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Witch Hazel: A Natural Remedy For Acne-prone Skin

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witch hazel may reduce acne Angel Nieto/PhotoSpin

Throughout high school, I rarely had a pimple. My skin was spotless and actually caused cosmetics sales ladies at the mall to tell me not to buy their products.

Then, when I was eighteen and fresh out of high school, I woke up to find several zits on my face.

From that moment on, my struggle with these has been a part of life.

While my breakouts aren’t severe (maybe a handful of bumps at a time), they are still there.

I tried creams and lotions and masks, but nothing available over the counter seemed to make them recede. Going to see a specialist crossed my mind, but because of the harsh medicine they tend to prescribe, I decided against it.

Who would have known that the answer to my problem was something I had at home in my medicine cabinet?

Witch hazel has long been used as an astringent. It is unscented, gentle on skin, yet incredibly effective.

“Witch hazel also contains procyanadins, resin, and flavonoids, all of which add to its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties,” according to an article published on the Discovery Health and Fitness site.

This plant, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use without a prescription, was long thought to be used by witches, and many believe that is the origin of the word.

However, John-Manuel Andriote from the Atlantic says that it “is believed to have come from the Middle English "wicke" for "lively" -- the dowsing stick bends toward the ground when water is detected below -- and "wych," an old Anglo-Saxon word for "bend.’” In his article, he mentions that people used to try to detect underground water wells with twigs of the tree and thus the name.

The livestrong.com website also mentions the acne fighting properties of witch hazel, but says it doesn’t work for everyone.

It might not work for every person, but this natural remedy might be worth a try if you don’t enjoy the harsh smells, side effects and chemical medicines used to treat this condition.


Andriote, John-Manuel. "The Mysterious Past and Present of Witch Hazel." The Atlantic. Atlantic Monthly Group, 06 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.

Brett, Jennifer. "Witch Hazel: Herbal Remedies." Discovery Health. Discovery Communications, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.

Kalmus, Sage. "Benefits of Witch Hazel for Acne." LIVESTRONG.COM. Demand Media, 25 May 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.

Reviewed November 19, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment4 Comments

According to me one can get rid of acne completely by following a proper diet and exercise along with some kind of natural treatments.

November 27, 2013 - 10:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

In his article, he mentions that people used to try to detect underground water wells with twigs of the tree and thus the name...Acne No More Review

April 17, 2013 - 4:40am
EmpowHER Guest

I can show you how to clean clogged pores. Use boiled water to steam over your face to wider them up, then clean them with lime juice or your cleanser. It should help. http://healacne101.com/

February 20, 2013 - 1:46am

Most topical acne treatments (both over-the-counter and prescription) are a waste of money... I've suffered from acne for 8 years and tried it all so I can attest to this personally! The best treatments I've found are complete systems, not stand-alone creams or cleansers. There are some great reviews of these @ http://dermahealthreview.com/blog

December 8, 2012 - 9:17am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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