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Witch Hazel: What is it?

Topics: Acne, Skin Care


Witch hazel is a Native American plant found in numerous skin care products. The tannins that are extracted from the leaves and stems help constrict blood vessels and skin tissue making it beneficial for a variety of skin issues. It is a natural remedy for many skin ailments like rashes, minor cuts and even bruises.

It is also the basis of most facial toners because of its natural astringent properties. It gently removes excess oil without over-stripping or drying the skin. It's been recommended for acne prone skin for decades because it reduces oiliness, and also for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It calms the redness and swelling of a blemish and tightens enlarged pores.

Since it works well for blackheads, I recommend using a toner with witch hazel as a first or second ingredient. Even rosacea prone and normal to dry skin can benefit from its use it in the T-zone without being over drying. Witch hazel’s gentle yet effective benefits allow it to be used daily on most skin types. For deep blackheads, especially on the nose, use a retinol or a prescription retinoid at night along with the toner to help re-layer the pore walls from the inside out.

The Obagi Nuderm toner is one of my favorites because it can be used with sensitive redness prone skin or a very oily and acneic skin type. This toner contains witch hazel along with aloe, sodium PCA, calendula, and saponins to ensure the skin is cleansed, toned and hydrated.

Although witch hazel is an old herbal remedy, it is and will continue to be a staple in skin care products because it benefits a variety of skin issues and skin types.