Witch Hazel For Acne: Does It Work? How To Use It Effectively?

Written by Ramona Sinha • 

Witch hazel has nothing to do with witches or their strange brews, but it sure is magical. If you have not heard of it, you need to read this article – because you are missing out on a very potent and multipurpose skin ingredient. Witch hazel is especially good for acne. It has astringent and anti-inflammatory effects that can calm redness and swelling. It also heals wounds, soothes the skin, and prevents itches and rashes.

If you are looking for a natural solution to deal with acne, witch hazel is your answer. To understand how it works and how you can use witch hazel for acne, keep reading.

How Does Witch Hazel Help Reduce Acne?

1. It Helps Reduce Inflammation

Studies have found that the anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel can help soothe skin inflammation. It has skin-soothing properties and is often used as a treatment for acne (1).

2. It Acts As An Astringent

Witch hazel has astringent properties as it contains tannins (1). It can help minimize skin pores and reduce excess oil production. This property also helps to prevent dirt, dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria from entering and clogging your pores.

3. It Is A Good Moisturizer

A study involving 309 children aged 27 days to 11 years with skin injuries, skin inflammation, and diaper dermatitis found that witch hazel ointment could hydrate the skin and keep it moisturized (2).

Keeping your skin moisturized is crucial for treating acne. Dryness often damages your skin barrier, causing water loss and inflammation (1).

Witch hazel is good for your overall skin health because:

  • It fights harmful free radicals that damage your skin (3).
  • It prevents skin irritation and skin redness caused by excessive UV exposure (4).
  • It has antimicrobial properties and can prevent bacterial and fungal growth on your skin (5).

Although witch hazel is widely used for reducing acne, it may only help with mild to moderate levels of acne. If you have hormonal acne or cystic acne, do not rely solely on witch hazel and consult a dermatologist for proper treatment.

Witch hazel is extremely mild, and you can use it every day on your face. Here are a few simple recipes you can try.

How To Use Witch Hazel For Acne

1. As An Everyday Toner

You Will Need
  • Cotton balls or cotton pads
  • Witch hazel
  1. Wash your face with a mild cleanser and pat it dry.
  2. Pour a few drops of witch hazel on the cotton pad.
  3. Apply the pad to your face and the affected area. Let it dry.
  4. Apply your face serum or moisturizer.

2. As A Cooling Gel

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon witch hazel
  1. Take a bowl and mix the aloe vera gel with witch hazel.
  2. Spread it on your face and gently massage.
  3. Let it dry. Do not wash.

3. As An Anti-Inflammatory Face Mask

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon witch hazel
  • 2 teaspoons honey or 1 egg white (if you have dry skin, use honey, and if you have oily skin, use egg white)
  1. Mix the honey or egg white with witch hazel in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mask all over your face.
  3. Let it stay for at least 20 minutes (if you are using egg white, wait until it dries).
  4. Wash with water.

4. As A Herb-Infused Skin Potion

You Will Need
  • A glass jar with lid
  • Witch hazel
  • Herbs (chamomile, basil, lemongrass, peppermint, calendula, rosemary, orange peel, rose petals)
  1. Put the herbs in the jar.
  2. If you want the potion to be mild, use just 2-3 teaspoons of the herbs. For a stronger potion, fill half of the jar with the herbs.
  3. Pour witch hazel over it (enough to cover the herbs).
  4. Put the lid and store in a cool, dry place.
  5. Store it for two weeks and shake the jar every day.
  6. You may add more witch hazel if you see the herbs have completely soaked in the liquid.
  7. Strain the liquid after two weeks and transfer to a bottle.
  8. Dip a cotton ball in this and apply it all over your face or the affected area.

You can use witch hazel as per these recipes. In case you are using any topical treatment for acne, it is better to consult a doctor before using witch hazel as an alternative treatment method and use it as directed by the doctor.

Although there aren’t any reported side effects of witch hazel, it can cause some serious reactions.

Witch Hazel: Are There Any Side Effects?

Witch hazel may cause serious allergic reactions (in case you are allergic to it). These include:Itching

  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Breathing issues
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Also, avoid applying witch hazel on broken skin as it can irritate your skin. Always consult a doctor before using witch hazel as a treatment option for acne or any other skin issues.

Don’t know where to get witch hazel? Check out these online options. Here’s a list of witch hazel products you can try.

Best Witch Hazel Products To Buy For Acne

1. Thayers Witch Hazel Aloe Vera Formula

This is an alcohol-free toner that contains rose petal extracts along with witch hazel and aloe vera. This toner can help hydrate your skin and calm down skin irritation.

Buy Now!

2. Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel

Although it is suitable for all skin types, if you have extremely oily skin, you are going to love this one. It contains naturally distilled witch hazel extracts.

Buy Now!

3. Quinn’s Unscented Witch Hazel

This product is alcohol-free and fragrance-free. It is hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types (even sensitive skin). It is non-drying and claims to keep your skin moisturized.

Buy Now!

The American Indians first used this winter shrub with yellow (sometimes red and orange) spider-like flowers with a spicy fragrance. They used it to treat almost everything – from skin infections to bruises and other medical issues. People mostly use it as a go-to solution for all skin woes, especially acne. However, it is only a short-term fix.

Your acne may be due to many underlying causes. Unless you address those causes, nothing can ensure long-term relief. Hence, it is better to consult a skincare specialist and get your acne condition reviewed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is witch hazel with alcohol good for acne?

Alcohol can dry up the skin and may worsen the issue. Hence, it is better not to use alcohol on acne.

Can witch hazel worsen acne?

If you have mild to moderate acne, it may help. Witch hazel will not worsen the condition unless your skin is sensitive to it.

5 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
  • Moisturizers for Acne, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Hamamelis in children with skin disorders and skin injuries: results of an observational study. European Journal of Pediatrics, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Highly galloylated tannin fractions from witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) bark: electron transfer capacity, in vitro antioxidant activity, and effects on skin-related cells. Chemical Research in Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Anti-inflammatory efficacy of topical preparations with 10% hamamelis distillate in a UV erythema test. Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Antiseptic effect of a topical dermatological formulation that contains Hamamelis distillate and urea. Research in Complementary and Natural Classical Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

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