You should consider adding Hamamelis virginiana, better known as witch hazel, to your skin care routine. Witch hazel has a number of proven benefits for your skin. There are also several more benefits that have been observed throughout history, but have not been subjected to rigorous scientific study. Many homes contain a bottle of witch hazel in the bathroom cupboard along with all the medicines and first aid kit - and for good reason. Witch hazel is helpful and handy to have around.
What can witch hazel potentially do for your skin?The answer to that question is complicated. The reason it's complicated is that that the distilled witch hazel sold in drug stores may not contain the correct amount of the most potent medicinal ingredients of Hamamelis virginiana, such as the tannins (see below). That said, witch hazel bark has been shown to have the following benefits when applied to the skin:
- It acts as a topical antioxidant much like green tea. It contains polyphenolic compounds that may protect skin from sunburn and photoaging. Of course, you still need sunscreen.
- It offers an anti-inflammatory benefit after sunburn, meaning it can soothe sunburn pain and redness.
- It can help soothe irritated skin. It has been shown to soothe redness and lower the loss of your body's natural moisture when applied to irritated skin.
- It has some weak effectiveness against some of the common germs such as Staph, Candida, and viruses like the herpes virus and influenza.
- People have used it for years as a non-irritating skin toner to help remove skin oils. In my opinion, it beats alcohol for that job on sensitive skin.