health

Stretch Marks, Under-Eye Bags, And 10 Other Health Issues You Can Solve With Witch Hazel

by Shellie Renee'

Witch hazel is something that most of us walk right past in the grocery store or drugstore. It’s clear, it’s cheap, and unless we already know about all of the wonderful benefits of it, most of us don’t think twice about not purchasing it.

But we should.

What exactly is witch hazel, though? The witch hazel plant grows all across North America and also in areas of Japan and China. Its main use is for medicinal and healing purposes. The leaves, twigs, and bark of the plant are processed into a clear liquid and sold commercially — what you see (or if you’re like the aforementioned group that walks right past it, don’t see) when you’re at the store.

If you don’t have a bottle of witch hazel conveniently stashed at your house, here are 12 completely valid reasons you should invest in some.

1. Prevents Acne

a woman with zits
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What exactly is acne? Acne is a skin condition in which sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells accumulate and clog the skin’s pores, resulting in those pesky zits that seem to pop up right before a big event.

Although there are about a billion different products that we could put on our pimples, witch hazel is one of the best. It contains a high amount of tannins, which help remove excess oil, soothe inflammation, and heal blemishes.

 

2. Protects Skin After Waxing

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Waxing is one of the most popular ways to remove body hair. It also lasts longer than shaving, but let’s not act like it’s totally not painful.

If you’re looking for something to bring your newly waxed skin relief, witch hazel will do it.

Using lotions or creams after waxing isn’t a good idea because it can clog up your pores and lead to other issues. However, witch hazel is a clear liquid that can help to heal your skin without the risks of further irritating it.

3. Removes Dandruff

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If you see some white flakes on your scalp, don’t freak out, because witch hazel can help you with that.

Thanks to its astringent properties and antioxidants, witch hazel not only helps to get your flaky scalp under control, but it also moisturizes your scalp without infecting it. It also can relieve a lot of the itching that comes from dandruff, too.

4. Improves Your Mood

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Some people say that adding witch hazel to some of their favorite essential oils and then applying the solution to bedding, furniture, and clothes can be an awesome mood-booster.

This is probably due to the combination of antioxidants and the type of essential oils that you choose. Some essential oils that are associated with energizing qualities include orange, peppermint, and rosemary.

5. It’s a Natural Antiperspirant

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Witch hazel gently cleanses your skin by removing the bacteria that causes body odor. Plus, it evaporates quickly, so you don’t have to worry about it leaving wet marks underneath your arms. It’s a perfect ingredient for an antiperspirant in spray form, too. 

6. Removes Hair Dye From Skin

a woman with dye on her skin
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If you like to dye your own hair at home, you’re bound to get at least a little bit of it on your skin. This is where witch hazel comes in. It acts as a toner and contains properties that help to remove the color without drying out your skin in the process (like rubbing alcohol is prone to do).

7. Lightens Stretch Marks

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Stretch marks are a natural part of life. They develop when your skin stretches (or shrinks) at a rate faster than the elastin and collagen in your body can handle. As a result, scars are left behind.

Something else that skin toners have the ability to do is literally tone the skin. In the case of stretch marks, witch hazel can help heal the skin around your stretch marks so that it becomes tighter, minimizing the appearance of the stretch marks.

8. Soothes Sun Damage

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Aloe vera is a popular way to soothe sun-damaged skin, but some studies suggest that it’s not as effective as we might think. What will work is witch hazel.

Not only is it proven to help soothe the skin, but a 2010 study found that its properties might help protect skin from damage caused by ultraviolet rays.

9. Heals Diaper Rash

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When your baby’s skin is exposed to urine and stool for long or consistent periods of time, it can lead to diaper rash. The anti-inflammatory properties in witch hazel can alleviate the burning and itching caused by the rash while accelerating the healing process.

Because witch hazel is pretty potent, make sure to dilute it with some distilled water before applying it. Or you can use it as an ingredient in a homemade diaper rash ointment.

10. Reduces Under-Eye Bags

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Lack of sleep, dehydration, and even aging can lead to bags underneath your eyes. The anti-inflammatory effect that witch hazel has on your skin makes it the perfect eye pick-me-up.

All you have to do is dab a little underneath each eye! For a refreshing twist, pour some witch hazel on a couple of cotton balls, put them in the freezer for a couple of minutes, and then apply.

11. Fights Bad Breath

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Certain foods, plaque and tartar buildup, sinus issues, digestion problems, constipation, and even asthma can all cause bad breath. Other than brushing and flossing regularly, something that can make your breath smell fresher is witch hazel, since the properties in it are able to kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.

Mix together 1 tablespoon witch hazel, 1 teaspoon glycerin, and 5 drops peppermint essential oil with about 3 ounces of water for a quick and easy DIY mouthwash.

 

12. Prevents Ingrown Hairs

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Sometimes, shaving or even tweezing the hairs on your body can cause the hair follicle to curl back into your skin, leading to an ingrown hair. Not only are these unsightly, but they can be painful, too.

Because of the anti-inflammatory and astringent ingredients already mentioned, witch hazel can reduce the inflammation of the bumps and promote faster healing.

Which Kind of Witch Hazel Should You Use?

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Like most things in life, not all witch hazel is created the same. If you want the most natural — and potent — form of witch hazel, consider products such as Thayer’s Witch Hazel or Earthwise Natural Witch Hazel Distillate.

How to Use Witch Hazel

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As far as how to apply witch hazel, it depends on what you’re using it for. If it’s topically, a sterile cotton ball is basically all you need. And while you can gargle with it, it is heavily advised to not ingest witch hazel. Drinking the substance could lead to nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant side effects. So make it a practice to gargle and spit.

As you can see, you can’t go wrong by having a couple bottles of witch hazel on hand. It’s a wonderful multiuse home remedy!