Witch Hazel for Acne

Witch hazel constricts blood vessels and shrinks pores. This causes the pores to expel sebum and dirt, assisting in the treatment and prevention of acne breakouts.

Witch hazel, a flowery shrub found in the US and some eastern nations, has long been touted for its skin soothing properties. It can also be consumed internally for other medicinal purposes, although these uses are much less common. Many people suffering from acne who choose to treat it with a more natural substance use witch hazel as a means for clearing up breakouts. Despite the lack of formal case studies, many have claimed success and many tout its benefits over more expensive prescription medications.

How to use Witch Hazel for Acne

Witch hazel is usually purchased as a toner or astringent, sold in a liquid form. This liquid can be applied to cotton balls or rags and applied directly to the skin. Some cleaners and other products may also contain witch hazel as one of the ingredients.

How Witch Hazel Works for Acne

There have been no official studies performed to prove witch hazel helps heal acne, according to Progressive Health. However, decades of anecdotal evidence have shown that it is an effective remedy. Enough has been proven about witch hazel’s effects on the skin to give a clear picture of how the herb might work.

First, witch hazel constricts blood vessels in the skin and reduces the size of pores. This pushes dirt and sebum out of the pores, while making them smaller, and thus, less likely to allow additional dirt and oil to enter later. These mechanisms allows witch hazel to treat already occurring breakouts while also preventing future ones when used on a consistent basis.

Witch hazel is also effective at drying excess oil on the skin. Since oil and dead skin cells are the leading cause of breakouts, this is an effective means of reducing the appearance of acne on its own. Witch hazel can be applied in addition to other acne medications and cleansers, making it even more effective for those with severe acne. You can also make witch hazel into a mask using witch hazel and honey. Apply to the face for a few minutes and then rinse.

Additionally, witch hazel is an anti-inflammatory. That means it reduces redness and irritation, even for those who don’t have acne. Those with severe breakouts with severe redness and swelling may find that their faces look instantly less inflamed when using witch hazel.


Witch hazel is generally considered safe for most people. Very rarely, allergic reactions can occur, but this is very unlikely. Studies also show that limited amounts of witch hazel are often safe for adults when taken orally. In those who consume large amounts, or those who are sensitive to it, witch hazel may cause stomach upset. Very large amounts may cause liver damage. Children can usually apply witch hazel to the skin directly, but should not be given oral solutions unless under the guidance of a doctor.

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take witch hazel. There is not enough information available on the safe usage of witch hazel during pregnancy to determine its safety, according to WebMD.

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