Witch Hazel Benefits Explained: Is Witch Hazel Safe?

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In today’s day in age, there are hundreds of different natural beauty products. All claiming to do similar things. Let me just say that none of them have anything on the magic that is witch hazel. What do you think people used thousands of years ago before there were acne washes, scrubs, toners, and all the other products that are packed with chemicals? If you said they used plants, then you guessed correctly.

Even though you’ve seen witch hazel mostly in liquid form, it actually comes from a plant. A small tree to be exact. It contains natural astringent and anti inflammatory properties so it’s great for your skin as well as many other things. 

I know that when I stumbled across witch hazel, I felt like it was the best invention since sliced bread. It really can do it all. It’s mostly used for skin and scalp but there are plenty of other benefits as well. If you’re looking for a natural way to make your skin clearer and healthier, then you’ve come to the right place. Witch hazel will never let you down, continue reading to find out why. 

What Is Witch Hazel? 

You may know witch hazel as a clear liquid, but witch hazel actually originates from the witch hazel plant. There are four different types of species in North America, where they are also called winter bloom. The plant looks like a small tree. They grow to be between ten to twenty-five feet tall.

It doesn’t sound so small if you ask me. The different species bloom at different point of the year. One species blooms in September to November while another blooms from January to March. The flower and the fruit are together and the fruit has two capsules. Each capsule contains a shiny black seed. 

Even though many think that witch hazel has to do with sorcery and magic, it actually doesn’t. The word comes from wiche, which means bendable. Native Americans were the original user of witch hazel for its medicinal properties.

A clear liquid is extracted from the leaves and the bark to be used for medicinal purposes as well as skincare products. It’s basically an astringent that helps clean your pores while breaking down dead skin cells. It has become very popular and is regulated as an over-the-counter drug for external use only. 

What Is Witch Hazel Used For?

Woman smiling in the mirror.

Woman admiring clear skin in mirror.

Witch hazel is most popularly used as a toner to restore pH balance. Many dermatologists recommend using a witch hazel product that comes in oil, so it doesn’t dry out your skin too much. It should also be alcohol-free. Over-cleansing puts your skin at risk for over-drying and breakouts. It can also be used for other skin issues and for your hair. 

Less commonly known is that witch hazel can help treat hemorrhoids. If you don’t know what hemorrhoids are, then I don’t know if you want me to be the person to tell you. But I will anyway. Hemorrhoids are caused by the swelling of the veins in your rectum. The swelling is usually caused by straining the muscles down there. This usually happens when someone has constant constipation or has given birth.

It’s very common for hospitals to give witch hazel pads to new moms to soothe the area, especially if they needed to get stitches. There’s no actual scientific research to back this claim up, but it can help the itching, swelling, and general pain that accompanies hemorrhoids. It even has hemostatic properties, which means it can prevent bleeding that was caused by hemorrhoids. 

Witch Hazel For Hair Explained

Girl with back to camera and pink bow in hair.

Girl with soft hair.

If you have an overabundance of oil buildup on your scalp, then witch hazel may just be your new best friend. Using it on your scalp can actually leave your hair looking shinier and healthier with more volume. It’s especially great for removing any unwanted odors.

Think about the last time you went to a bonfire or you were with a friend that was smoking. Your hair probably stunk after. With Witch Hazel, it doesn’t have to. It’s even great for the base of your neck to treat bug bites or acne since that’s where sweat tends to build up. 

If you suffer from an itchy scalp, witch hazel may very well be able to help you. Many shampoos actually contain witch hazel because of all of its hair and scalp benefits. You can easily add a few drops to your natural shampoo if it doesn’t already contain it.

Using it may also make your scalp less sensitive to products you used to not be able to use. It can also help prevent ingrown hairs. After you shave, you can apply some witch hazel to soothe razor burn and prevent the formation of those stubborn ingrown hairs. It can also soothe your skin after waxing. 

Witch Hazel For Skin Explained

African American woman with clear skin.

Woman with clear skin.

Witch hazel is most commonly used for skin because it contains chemicals called tannins. When this chemical is applied to the skin, it can help to reduce swelling and improve broken skin while fighting bacteria. The active healing ingredients help reduce inflammation and cellular damage all while soothing wounds.

Many have made witch hazel part of their makeup routine since it balances pH levels. Even though it can treat hemorrhoids, minor bleeding, and skin irritation, it’s not necessarily effective for eczema. It seems like it should work for eczema, since it has similar characteristics. That being said, hydrocortisone cream has been proven to be more effective when it comes to eczema. 

Using witch hazel compared to other products takes a much more natural route for your skin. When you use it, you know exactly what’s going onto your skin. Even though the word isn’t meant to have anything to do with witches, this stuff is sort of like magic.

Our skin is not only our largest organ, but it’s also the most vulnerable. Every life stressor ends up appearing on our skin, like aging, infections, puffiness, and inflammation. Therefore, it’s important to use natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents to help fight the daily damage that our skin deals with. 

How To Use Witch Hazel For Acne

Everyone suffers from some form of acne at some point in their life. If you say you’ve never had to deal with a stubborn zit, then I’d say you’re a liar. If you have acne-prone skin, then witch hazel can slow down inflammation while treating the redness, oiliness, and even bleeding.

You can also use it as a natural cleanser since it can reduce bacteria growth and helps speed up the healing time of infections. This includes scabs. Think about how often you have scabs that you so badly want to peel off, but you have to keep reminding yourself that peeling it off will cause more damage and prevent it from fully healing. 

No product can shrink pores per se, but it can reduce their appearance. It prevents excess oil production in addition to the development of blackheads or whiteheads. These definitely contribute to larger breakouts since they tempt you to pick at your skin, which only adds more bacteria to the current situation.

To use this magic little gift on your skin all you need to do is take a clean cotton ball or pad to dab your skin with it. You can use it as much as you want throughout the day anywhere you’re experiencing irritation on your face. Start out slow though because your skin might need some time to adjust to this new ingredient. 

Witch Hazel For Sunburn Explained

Back view of girl on beach with feet in sand.

Protect yourself from harmful rays.

For a natural way to slow down the signs of aging and tighten your skin, you’ve come to the right place. The redness and discoloration that was caused by sun exposure doesn’t have to be a worry for you anymore. Witch hazel can help reduce the appearance and discomfort of your typical sunburn.

It’s protective against skin cancer and melanoma thanks to the presence of antioxidants and polyphenols. It’s able to do this because it neutralizes harmful free radicals, which is the main cause for the spread of skin cancer. These two substances help inhibit the production of melanoma cells while protecting your healthy skin cells. 

Witch hazel can protect your complexion by renewing collagen and your skin’s elasticity. If you want the perfect blend, you can easily mix vitamin E oil with witch hazel and other natural ingredients to make your own anti-aging serum. This is great when it’s applied to discolored skin, scars, old acne marks, and bites. Over time, it will help fade their appearance and hopefully reverse the damage. It can also be combined with aloe vera to better treat a sunburn


Witch hazel is available at many different types of locations, like pharmacies, health food stores, grocery stores, and even online. Nevertheless, you do need to be a bit picky when buying. You should look for alcohol-free formulas. These will be more gentle on your skin. You can buy it in liquid form, as an ointment, or medicated pads depending on what you want to use it for.

Even though witch hazel has a ton of benefits and can relieve minor skin problems, it should not be used for chronic conditions. Yes, it can help with insect bites and mild sunburns, but when it comes to major skin conditions, it’s recommended that you speak with a doctor. Delaying treatment of a serious condition or trying to treat it yourself can have some real health consequences. 

It’s usually very safe to use unless you overuse it or ingest it. Whatever you do, don’t drink witch hazel. I’m sure there is someone on the internet that says it’s perfectly fine to drink this stuff, but it can make you very sick. It can cause nausea, constipation, vomiting, liver damage, and other terrible side effects. On a more positive note, it has a ton of benefits and it’s well worth using if you don’t already.