Is Witch Hazel Good For Your Skin? Dermatologists Weigh In
You may have seen witch hazel in a number of skin care products. Spotted amongst toners, ointments, face mists, and more, witch hazel is popping up in a handful of beauty products across the board. We get that it’s a popular ingredient, but is it actually good for your skin? To find out the what benefits, if any, (and risk factors) associated with using witch hazel on the skin, we tapped board-certified dermatologists and Skincare.com consultants Joshua Zeichner, MD, and Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, founder of Dermatology & Laser Group. Can this widely-popular ingredient do more harm than good to your skin? Read on to find out!
WHAT IS WITCH HAZEL?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)the history of witch hazel can be traced back many years. It’s an astringent derived from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub, and is often used to neutralize the itch on bee stings and bug bites, as well as soothe irritation associated with skin abrasions. Thanks to its astringent properties, you can find witch hazel formulated into a wide range of skin care products, including toners, cleansers, and essences.
THE BENEFITS OF WITCH HAZEL
It’s also a source of tannin, which contributes to its astringent properties and makes it a hot commodity in over-the-counter beauty products like cleansers and toners. But it doesn’t stop there. Witch hazel also makes cameos in other cosmetic products such as shaving creams, shampoo, face wash, and more.
SHOULD I USE WITCH HAZEL ON MY FACE?
According to Dr. Akhavan, witch hazel is a great addition to your skin care arsenal. “Witch hazel is commonly used in toner preparations,” he says. “I like witch hazel-based toners for acne-prone skin.”
Although witch hazel is widely recognized as a well-rounded ingredient, be cautious when it comes to using a pure concentration of it on your face. “Witch hazel is an astringent that can strip oil from the skin,” Dr. Zeichner warns. “If your skin is very oily, you may be able to tolerate it. But if you have dry or sensitive skin, I would skip it as it may lead to irritation.”
Pure witch hazel may not be right for your sensitive skin, but that may not mean you have to steer clear of all products formulated with the ingredient. In some skin care formulations, the concentration of witch hazel could be less irritating. When in doubt, consult your dermatologist to find out if the product in question—or witch hazel overall—is right for your skin.
ACNEFREE WITCH HAZEL MATTIFYING TONER
Dr. Akhavan recommends a witch hazel toner, and if you’re looking to give one a try reach for AcneFree’s new Witch Hazel Mattifying Toner. The formula uses witch hazel, well known as a natural astringent, along with glycolic acid and aloe vera to help remove excess oil, dirt, and debris and reduces shine. In addition to removing excess oil, the formula balances the skin’s pH and refreshes the skin.
Editor’s note: AcneFree Witch Hazel Mattifying Toner features an AHA that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, particularly the possibility of sunburn. When using this product, use broad-spectrum sunscreen and take additional sun protection measures such as limiting sun exposure, seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing.