The article includes Dr. Patel's expert commentary on Witch Hazel anf the many benifits from using it for skin care.
Witch hazel is one of the O.G. skin care products — my grandma and my mom both swear by it, and I’ve been using it for years. But it tends to get overshadowed by expensive creams, cleansers, and serums.
Recently, though, the clear toner has been making a comeback — it’s been popping up as a trendy ingredient in skin care products. So what is witch hazel — and does it still have a place in a modern skin care regimen? Here are the benefits and drawbacks.
What is Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel sounds like a cocktail you’d drink at a Halloween party — but it’s actually a plant extract that’s been used for hundreds of years for its health benefits, says Purvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. Extracted from the leaves and bark of the Hamamelis virginiana shrub, witch hazel is best known for its skin care benefits. “Witch hazel leaf extract is used in skin care products because it is a source of several types of antioxidants, including gallic acid and tannins,” Patel adds. Witch hazel can also be added to herbal tea — but only in extremely small doses, because it can be toxic (or even lethal) when too much is ingested.
What Are the Benefits of Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel is the most beneficial when it’s used topically, Patel says. Here’s why it may be a worthy addition to your skin care routine.
1. Soothe skin
With hazel contains gallic acid and tannins — two types of polyphenols with powerful antioxidant properties. Multiple studies have shown that witch hazel can help relieve inflammation caused by skin conditions such as acne. Research also suggests with hazel can help soothe the skin after UV exposure, and it’s FDA-approved for use in reducing skin irritation due to bug bites or minor cuts.