Witch hazel is a natural remedy derived from the bark and leaves of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana, a common North American shrub. Native Americans have long since recognized the amazing medicinal properties of witch hazel.
They used a concoction of the
As wonderful as witch hazel is as a toner, there are so many great uses than to simply clarify skin and shrink pores. In this article, I’m going to give you 13 incredible benefits and uses of witch hazel to give your skin a new glow! It can be found in most drugstores and grocery stores, as well as online. Or, read to the end and I’ll give you the recipe to make your own witch hazel remedy at home!
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1. Fade Bruises & Blemishes
Witch hazel can be used for more than blemish prevention, it can also treat blemishes already present on the face or body. Simply apply it to reduce the irritation of acne or other inflammatory skin conditions using a cotton ball or cosmetic pad. Witch hazel is also great at fading the discoloration of bruises while also speeding up the healing process. Bye bye damaged skin!
2. Natural Astringent
Arguably the most famous of witch hazel’s many uses is the ability to remove excess oils from
Since astringents remove excess oil from the skin, regular use of witch hazel may prevent blemishes in the long run. Especially black heads, which show up in result to dried sebum build-up inside pores.
3. Brighten Around Eyes
One of the many abilities of witch hazel is how it tightens skin while reducing inflammation. This power combo is perfect for treating discoloration and puffiness around and under the eyes. Not surprising, this is one of witch hazel’s more popular uses. Just be sure not to get any on your eyes as it will result in significant pain and lingering discomfort from dryness.
4. Shrink Swollen Veins
Varicose veins are swollen veins that are painful to the touch. If you’re dealing with this, soak a soft cloth in witch hazel and lay it over the affected skin area. This is not a permanent treatment, mind you, but it will temporarily reduce the swelling significantly. Be sure to prop up the treated areas as high as you can to decrease blood pressure in the swollen veins and maximize the treatment’s effectiveness.
5. Post Hair-Removal
Witch hazel is great to apply after shaving any part of the body, and this goes for both women and men. Witch hazel’s ability to stop bleeding from cuts or nicks, PLUS the anti-inflammatory properties can work wonders to prevent razor burn. This also works for those who go for the hot wax treatments for hair-removal. You can apply witch hazel as a post-wax anti-inflammatory topical cream.
6. Stop Bleeding
Continuing on with witch hazel’s amazing ability to stop bleeding, it naturally tightens skin and promotes faster healing. Simply apply organic witch hazel to any minor cuts and scrapes to cease bleeding in that area. However, store-bought witch hazel often contains isopropyl alcohol which is a disinfectant, so it’s a popular choice for cleansing wounds before applying a bandage.
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7. Sore Throat Relief
Because of its astringent properties, an herbal tea of witch hazel can help to ease the annoying discomfort of a sore throat. Just make sure it’s not the store-bought kind since it almost always contains isopropyl alcohol. You need to gargle the witch hazel tea to reduce swelling, dry up excess mucus, and ease the pain caused by laryngitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, or any other throat maladies.
8. Hemorrhoid Relief
Witch hazel is great for relieving the itching, swelling, bleeding, and pain that comes with hemorrhoids. It’s actually a common ingredient that’s used in many commercial hemorrhoid creams you see on TV and in stores. Mix your batch of witch hazel with a carrier like Aloe Vera gel and apply it to the affected area for quick relief.
9. Dry Up Swimmer’s Ear
Otitus externa, or as it’s more commonly known ‘Swimmer’s Ear’ is caused by a microbial infection in the ear canal. Using an eye dropper, insert several drops of witch hazel into each ear to dry up the pus, clear away any excess oil, and break up the wax and debris that could be clogging up your ear canal. Allow ears to drain before cleaning them gently with a cotton swab or cosmetic pad. You can follow this up with a natural anti-microbial like basil oil, apple cider vinegar, or tea tree oil.
10. Treat Damaged Gums
Using witch hazel as a mouth rinse (once again, don’t use any that contains isopropyl alcohol) helps reduce pain and swelling of irritated or infected gums. This amazing plant can also be used to stop minor bleeding of the gums. It can also be used to soothe pain caused by an emerging wisdom tooth or post-oral surgery to subdue discomfort and inflammation.
11. Cool Down Sunburn
If you mix some witch hazel in with your Aloe Vera gel, you’ve got the perfect treatment the next time you need to treat a sunburn. The incredible anti-inflammatory power of this versatile plant extract will help heal your skin while the Aloe Vera helps to cool the burn. Using this treatment can also help prevent skin from peeling in the days following a particularly bad sunburn.
12. Neutralize Contact Dermatitis
The beautiful thing about witch hazel is its near-universal list of uses that can be applied to treat virtually any skin irritation! For example, because of its drying and anti-itch power, it can be used to counter the skin-irritating effects of plant compounds such as urushiol, which is the sap oil in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. This plant compound causes contact dermatitis in about 85% of adults who come in contact with it.
13. Heal Bug Bites & Stings
Just as witch hazel can be used to ease the pain and itching that comes from poison ivy and other pesky plant compounds, the same properties work wonders for bug bites and stings. It even works the same way: mix witch hazel with a carrier gel like Aloe Vera, or use a soft cloth or cosmetic pad to rub over the bite. Yet ANOTHER reason to carry a bottle of this awesome natural remedy with you the next time you spend your time outdoors!
How To Make Your Own Witch Hazel
For a world-renowned beauty product, witch hazel is surprisingly easy to make.
What You’ll Need
- 1/2 pound of witch hazel bark
- Distilled water
- Pure grain alcohol
- Stock Pot
How to Make it
- Add the witch hazel to a pot.
- Pour distilled water into the pot until witch hazel is fully covered.
- Put the lid on the pot.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Turn the heat down and simmer for twenty minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and leave it covered until completely cooled.
- Add half of the pure grain alcohol to the witch hazel tea.
- Store mixture in a cool place for up to 2 years