Are you also looking for ways to keep your skin healthy and free from dryness? Look no further, as “witch hazel” is your answer.
A witch hazel toner hydrates and moisturizes dry skin. It also soothes the skin, removes dead skin cells, tightens the skin temporarily, and balances the skin’s pH.
A common misconception is that the skin does not need a toner. However, every skin type needs a toner to maintain proper skin moisturization and hydration.
Do note that witch hazel is only a short-term remedy; using it long term may cause problems, irrespective of your skin concern or type.
Continue reading to know more.
How Can Witch Hazel Be a Good Toner for Dry Skin?
Witch hazel is an excellent toner for dry skin. Its leaves, bark, and flowers possess flavonoids, essential oils, and tannins.
The bark and leaves of witch hazel contain 10% tannins, which contribute to its astringent properties (1) that are effective for dry skin. Witch hazel soothes and moisturizes sensitive, dry, and irritated skin.
However, excessive usage of witch hazel can lead to skin dryness. Fortunately, some witch hazel toners also contain moisturizing ingredients, such as honey and glycerin, making them beneficial for dry skin.
1. Witch hazel’s astringent property heals dry, cracked, or blistered skin
Witch hazel is an astringent and potent antioxidant, making it a natural remedy for skin suffering from eczema, psoriasis, blisters, and cracks. (2)
Note: Astringent is a substance that makes tissues shrink or contract and dries up secretions. (4)
2. Witch hazel alleviates skin dryness
Note: Oxidative stress decreases moisture. The presence of gallic acid in witch hazel makes it suitable for dry skin.
3. Witch hazel provides skin moisture
Proanthocyanins are some of the constituents of witch hazel (2) and they provide adequate skin moisture. Condensed and hydrolyzable tannins are the rich polyphenols of H. virginiana bark and leaves. (7)
What Is Witch Hazel and Can It Be Used as a Toner?
With high tannin concentration, witch hazel is an excellent herb with great herbal astringent properties. Its bark and leaves can be used to protect the skin and prevent blemishes. (10)
Witch hazel tightens the skin and protects it from atmospheric toxins or pollutants. Additionally, witch hazel’s hamamelitannin compound hydrates dry skin.
Choosing the Best Witch Hazel Product for Your Skin
Remember the following pointers when picking a witch hazel product for your skin.
1. Alcohol-free witch hazel products
Alcohol damages the skin’s natural protective layer and strips off its natural oils needed to keep it healthy. It is harsh on the skin and leads to dryness. It also causes irritation and disrupts the skin’s natural regeneration.
It is best to choose alcohol-free products.
2. Witch hazel and aloe vera products
Both witch hazel and aloe vera have botanical anti-inflammatory properties. (14) Aloe vera hydrates dry skin, (15) and the bark and leaves of witch hazel contain gallic acid and tannins that hydrate the skin. (2)
Therefore, both witch hazel and aloe vera are excellent ingredients for dry skin.
3. Dermatologically tested witch hazel products
Dermatologically tested means doctors who are experts in skin health have approved a product to be safe for topical use. Dermatologists suggest you choose a product based on your needs.
Tips When Choosing a Toner for Dry Skin
Remember the following things when choosing the right toner for your dry skin:
- Go for an alcohol-free toner that is specifically formulated for dry skin, as alcohol can irritate and dry your skin. Alcohol-containing hand rubs or sanitizers are less irritating on the skin. (16)
- Choose artificial fragrance-free toners to stay away from inflammation and irritation.
- Look for toners that contain natural ingredients and herbal skin toners with astringent and soothing effects on the skin and face to reduce irritation. (17) The main ingredients of many herbal toners are pomegranate and sugar cane juice, and they improve the skin without causing side effects. (18)
- Go for sulfate-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free toners. Parabens pose a low risk of skin sensitization. (19) Sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate) penetrate the skin, causing cutaneous irritation. (20) Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and are harmful to human health. (21)
- Pick a moisturizing and hydrating toner.
Can witch hazel treat skin inflammatory conditions?
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana L.)is a plant used widely for skin inflammatory issues, with preliminary anti-inflammatory skin evidence. (22)
Witch hazel is used topically as an antibacterial and astringent treatment for the skin to reduce inflammation. (1) It is a traditional medication for skin infections such as eczema/atopic dermatitis, (23) acne, and psoriasis.
Witch hazel also soothes inflammation from shaving, sunburn, and minor cuts.
Is it safe to apply witch hazel directly on the skin?
Yes, it is safe to apply witch hazel directly to your skin. (24) But some people may be allergic to witch hazel, so it’s important to perform a patch test the first time you use it.
Witch hazel is a plant with powerful medicinal properties that can treat several skin conditions, such as pruritus, psoriasis, and eczema. The bark and leaves of witch hazel hold essential elements helpful in treating dry skin.
Witch hazel contains the skin-beneficial compounds tannins and gallic acid, and toners containing witch hazel hydrate the skin.
- Thring TS, Hili P, Naughton DP. Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, Rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells. Journal of inflammation (London, England). October 13, 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3214789/.
- Trüeb RM. North American Virginian Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana): Based Scalp Care and protection for sensitive scalp, red scalp, and scalp burn-out. International journal of trichology. July 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158622/.
- Rodan K, Fields K, Falla TJ. Efficacy of a twice-daily, 3-step, over-the-counter skincare regimen for the treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. January 4, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5221538/.
- Aluminum potassium sulfate. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Aluminum-potassium-sulfate.
- Hwang E;Park SY;Lee HJ;Lee TY;Sun ZW;Yi TH; Gallic acid regulates skin photoaging in UVB-exposed fibroblast and hairless mice. Phytotherapy research : PTR. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25131997/.
- Yang DJ, Moh SH, Son DH, et al. Gallic acid promotes wound healing in normal and hyperglucidic conditions. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). July 8, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6274221/.
- Piazza S, Martinelli G, Vrhovsek U, et al. Anti-inflammatory and anti-acne effects of hamamelis virginiana bark in human keratinocytes. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland). June 5, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9220085/.
- Lizárraga D;Touriño S;Reyes-Zurita FJ;de Kok TM;van Delft JH;Maas LM;Briedé JJ;Centelles JJ;Torres JL;Cascante M; Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) fractions and the importance of gallate moieties–electron transfer capacities in their antitumoral properties. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19035659/.
- Failla M, Lee J, Rasooly R, Apostolidis E. Evaluation of a witch hazel extract for the potential prebiotic and protective effect on select lactiplantibacillus plantarum (prev. lactobacillus plantarum) strains. Frontiers in nutrition. April 29, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9100581.
- (PDF) current review on herbs for derma care – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335934698.
- (PDF) herbal cosmetics: Used for skin and hair – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235944029.
- Lachenmeier DW. Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity. Journal of occupational medicine and toxicology (London, England). November 13, 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596158/.
- Mahmood A, Eqan M, Pervez S, et al. Covid-19 and frequent use of hand sanitizers; human health and environmental hazards by exposure pathways. The Science of the total environment. November 10, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7320712/.
- Chularojanamontri L, Tuchinda P, Kulthanan K, Pongparit K. Moisturizers for acne: What are their constituents? The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. May 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025519/.
- Aloe vera in dermatology: A brief review | request PDF. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24012075.
- HI; LHKGSDM. How irritant is alcohol? The British journal of dermatology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17578437/.
- Formulation and physical characterization of herbal face Gel Toner. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353584527.
- Formulation and evaluation of herbal face Toner – Researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/361270501.
- Torfs E, Brackman G. A perspective on the safety of parabens as preservatives in Wound Care Products. International wound journal. April 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243994/.
- H; PSSPSKM. Quantification of sodium lauryl sulfate penetration into the skin and underlying tissue after topical application–pharmacological and toxicological implications. Journal of pharmaceutical sciences. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8801341/.
- Wang Y, Qian H. Phthalates and their impacts on human health. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland). May 18, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8157593.
- Piazza S;Martinelli G;Vrhovsek U;Masuero D;Fumagalli M;Magnavacca A;Pozzoli C;Canilli L;Terno M;Angarano M;Dell’Agli M;Sangiovanni E; Anti-inflammatory and anti-acne effects of Hamamelis virginiana bark in human keratinocytes. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35740016/.
- Piazza S, Martinelli G, Magnavacca A, et al. Unveiling the ability of Witch Hazel (hamamelis virginiana L.) bark extract to impair keratinocyte inflammatory cascade typical of atopic eczema. International journal of molecular sciences. August 17, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9408886/.
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