Witch hazel has been an extremely common-place and effective remedy for skin conditions and concerns for centuries. Many brands offer high-quality witch hazel facial astringents and toners, such as Thayer’s or Earthwise.
Is There Any Difference Between “Toners” and “Astringents”?
A toner preps the skin for moisturizers and other skin treatments while removing oil, dirt, bacteria, make-up, etc.
An astringent are formulations that typically contain a low % of alcohol with botanicals that cleanse skin and bacteria, tighten pores, and dry out oily skin.
Although toners are commonplace among skincare enthusiasts, many may not incorporate astringents or toner into their skincare routine as it typically takes place after cleaning but before application of moisturizers or other skin care products – it isn’t exactly a needed step.
For some people, toners are used to enhance the appearance of their skin or the absorption of other products. They can also be extremely beneficial for those with oily, acne-prone skin.
It is particularly strong with regards to addressing skin inflammation. Witch hazel can help decrease oil, size of pores, and redness, and may reduce the appearance or size of pimples.
The ‘tannis’ in witch hazel and their anti-inflammatory properties naturally make them good for both of these purposes.
Is There Anyone Who Should Not Use Witch Hazel?
Those who already have (or are prone to) dry skin would probably be better served avoiding the use of witch hazel, as it can enhance dryness and may cause irritation in these skin types.
If you use witch hazel regularly and find it too drying, you can always incorporate a moisturizer into the step after application to restore hydration. Ideally, opt for a moisturizer without alcohol, which can further induce dryness and irritation.
It is always best to do a spot test prior to full application. Just to see how your skin and body will react to the product. Those with eczema or rosacea should look for hydrating products better suited to more sensitive skin such as Weleda or Skin Essence.
Skin Benefits of Witch Hazel
Some individuals may claim witch hazel is too strong or drying. And for those people, they may be better suited to a product that is not as strong.
Witch hazel itself is a botanical that is extracted from a flowering plant. It has been used medicinally and topically (both the leaves and bark) for centuries. In this case, the plant is entirely processed to create the liquid formulation we see in cosmetics and skincare products today.
It has many skin benefits when applied topically as a toner or astringent.
It can reduce irritation by helping with inflammation via the tannis and botanical actives present, which is great for minimizing redness, rashes, bug bites, allergic reactions, or acne. The pain, swelling, discomfort, and blemishes associated with acne can all be reduced by It.
We should note that in chronic acne with larger cysts, we would recommend looking into a professional who can better address the situation and which products may be more effective. As there is not a lot of research to support witch hazel in those cases.
Witch hazel can also reduce the appearance and image of larger pores, blackheads, and whiteheads. Due to the astringent properties of It, it can help to dry out these. And blemishes, while still removing excess oil and bacteria that contribute to their appearance and growth!