My first introduction to witch hazel was not a nice one. I bear in mind once I was given a container of witch hazel pads after the numerous hours of pushing that led to the eventual birth of my firstborn. As I sat there on my ice pack and felt ache in locations I didn’t know might really feel ache, a reasonably stern nurse gave me a primer on what hemorrhoids have been, how they may happen after beginning, and what to do about them…
Thankfully, I by no means wanted these pads, however the entire expertise turned me off to witch hazel.
Fast ahead just a few years, and I used to be making the swap to fabric diapers. I needed to discover a pure different to common child wipes, and in my analysis on baby-safe components I as soon as once more stumbled upon witch hazel.
I made a decision my prejudice won’t be fairly truthful, and took a re-evaluation.
What Is Witch Hazel?
When I started researching it stunned me to study that witch hazel isn’t only a treatment given to new mothers. Also referred to as hamamelis distillate (from its Latin identify hamamelis virginiana), this plant-based substance has been used for centuries each medicinally and in skincare and sweetness merchandise. It is a mainly an exterior treatment utilized to the pores and skin. (Although there’s such a factor as witch hazel tea, I haven’t tried it but.)
Witch hazel extract is a a pure astringent or hydrosol comprised of the bark of the witch hazel shrub or tree. While lots of the herbs, spices, and different pure cures I cowl appear to all come from unique lands, the witch hazel tree is native to North America. The Native American Indians within the northeast particularly typically used witch hazel for as a wholesome treatment and for numerous pores and skin issues.
There are two strategies to getting extract from witch hazel bark: 1) as a distillation (generally present in shops, with some kind of alcohol added as a preservative) or 2) as a decoction, just like this method for making herbal tinctures. Some herbalists say the decoction technique makes a extra concentrated model with greater ranges of tannins, the element that offers witch hazel its astringent properties, however the distilled model is extra shelf-stable.
If you don’t really feel like making your personal, there are better store-bought options which can be double-strength distilled.
Benefits of Witch Hazel
Now that I’ve gotten over my first unhealthy impression, I exploit witch hazel at residence in a complete number of methods. It is a staple in my pure residence treatment package for first help and skincare, because it’s useful for all the things from soothing minor pores and skin irritations to eradicating make-up.
Here are a few of my favourite methods to make use of it:
1. Natural Skincare
As talked about, witch hazel is a multi-purpose treatment that may assist with all kinds of pores and skin situations. Many individuals apply it with a cotton pad to cleanse the face and for its astringent properties, which tighten and tone the pores and skin. Apply it to appease pores and skin issues like psoriasis, blemishes from zits, or simply normal dry pores and skin and itching. This isn’t simply folklore or wishful considering, both… studies like this one clarify how its pure anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties work.
I like to make use of it in this homemade vitamin C facial toner recipe, which has been nice for my naturally oily pores and skin.
Witch hazel is usually really helpful post-childbirth (hopefully by a friendlier nurse or midwife than the one I had) as a result of it makes a great postpartum healing spray for the perineum. I make a tincture of witch hazel extract and after-birth herbs that I hold in a twig bottle for post-birth soothing.
It can also be potential to make a do-it-yourself model of the pads typically handed out in hospitals by pouring pure witch hazel over natural cotton pads (and even including herbs or aloe for further soothing).
3. For Stretch Marks
I haven’t tried it personally, however a buddy was capable of make her stretch marks nearly utterly disappear by spraying witch hazel extract on them as soon as a day for just a few months. I like to recommend this remedy together with dry brushing and this stretch mark salve. Dry brush earlier than a bathe, and apply witch hazel after and let dry on the pores and skin. Then apply the stretch mark cream. The firming motion of the witch hazel together with the moisturizing salve remedy ought to go a great distance to enhance pores and skin.
4. Diaper Rash and Baby Wipes
Witch hazel is an ingredient in my homemade baby wipes (that may be made utilizing fabric wipes or with a disposable possibility) as a result of it’s wonderful for the pores and skin. Combined with aloe, it has been very soothing on my little ones. Witch hazel can also be nice for diaper rash, and I hold a small bottle and a few natural cotton balls in my diaper package as a fast treatment.
5. Varicose Veins
Another treatment I haven’t personally tried, however a midwife buddy recommends, is a compresses for varicose vein reduction. Soak cloths in witch hazel to make compresses and apply to the legs to scale back the discomfort of varicose veins.
6. For the Hair (Anti-Dandruff)
The identical properties that make witch hazel helpful to the pores and skin additionally make it good for the hair and scalp. I’ve used it pre-shampoo to assist add shine to my hair and de-frizz, however this identical course of may also help with dandruff. I hold a twig bottle of witch hazel within the rest room to spray on the scalp earlier than showering after which wash out within the bathe.
7. Single-Ingredient Deodorant
I really like my homemade deodorant, however baking soda will be irritating to some individuals. A magnesium-based spray deodorant is usually a nice different, however for particularly delicate pores and skin, plain witch hazel (or add just a few drops of lavender important oil) is usually a nice different. I additionally advocate making an attempt an armpit detox to scale back odor and make armpits much less delicate.
8. Itch Remedy
I hold witch hazel within the first help package for treating all type of itching. It will be actually useful in decreasing the itch from chickenpox, eczema, poison ivy, and bug bites.
In truth, I hold a small glass bottle of witch hazel and lavender within the first help package, and my youngsters will go discover this and use on bug bites or pores and skin itching in the event that they want it. I additionally make an anti-itch cream using it that’s nice for spot treating itchy areas.
9. Bruise Spray
Just as it will probably sooth varicose veins, witch hazel may also help scale back the looks and ache of a bruise. I discovered this firsthand once I managed to show round into the facet of a kitchen cupboard and provides myself a giant brow bruise the week earlier than a household wedding ceremony. A witch hazel compress as soon as a day helped vanish the bruise inside just a few days.
10. Sunburn or Razor Burn
Apple cider vinegar is my go-to for sunburn, however witch hazel additionally works properly. Keep a twig bottle of it chilly within the fridge for cooling reduction for a sunburn. It even helps scale back swelling or irritated pores and skin from razor burn after shaving.
11. In Bug Spray
Witch hazel is the bottom for my homemade bug spray. It is a superb base for the dried herbs or important oils in DIY bug spray and provides a lot of pores and skin advantages of its personal. Since it is usually useful for itchy pores and skin and even poison ivy, it’s a good duel-purpose treatment for tenting or seaside journeys. (Even apply it to insect bites… however if you happen to apply this bug spray, you shouldn’t want that tip!)
12. On Minor Cuts
Since the tannins in witch hazel work to tighten the pores and skin, they will additionally assist promote therapeutic and cease bleeding on a minor minimize. This is identical motion that makes it helpful for hemorrhoids and pores and skin irritations. (Just make sure that to not use the sort with added alcohol, or it would sting.)
Finding Good Quality Witch Hazel
Many store-bought manufacturers comprise extra alcohol than witch hazel and will be drying or sting delicate pores and skin. I always buy this brand, which is double-distilled and stronger than most store-bought choices.
Ever used witch hazel? What do you utilize it for?