Witch Hazel also known as Hamamelis is a plant used for hundreds of years to treat acne and skin blemishes.
Find out why you should include this natural ingredient in your skin care routine.
In short about Hamamelis
Type of ingredient: botanical extract
Main benefits: Eliminates excess sebum; tones the skin and shrinks pores; reduces inflammation of the skin and red areas
Who should use it: People who face blackheads, pimples or oily skin
How often it can be used: Once every two days to start, then every day
It is effective together with: Most skin care productsRead More
It should not be used in combination with: Formulas that irritate or dry the skin, such as acid-based exfoliants, retinol or clay masks.
What is Witch Hazel or Hamamelis?
Witch hazel is a botanical extract from the leaves and bark of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana, native to North America and Asia. “It has been used in topical applications for hundreds of years for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and soothing properties,” dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum told birdye.com. Although it is often used as a treatment against acne, Hamamelis extract also has a calming effect on red and irritated skin.
Here are some of the benefits of Hamamelis extract that make it especially useful in fighting acne:
It eliminates excess sebum
“Witch hazel removes excess oils that clog pores, helping to fight acne,” says the dermatologist.
It shrinks pores
“It also contains tannins, astringent molecules that can shrink pores by toning the skin,” says Nussbaum. That is why it is often included in tonic lotions for oily skin.
It is anti-inflammatory
Some studies have shown that witch hazel extract is an effective anti-inflammatory. “Because many acne lesions are inflammatory, Hamamelis extract is used to reduce inflammation and redness,” says the specialist. However, it will not help in treating deep cystic acne, being more suitable for dark and open comedones ie white spots and blackheads or pustules caused by excess sebum. “By eliminating excess sebum, you reduce the risk of congested pores,” says Nussbaum.
It has an antibacterial effect
Last but not least, Hamamelis has antibacterial properties. But experts warn that the direct effect of Hamamelis extract on bacteria that contribute to acne has not yet been proven.
Other skin benefits
Studies have shown that Hamamelis extract has an antioxidant effect, which maintains the health of the skin and combats premature aging. Also, the tannins in Hamamelis extract reduce inflammation, stinging and redness of the skin, being an effective remedy for minor skin irritations, such as those that occur after shaving.
How to apply Witch Hazel Extract
How you use this natural ingredient is very important. Although it has many benefits for the skin, it can cause irritation if used incorrectly, so choosing the product carefully is essential. First of all, you must follow the instructions on the packaging of the product with Hamamelis extract that you bought. On the other hand, you should start by using the product once every two days, gradually increasing until daily application, if your skin tolerates it.
It is also important on which areas you apply. The quoted doctor recommends applying locally, only on the areas affected by blackheads, blackheads or pimples. Avoid products that also contain alcohol, because they can dry the skin excessively, the result being an even higher production of sebum.
Although it has anti-inflammatory properties, this natural ingredient also has a slightly acidic pH. And this means that it can irritate the skin. The risk increases if you have sensitive skin, other pre-existing irritations or micro-injuries. “As with any topically applied ingredient, there is a risk of an allergic reaction, and if you have very sensitive skin, it is a good idea to do a test, initially applying to a small area,” recommends the dermatologist.