Witch Hazel for Acne

Published on 12 October 2023 at 14:40

Witch Hazel for Acne

—Jill Fandrich, PharmD, CRPh



Witch hazel is a natural astringent derived from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel plant (Hamamelis virginiana) and has been used for centuries for its numerous medicinal properties. Regarding acne, witch hazel can be a beneficial addition to your skincare routine. Here are some of the ways witch hazel can help with acne:


1. Reduces inflammation - Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and swelling associated with acne breakouts. By calming the skin, it can minimize the size and appearance of pimples.


2. Controls oil production - Excessive sebum production is a common culprit in acne formation. Witch hazel acts as a natural astringent, helping to regulate oil secretion. Applying witch hazel to your skin can help balance the skin's pH levels and prevent oily conditions that contribute to acne.


3. Cleanses the skin - Witch hazel possesses cleansing properties that effectively remove dirt, excess oil, and impurities from the skin. By unclogging the pores, witch hazel can reduce the likelihood of acne breakouts.


4. Soothes irritated skin - Acne-prone skin often experiences irritation and sensitivity. Witch hazel can offer relief by soothing the skin and reducing itchiness or discomfort associated with acne.


5. Prevents infection - Witch hazel has antibacterial properties that can help prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria. By keeping the skin clean and reducing the presence of harmful microorganisms, witch hazel can contribute to a healthier complexion.


When using witch hazel for acne, it is important to follow these tips:


- Choose an alcohol-free witch hazel extract, as alcohol can cause dryness and further irritate the skin.

- Conduct a patch test before applying witch hazel to your entire face to ensure you do not have any adverse reactions.

- Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face before applying witch hazel.

- Apply witch hazel to your skin using a cotton ball or pad and gently pat it onto the affected areas.

- Follow up with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate your skin.


While witch hazel can be a helpful addition to your acne-fighting routine, it may not work for everyone. If your acne is severe or persists despite using witch hazel, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options.


In the "face" of acne, wisdom prevails with the humble embrace of witch hazel. Like a gentle breeze, it soothes the skin, easing the blemishes that mar our confidence. Let witch hazel "bewitch" your acne, granting it no power over you.

—Dr. Jill

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