Witch hazel is a small bush native to Asia and North America. Although the strange yellow stringy flowers don’t look like much, this plant was used medicinally by Native Americans and later by European settlers. It also enjoyed use in parts of Asia. The witch hazel used medicinally shouldn’t be confused with the English wych elm, which is also sometimes called witch hazel.
Regardless, witch hazel is one of those things that should be in every old fashioned medicine cabinet due to its varied uses, mostly for the skin. It’s worth note that while you can buy witch hazel at Walmart and most pharmacies, make sure that you read the label as it is often combined with alcohol, which makes it not quite as versatile.
Without further ado, here are some of the most common uses for witch hazel:
1. Fight acne and blackheads
Witch hazel is a natural astringent, which means that it can remove excess oil from your skin and also close your pores, making your skin look better and feel healthier. For this use, you can use either pure witch hazel or the kind that comes with alcohol. Be sure to moisturize your skin using a natural moisturizer so it doesn’t dry out!
2. Stop bleeding and reduce bruises
As witch hazel is an astringent, it will tighten the skin and help stop bleeding. It also has some antibacterial properties, making it good for wounds. Some sources also say that it will help fade discoloration and speed up healing of bruises and other inflammatory problems. Simply apply the witch hazel to the affected area with a cotton ball.
3. Hemorrhoid Relief
Witch hazel is excellent at relieving irritatations, itching, and even promoting healing through removal of bacteria and such, so it’s no surprise that it can help with hemorrhoids. Using a cotton ball, apply the witch hazel to the area for relief from itching and swelling.
4. Prevent razorburn
Everyone shaves, and it can actually be really bad for your skin. To help prevent the red bumps and razorburn, apply witch hazel to the area. It can help stop bleeding from nicks and cuts much faster than a wad of paper, and it also works as an anti-inflammatory for irritated skin.
5. Makeup remover
I know people who swear by using witch hazel as a makeup remover. Make sure you have pure witch hazel for this though—alcohol will dry out your skin! Simply rub this on your face with some makeup remover pads and enjoy cleaning your pores and removing makeup without all the fuss! I don’t recommend it for eye makeup, though, as it will burn and dry out your eyes if it gets in your eye.
6. Treat damaged gums
Using a pure witch hazel mouth rinse can help reduce pain and swelling in infected or irritated gums. It can also help stop bleeding gums and is generally good for relieving basic pains associated with dental surgery as well. Make sure you don’t swallow it though!
7. Dry up Swimmer’s Ear
A few drops of witch hazel in the affected ear, followed by a gentle cleaning can help remove buildup, clear away excess oil and pus, and break up wax and debris. When using, let it sit in the ear for a few minutes, then turn your head to drain and gently clean.
8. Cool sunburn
You can add witch hazel to aloe vera gel to help minimize inflammation and help the skin heal better. Witch hazel can also help sunburnt skin not flake as it heals.
9. Relieve itching
Many people use witch hazel’s anti-itch properties to help with bug bites, poison ivy, stings, and other itch-related discomforts.
10. Fix dry, itchy scalps
Rubbing a one part witch hazel and two parts water into your scalp before washing your hair can help prevent dandruff and fix itchy spots on your scalp. Let it soak in for a few minutes, then rinse and wash hair normally. Make sure you use conditioner too!
Do you use witch hazel around your house? What do you use it for? Tell me in the comments below!