According to Nausheen Qureshi, skincare biochemist and founder of bio-designed skincare brand Elequra, witch hazel is an effective anti-inflammatory and a key ingredient in the treatment of acne.
“The distillate you get from the witch hazel shrub’s leaves and bark is used in skincare as an astringent due to the high levels of tannins (the same ingredient in red wine and grape skins), particularly in toners,” she explains. “Tannins have shown really good results in studies for their anti-acne benefits, so witch hazel distillate has been widely touted as an anti-inflammatory ingredient.”
Anyone who has experienced acne will know that you’ll try pretty much anything to treat it. From nappy rash cream and toothpaste to supplements and Roaccutane, there really is no end to the slew of so-called solutions to one of the most common skin concerns among teenagers and adults alike.
While some are more likely to waste your money than clear up your skin, and some could even make your skin more aggravated, there are a few truly targeted and thoroughly tested skincare ingredients known to hone in on the causes of breakouts. One is acne hero ingredient salicylic acid, which helps to regulate sebum production and helps to unclog pores. Another ingredient known for its spot-fighting properties is witch hazel.
Nausheen goes on to explain that witch hazel is also a fantastic alternative to salicylic acid and other skincare acids for those who find them too harsh; “Used in the correct quantities and in a good formulation, it is a really great ingredient for sensitive skin. Whereas traditional acid (AHA/BHA) treatments and products may be too strong and irritating for sensitive skins, witch hazel distillate is a great substitute with similar anti-inflammatory effects and it isn’t too drying on the skin.”
We’ve rounded up the best witch hazel formulas the beauty world has to offer so you can enjoy the benefits of the multi-tasking ingredient, too.