Patient, as only nature can be. The witch hazel, scientific name Hamamelis virginiana, waits for the first warmth to expand in the air to be able to bloom, with its very special flowers, which look like golden stars and which peep out when everything seems still asleep. The witch hazel uses every flying insect, be it a gnat or even a fly, for pollination. The witch hazel is a plant attached to life and its strength and vital energy are transmitted into cosmetic products that are made with the different parts of the plant, generally leaves and bark. So, let's see what witch hazel can do for the health and beauty of the skin and scalp, based on the most recent scientific research.
Witch hazel for the skin
Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory and soothing and proves useful, if applied locally, to bring relief in case of sunburn, but also for sensitive skin (Hughes Formella et al, Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol, 2002). Witch hazel extracts have been shown to have important antimicrobial properties, inhibiting the adhesion of bacteria to the skin and their proliferation. In particular, witch hazel has been shown to effectively combat Staphylococcus aureus, which is one of the causes of acne. Not only that, a study also allowed us to observe a really interesting aspect, namely that witch hazel has a prebiotic and protective action on the skin microbiota, supporting it and promoting the development of good bacteria (Failla et al, Front Nutr, 2022). This is of considerable importance as only a balanced skin microbiota, in which good bacteria prevail, can also guarantee healthy skin. On the other hand, if the microbiota becomes unbalanced, disorders such as atopic dermatitis, acne, irritation and, if this happens on the scalp, even dandruff and itching can occur (Chae et al, Front Biosci, 2021). These properties just described derive from the precious antioxidant content of witch hazel, especially tannins (Rasooly et al, Antibiotics, 2022). It is always the tannins that give the witch hazel astringent properties, which help in case of enlarged pores or skin, such as the T-zone, which tends to grease (Goyal et al, Molecules, 2022).
Witch hazel for the scalp
Witch hazel extracts, thanks to the antioxidants contained, help fight bacteria and fungi. Therefore, applications of witch hazel extracts can be useful in cases of itching, dandruff and dermatitis of the scalp (Goyal et al, Molecules, 2022). The use of witch hazel-based products, such as shampoo, also made it possible to relieve redness of the scalp, with or without itching, and resistant to treatments (Trueb et al, Int J Trichology, 2014).
How to use witch hazel
If you love the DIY, you can prepare a decoction of witch hazel for compresses, very useful in case of irritated, chapped skin, sunburn and acne. Pour a cup of water into a saucepan and add 10 grams of witch hazel, leaves and / or bark. Bring everything to a boil and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, let it rest for ten minutes, filter and let it cool down. Soak gauze and pack compresses on the area of skin to be treated. Alternatively, you can find ready-to-apply products on the market. The tonic and the witch hazel hydrosol are excellent, to be used morning and evening on the skin of the face after normal cleansing and before applying the cream. For scalp care you can use witch hazel-based shampoos, which are useful for soothing skin irritation and redness.