Witch Hazel: Benefits, Uses, and Potential Side Effects of this Wonder Plant



Witch hazel is extracted from the bark and leaves of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana. This flowering plant is most prevalent in the North Atlantic Coast of America and it has been used for years as a natural skin care regimen. It stands out as a truly unique plant thanks to a barrage of features that include stunning yellow flowers that often bloom in the autumn. After being extracted, witch hazel is distilled to form a clear and fragrant liquid.

As experts say, the barks and twigs of witch hazel are packed with therapeutic properties that soothe the skin to leave you feeling great. The indigenous Americans are recorded as having used witch hazel to cure irritations and minor wounds. Witch hazel is incorporated in skincare products like Hamamelis creme gesicht, Hamamelis gesichtcreme, and Hamamelis lotion, where it helps to minimize pores, and relieve irritation, and tighten skin, among other uses. In this article, we break down witch hazel for you and tell you everything you need to know about it like benefits, uses, and potential side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

What are the advantages of witch hazel for skin?

For centuries, witch hazel has been used for its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. Using a Hamamelis lotion, for example, can cleanse, soother, and heal your skin. Also, it leaves you with gentler skin. Below are the other benefits of skincare products that incorporate witch hazel as their ingredients.

1. It can shrink the appearance of pores.

Witch hazel leaves and barks are packed with a compound called tannin. These bind together and precipitate proteins, which is what gives it its astringent properties. When you apply a witch hazel-containing product on your skin topically, for example, Hamamelis gesichtcreme, tannins in the compound constrict or shrink skin tissues. This makes it tighter, something that leads to your pores appear smaller.

2. It de-puffs skin.

If you have puffy skin, you might be a big beneficiary of a witch hazel product. That is because the tannins found in the plant often make the skin beneath the eye appear less puffy. Its de-puffing properties stand out as one of its most important benefits. These are great, especially for allergic people.

3. Relieves Skin Irritation.

This is also down to tannins that are contained in the barks, leaves, and twigs of witch hazel. The FDA has approved witch hazel to be used as an over-the-counter product for relieving minor skin irritations brought about by things like minor insect bites, scrapes, and cuts.

4. Gets Rid of excess oil.

To process witch hazel products like hamamelis creme gesicht, manufacturers extract and distill it from the bark and twigs of the shrub. Central to the process is the use of alcohol. The advantage of alcohol is that it reduces oil and shine, leaving your skin soft and supple.

5. Soothes Inflammation.

The tannins in witch hazel also double up as incredibly powerful antioxidants. The antioxidants fight off free radicals deposited on the skin. These usually come from environmental stressors such as pollution. Due to its anti-inflammatory benefits, it can also reduce redness on the skin.

6. Relieves sunburn.

Wearing SPF should always be top of your list of skincare regimens. However, sometimes things happen and you miss wearing one. In that case, witch hazel comes in handy in easing sunburn. It, therefore, feels wonderful when you apply it.

7. Prevents razor bumps.

The anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel could be a great thing for your bikini line. It prevents the formation of bumps around hair follicles. Also, they may help to heal any bumps that exist already. Apply it after shaving by swiping cotton soaked in witch hazel. Ideally, you want it applied over freshly-shaved skin to calm the skin and keep it free of bumps.

8. Calms poison ivy.

The same reasons that make witch hazel effective for treating bug-bite are the reasons for making it useful for easing poison ivy. When applied with hydrocortisone cream and cool compresses, witch hazel can work wonders in reducing itching and swelling. However, if you don’t see any improvement in your poison ivy after one week, it would be great to see your doctor.

9. Kills bacteria.

Witch hazel forms a protective barrier on the skin against inflammation-causing substances that get through the body via skin cells. It is an important component in the fight against bacteria and also has anti-inflammatory properties that stave off inflammation. Therefore, if you want a painless way to soothe that pimple that just popped up, ease an open wound, or deal with some swelling, the natural way of doing so is applying witch hazel.

What are the potential side effects of Witch Hazel?

Witch hazel, for the most part, tends to be generally well tolerated. Also, it doesn’t aggravate the skin. But experts warn that there is always a tiny probability that the skin reacts with the ingredient. 

You also need to note that, despite containing anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel can lead to dryness. That means it is less than ideal for people that have dry skin. Also, some Hamamelis creme gesicht may contain other ingredients that may be irritating to the skin. That is why it is always recommended to do a test on a small patch of your skin, for example, your wrist, and see how it reacts with the skin before applying it to your face. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you may experience unpleasant reactions when you apply witch hazel. This is why testing it on a small part of the skin is very important.


Witch hazel has traditionally been used for soothing the skin and treating a variety of skin conditions. Applying a product with witch hazel, for example, Hamamelis lotion can leave you with great skin. However, although it is safe to a high degree, you cannot rule out the chances of some side effects. One of these is reacting with the skin. Also, research shows that it may not be good for dry skin. Other than that, it is generally excellently tolerated.

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