5 Reasons to Use Witch Hazel in Your Skin Care Regime


The skin benefits of witch hazel are impressive, even for a dermatologist. I recommend incorporating Hamamelis Virginiana, better known as witch hazel, into your skincare routine.

Witch hazel has a number of proven benefits for your skin.

There are also several other benefits that have been observed throughout history but have not been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Many households keep a bottle of witch hazel in the bathroom cabinet alongside all their medication and first aid kit — and with good reason. Witch hazel is helpful and handy to have.


What Can Witch Hazel Possibly Do for Your Skin?

The answer to this question is complicated. The reason it’s complicated is that the distilled witch hazel sold in drugstores may not contain the right amount of Hamamelis Virginiana’s most potent medicinal ingredients, such as: B. the tannins (see below). However, witch hazel bark has been shown to have the following benefits when applied to the skin:

  1. Witch hazel for seborrheic dermatitis
    It acts as a topical antioxidant similar to green tea. It contains polyphenolic compounds that can protect the skin from sunburn and photoaging. Of course you still need sunscreen.
  2. It offers anti-inflammatory effects after a sunburn, which means it can reduce sunburn pain and redness.
  3. It can help soothe irritated skin. It has been shown to reduce redness and reduce the loss of your body’s natural moisture when applied to irritated skin.
  4. It has weak effectiveness against some of the most common germs like staph, candida and viruses like the herpes virus and influenza.
  5. People have been using it for years as a non-irritating skin toner to remove skin oils. In my opinion it beats alcohol for the job on sensitive skin.

Witch hazel has also been touted as helping to heal bruises and treating varicose veins and hemorrhoids. However, I don’t think there is any real evidence to support these claims. Simply applying something cooling to the skin constricts the blood vessels.

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I haven’t been able to find any good evidence for bruising from using witch hazel either, although the anti-inflammatory effects could theoretically help with pain and swelling from a bruise.


The bottom line on the benefits of witch hazel for skin:

Witch hazel is practically harmless, so it’s a good home remedy to experiment with for skin infections like bug bites, acne breakouts, sunburn, irritated skin, seborrheic dermatitis, etc. I also think it’s an excellent facial toner.

best witch hazel for seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea

I have developed a deeply hydrating and healing toner made from organic witch hazel. my Naturally moisturizing pore minimizing toner combines organic witch hazel with organic rose hydrolate, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. My rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis prone complexion is soothed with this unique toner. My patients and customers with sensitive skin love it as much as I do.


I have sensitive skin with rosacea that also happens to be oily in the tzone and dry elsewhere. The naturally moisturizing pore minimizing toner is the best toning product I have ever used! It does not burn, it is very gentle, does not dry, and still achieves the desired effect. I’m so glad I found it. ECM 20.07

Witch Hazel Benefits for Skin

I personally love witch hazel and use it in my practice. It means that I think it’s okay to experiment with it, within common sense of course.

  • In our cosmetic treatments we use witch hazel as a facial tonic.
  • I use it myself to calm my seborrhea and rosacea in mine Naturally moisturizing toner who loves my sensitive skin.
  • I also used it as a teenager for my acne prone skin.
  • We also use it in our laser suite to remove skin numbing medication before procedures.

Witch hazel is a time-honored skincare product with so many uses.

Click here to try my naturally hydrating, pore-reducing witch hazel toner, ideal for sensitive skin suffering from conditions like rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis.


Juliane Reuter, Ute Wölfle, Hans Christian Korting, Christoph Schempp Which plant for which skin disease? Part 2: Dermatophytes, chronic venous insufficiency, sun protection, actinic keratoses, vitiligo, hair loss, cosmetic indications. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2010 Nov;8(11):866-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2010.07472.x.


Masaki H, Atsumi T, Sakurai H, Protective effect of witch hazel tannin on cell damage induced by superoxide anion radicals in murine dermal fibroblasts. Biol PharmBull. 1995 Jan;18(1):59-63.

BJ Hughes-Formella 1, A Filbry, J Gassmueller, F Rippke. Anti-inflammatory effectiveness of topical preparations with 10% witch hazel distillate in the UV erythema test., Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002 Mar-Apr;15(2):125-32.

Hughes-Formella BJ1, Filbry A, Gassmueller J, Rippke F. Anti-inflammatory effect of witch hazel lotion in a UVB erythema test., Dermatology. 1998;196(3):316-22.

A. Deters, A. Dauer, E. Schnetz, M. Fartasch, A. Hensel, High molecular weight compounds (polysaccharides and proanthocyanidins) from the bark of Hamamelis Virginiana: influence on keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation of human skin and influence on irritated skin. J. Phytochemistry. 2001 Nov;58(6):949-58.

H.P. Hörmann, H.C. Korting, Evidence of Efficacy and Safety of Topical Herbal Drugs in Dermatology: Part I: Anti-Inflammatory Agents. phytomedicine. 1994 Sep;1(2):161-71. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(11)80036-X.

Gloor M, Reichling J, Wasik B, Holzgang HE. Antiseptic action of a topical dermatological formulation containing witch hazel distillate and urea. Forsch Complementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2002 Jun;9(3):153-9.

Erdelmeier CAJ, Cinatl Jr., Rabenau H, Doerr HW, Biber A, Koch E. Antiviral and antiphlogistic activities of the bark of Hamamelis virginiana. HE. Planta Med. 1996 Jun;62(3):241-5.

Theisen LL1, Erdelmeier CA2, Spoden GA3, Boukhallouk F3, Sausy A1, Florin L3, Muller CP1. Plus one. 2014-01-31;9(1):e88062. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088062. eCollection 2014.


A note on the transfer of scientific and folk medicine results for witch hazel to modern commercial preparations:

Traditionally, witch hazel was used by Native Americans after being prepared in a broth. A brew is the boiling of something like the bark of the witch hazel plant to extract many of the components, including the tannins (with all those good antioxidants), the essential oils, and the saponins (soap-like fraction).

Commercially produced witch hazel is distilled, which is different. Scientific studies are mostly conducted on concentrated fractions of witch hazel components. That means you can’t exactly equate the results. However, witch hazel is harmless and long-established in American homes.


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