Bet You Didn’t Know Witch Hazel Did This …
It’s rare to come across a product that is 100% natural, versatile, inexpensive, and free of environmental pollutants and other sketchy ingredients. Enter: witch hazel.
You’ve probably heard of witch hazel before, but do you actually know what it is or where it comes from? Witch hazel might sound like an ingredient fit for a cauldron, but don’t worry! It’s witch-free.
Today, you’ll find witch hazel in a variety of over-the-counter beauty and medicinal products. It’s most often applied topically and is a great (and useful!) addition to any medicine cabinet.
WHAT IT IS
Witch hazel (also known as winterbloom or spotted alder) is a flowering shrub common in North America and parts of Asia. The leaves, twigs, and bark from the plant are added to either alcohol or water and go through a process called steam distillation. The resulting product is witch hazel.
Witch hazel’s leaves, twigs, and bark are high in tannins, which are what qualify it as an astringent. Tannins tighten, dry, and harden tissues, as well as remove excess oil from skin.
WHERE IT COMES FROM
Native Americans have been using witch hazel as a medical astringent for centuries. They boiled the stems of the plant, and the resulting water became infused with the healing properties of the witch hazel. This solution is what they used to treat swelling, inflammation, and even tumors.
The use of witch hazel came to the States via the early Puritan settlers in New England who adopted this remedy from the natives.
WHAT IT DOES
The most popular use for witch hazel is on the skin as a natural astringent. Its high concentration of tannins remove excess oil from skin, minimize pores, and kill bacteria (preventing blemishes, blackheads, etc.).
Another fascinating quality is that witch hazel is just as effective as a “free radical scavenger,” meaning it helps protect against DNA damage and tumor growth. This gives it the ability to stop cellular damage that can lead to skin cancer!
HOW TO USE IT
From skin, hair, health, and other around-the-house uses, witch hazel is one of the most multi-purpose, functional products out there. Simply by adding some to a cotton pad or a spray bottle, you can use witch hazel to help with anything from speeding healing, brightening, and controlling oil. And, these examples are just a scratch on the surface of what witch hazel is capable of.
Watch for our sister article in a few days where we’ll tell you how you can use witch hazel to soothe and help improve dandruff.