements, witch hazel may be drying to the pores and skin if used an excessive amount of, so be cautious.

Can witch hazel trigger detrimental results on the pores and skin?
Short reply: It is determined by the product. Long reply: “Witch hazel is usually combined with anywhere from 10-20 percent SD alcohol [a mixture containing ethanol],” explains superstar aesthetician Joshua Ross, who’s skeptical of the ingredient in relation to skincare. “Alcohol in any form can be an irritant to the skin.” And Dr. Sperling agrees: “If your skin is dry, the alcohol content can cause irritation.” The similar goes with pure witch hazel: “If someone were to purchase a jug of undiluted, pure witch hazel extract and apply it to their skin, it may be a bit irritating,” says Gity.

However, it’s necessary to notice that in recent times, these harsh, alcohol- and ethanol-spiked toners have been met with their final matches. Brands comparable to Thayers, whose toners are “alcohol-free and also contain aloe vera, which make them very gentle, healing, and hydrating,” in keeping with Gity, are protected for even delicate pores and skin. Our go-to for simply stressed-out pores and skin: Thayers Rose Petal Toner ($11) that’s equal components refreshing and soothing. 

More favorites: Sunday Riley Martian ($55), a water-gel toner that’s mixed with bentonite clay, witch hazel extracts and marshmallow to de-slick oily pores and skin (accommodates alcohol); Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner ($4), a 100-percent pure, pore-perfecting elixir that prices lower than a inexperienced juice; and First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads ($30), a fast swipe-and-go resolution to finish blemishes and an oily T-zone.