What is witch hazel?
It is an extract from the bark of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana. It has been used for skin care for centuries.
Why is witch hazel so good for your skin?
- It cleans skin and removes oil without being drying.
- It tones and contracts pores so that they appear smaller (dermatologists call this ‘astringent’, which means to contract tissue. In this case it is contracting your pores).
- It has anti-inflammatory properties to help sooth inflamed or red facial skin.
- It has proven antiseptic benefits, helping to fight Staph bacteria, Candida yeast and viruses such as herpes.
- It contains antioxidants to help fight damage to skin from free radicals due to environmental stress.
The two biggest reasons that witch hazel is so popular in skin care is that it helps reduce the appearance of pores and that it cleans skin without drying.
As a dermatologist, I know that clean skin is better able to absorb actives in your therapeutic skin care products. Whether your skin care routine is trying to fix acne or fight the signs of skin aging, know that dirt, oil, dead cells, makeup and product residue will block absorption. Using a witch hazel toner after cleansing your skin will help to get your skin even cleaner.
In addition, skin usually looks smoother, and more radiant and dewy when it is really clean – another benefit of witch hazel.
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