I started using witch hazel as a skin cleanser and tonic in my last year of college. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror one day and thinking, "Whoa, those pores look huge." Nearly dismantled by what I perceived as this new and foreign unsightliness, I turned to my roommate, Katy, who faced my panic with complete serenity. How could she be so calm? Because she knew something that I didn’t. This is when she enlightened me on the powers of Witch Hazel. Specifically its use as a cleansing agent, but more importantly one that is a natural astringent that tightens skin without accompanying dryness.
She let me try hers and ever since, it's been part of my regular cleansing routine. Not only has it made my skin feel fresher all these years by gently removing dirt and oil, but it really has been helpful in tightening pores. I recently came across an article, witch (pun intended), listed additional uses of witch hazel for treating skin ailments. Some of these were news to me and I'm excited to know about them now since I always have a bottle in my cabinet. I will put it to even greater use and maybe you will, too!
Acne Aid: As I stated, witch hazel is an astringent that can remove dirt and oil without drying skin. Treat blemishes with a cotton pad soaked in a witch hazel solution.
Blister Buster: Dry blisters by applying a gauze pad soaked in witch hazel, then covering the affected area with an adhesive bandage.
Insect Bites: Relieve itching and swelling of bug bites with witch hazel. Apply a cotton pad soaked in the extract to the affected area.
Heal Minor Cuts: Known as "nature's Neosporin," witch hazel is a natural antibacterial that can help treat minor wounds. Apply witch hazel extract directly to the affected area with a cotton pad or washcloth.
Sunburn Reliever: This anti-inflammatory can provide temporary sunburn relief, as well as help skin from flaking. Gently apply a washcloth soaked in witch hazel extract or cream to burned skin. (It might feel nice to put it in the fridge first.)
DIY Deodorant: Pour witch hazel onto a cotton pad and dab under arms, letting it dry before dressing. For a scented solution, mix 3 tablespoons vodka with an essential oil blend (try 6 drops lavender, 8 drops cypress, and 4 drops neroli) in a spray bottle and shake. Add 1/2 cup witch hazel and 1/2 cup rosewater; use daily.
Soothe Psoriasis: In Germany, witch hazel is a mainstream psoriasis treatment, and research proves its effects. Apply witch hazel cream to relieve this troublesome skin condition, as well as eczema and dermatitis.
Treat Puffy Eyes: Witch hazel can help tighten and refresh skin. Simply lay cotton balls doused in witch hazel on your eyes and relax for 15 minutes. (This one might be nice from the fridge, too.)
Tone Up: The tannins in witch hazel help it tone skin and tighten pores, leaving skin cooled and refreshed. To make a toner, combine equal parts distilled water and witch hazel, along with a few drops of tea tree oil (for its antimicrobial properties).