Witch hazel is a deciduous plant that exhibits shrubbery or a small tree habit. The unique feature of this plant is the development of new leaves, blooms, and fruits at the same time in autumn. Its flowers are bright yellow to orange-red in color and borne in clusters. Flowering starts in autumn and continues throughout winter, when other garden plants are in their dormant state. Due to its attractive blooms and long flowering duration, this plant is mostly preferred by hobbyists for growing as an ornamental plant. Its seeds are edible and rich in oil. This plant possesses healing properties. It has long been used for treating skin disorders ranging from mild bruises, insect bites to severe hemorrhoids. The astringent that is derived from its bark and leaves promotes quick healing, and facilitates the tightening, drying, and hardening of damaged skin tissues.
Medicinal Uses of the Astringent
The astringent is made from the foliage and bark of Hamamelis virginiana (North American witch hazel). The astringent action of this plant is attributed to the presence of tannins, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, catechins, and other essential oils.
Skin Care: Rubbing the astringent on the face helps reduce excessive secretion of sebum by the sebaceous glands. You can apply it after shaving, waxing, and any kind of skin care regimen.
Tightening Pores: People who have large pores, overactive sweat glands, and oily skin are likely to benefit from regular application of this astringent. With routine usage, the pores tighten considerably, thereby resulting in smooth textured skin.
Treating Acne: The astringent and anti-inflammatory action of this extract is helps prevent the development of acne. It might also help treat the existing pimples. This is the reason why, it is frequently used in acne skin care products.
Reducing Skin Allergy: It can also be used for treating psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, diaper rash, and poison ivy rash. To use this product, all you need to do is dip a clean cloth in the extract and place it over the affected skin. Repeat this twice daily for getting impressive results.
Combating Skin Conditions: Witch hazel astringent can also prove beneficial in case of sunburns, windburns, hemorrhoid, and chickenpox blisters. A cotton ball dipped in the astringent can be placed over closed eyes to get rid of redness, swelling, and bags under eyes.
This product is sold as a distillate form in groceries, pharmacies, and department stores. The only concern with its usage is selecting the right brand that contains no added impurities. For internal and external use, make sure that you opt for an alcohol-free astringent that contains the pure witch hazel extract. Though it doesn't usually cause any side effects, if one experiences untoward effects after its application, it would be best to discontinue its use and consult a dermatologist.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a dermatologist.