We have all been through a stage of life when we have had to deal with pimples, acne, zits, you name it, but we would all agree that it was the most frustrating part of our lives as a teenager.
What Are Pimples and Why Are They So Difficult to Heal?
Inside each pore of your skin are tiny sacs called sebaceous glands. These glands secrete an oily material called sebum which lubricates and waterproofs your hair. But that’s not the only thing sebum is good for. It’s also an energy source for a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes.
Usually, Propionibacterium acnes lives harmoniously in and on your skin. Sometimes it gets out of control, and that’s when the trouble starts. When your sebaceous glands grow more active like during puberty, they generate a surplus of sebum.
The excess sebum can clog your pores. The pores are now a food fest for bacteria which start to multiply out of control. This triggers alarms in your body, which identifies the infestation as a threat, so your body dispatches white blood cells to the area to fight the abnormally large cluster of bacteria. As a result, the area becomes inflamed, causing the skin at the surface to swell and eventually, that swelling will come to a head literally.
Even worse, popping the pimple opens a gateway for additional bacteria on your fingers which could prolong or even worsen the already infected area.
Witch hazel is a controversial plant that is widely available in North America and most of the Asian region. Witch hazel, known for its medicinal properties, can be used for various purposes: health care, hygiene, pain relief, etc.
As a consumer, you can find different products in different categories with witch hazel as an essential component. Most commonly found in products that help inhibit muscle pain and inflammation, it is also widely used in products that help soothe sensitive skin.
It also helps to refine the pores and balance the excess oil that keeps acne and pimples away from skin. Witch hazel is also considered very safe for topical use and is great for healing skin irritations like insect bites and blisters.
Besides, hazel can be ingested orally for various medical conditions, including diarrhea, bloody vomiting, tuberculosis, fever, cancer, etc. People recommend taking witch hazel directly; however, if you don’t like its flavor, you can add a small amount to your green tea and then drink it. This way, you won’t have to worry about its pungent smell.
Many people swear on its anti-inflammatory, soothing, and antibacterial properties. However, it is crucial to know how to use it properly.
Witch Hazel for Acne
First of all, allow me to point out that witch hazel has nothing to do with witches or black magic. Despite its strange name (of unknown origin) it is a rather useful plant and has many medicinal properties.
1. Helps with Inflammation
A primary reason for any painful pimple is inflammation. Although inflammation is your body’s natural immune response to any foreign agent, cut or wound; in most cases, it is painful and can sometimes even lead to the creation of pus. So it’s logical that you take medications that can soothe the inflammation of your skin and reduce the redness, making it less recognizable and giving your skin a clear appearance it needs so much.
According to research , chronic inflammation can lead to the development of various skin diseases.
Witch hazel is popularly known as a natural anti-inflammatory medication because it contains many compounds such as gallic acid, tannins, etc. that have anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, it even contains various antioxidants that are medically proven to inhibit inflammation and the resulting pain. Hazel also helps to neutralize free radicals that are medically known to be pathogenic compounds that accumulate due to normal essential metabolic processes and various external sources, such as smoking, pollutants, chemical exposure, X-rays, etc.
Therefore, it can be confidently said that the topical or oral application of witch hazel can be beneficial for people suffering from acne or any other related inflammatory problem.
2. Helps Prevent Infections
A person may have an infection due to external and ingested bacteria. When these bacteria enter your body, they interfere with the normal functioning of your body, leading to various health problems, including acne, especially acne mechanica.
Acne Mechanica is a special type of acne that an individual has to experience because of an object or material touching their face. The most common culprit is your pillowcase, which you haven’t washed in a long time. Because of unmaintained hygiene, oil, dust, and all kinds of bacteria have started to grow on it, and when you sleep on it, all these bacteria jump on your skin surface and can even enter your body through any scratch in your skin.
So, if you really want to get rid of your acne, the first thing you need to do is clean your pillowcase. You must make sure to change your pillowcase every 3 to 6 months or wash it every week.
The second thing you can do is to apply the witch hazel directly to your washed and clean face before going to sleep. As it’s exhibits potent antibacterial properties, it can control inhibit growth of any infection on your skin.
Witch hazel in itself is known for its drying effects, and so you must not apply it on your face directly unless you have oily skin.
So how does Witch hazel acts as a moisturizer?
Well, it can be used as a moisturizer when you use it along with tea oil. Both of these ingredients exhibit antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties. When both of them are adequately mixed and applied, witch hazel can protect your skin from external bacteria and skin infections while tea oil will soothe your skin while giving it the much-needed moisturization.
Below I’m discussing some simple recipes that you can try to create 100% natural and beneficial skincare lotions and masks.
Use it as a cooling gel
- Take a teaspoon of Witch Hazel and mix it with a teaspoon of Aloe Vera gel.
If possible, try to grow Aloe Vera at your home as this will ensure that it is always 100% pure, natural and doesn’t contain any chemical to prevent its degradation over time.
How to use it?
- You will need to mix your Aloe Vera gel and Hazel in a bowl. Make sure that you create this paste every time you want to use it on your face. Never, ever use any leftover paste as it can result in serious infections.
- Once your fresh mixture of Hazel and Aloe Vera is ready, apply it directly onto your face and spread it evenly so that it covers every area.
- Let the mixture dry before applying any makeup onto your skin. Remember that you don’t need to wash it as both of them are transparent and won’t affect the appearance of your skin.
What’s the need for spending 10’s of bucks on chemically loaded toners available in the market when you can create your own with 100% natural ingredients?
Things you need:
- Witch hazel
- Few cotton balls
How to use it?
- First, you need to wash your face and patted dry. I will suggest you wash your face with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser. This will open up all your skin pores and will allow the hazel to sink in properly into your skin.
- Now take few cotton pads or balls and pour a few drops of Witch hazel on it. Press it onto your skin, especially in the areas where you have pimples or soreness.
- Once it’s dried, you can then apply a moisturizer or face serum on your skin.
As a skin potion
You will need the following:
- Witch hazel
- Some herbs such as calendula, Rosemary, basil, rose petals, orange peel, etc. The more herbs you can collect, the better your skin potion will be.
- Finally, you need a glass jar with a lid.
How to prepare it?
Preparation is quite simple, just follow the instruction in sequence, and you will be done in no time.
- Put all your herbs in the jar.
- It really depends on your choice – if you want your skin potion to be mild on your skin, use 2 or 3 teaspoons of the herbs. If you want your portion to be potent and concentrated, fill the jar with all the herbs available.
- Now pour the Witch hazel into the pot, close the lid and keep the jar in a dry and cold place.
- It will take two weeks for the potion to be ready for use. Just make sure to mix the jar every day so that all the ingredients are mingled together in a proper way.
- If you notice that all the liquids in the jar are gone (dried), you will have to add more Witch hazel into it as you want a lotion and not a paste.
- After two weeks, strain all the liquids in the jar and transfer the content into a fresh bottle. If possible, try to use a container with nozzles as it will make it easier for you to use the potion.
- Take a small quantity of the potion on a cotton ball and apply it on the areas where you have pimples or soreness.
Use it as an anti-inflammatory mask
I have already discussed Witch hazel’s anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does it give instant relief but also helps to reduce redness and pain.
Things you will need:
- 2 teaspoons of honey along with an egg white. Note that you are required to use honey only if you have dry skin. You must use egg white if you have oily skin.
- A teaspoon of Witch Hazel.
How to prepare it?
Preparation is straightforward; just follow the steps below:
- First, you need to take out the egg white and then makes it along with two teaspoons of honey in a glass bowl.
- Apply the mask (the mixture) evenly all over your face and massage it gently.
- Leave the mixture on your face or at least 20 minutes. Will have to wait till the egg white dries completely as it’s essential in making your skin soft and smooth.
- After 20 minutes, you need to wash your face with either normal or cold water.
4. Powerful Astringent
Thanks to its powerful and effective astringent properties , many researchers believe that witch hazel can be useful in treating normal to mild acne problems in adolescents and adults.
One of the most important factors that differentiate it from all other tropical products available on the market is the fact that it’s 100% natural and safe to use. In fact, it can be used without problem by people with sensitive skin.
When you apply Hazel to your skin, its astringent properties cause your skin tissues to contract, greatly narrowing your skin pores. This has two significant effects on your skin. First of all, it makes your skin cleaner and smoother. Secondly, because the pores are closed, no external agents such as bacteria or dust can enter your pores, which would otherwise have caused rashes and inflammation.
This is one of the main reasons why it is an essential ingredient in almost all acne products available on the market. Moreover, thanks to its drying properties, it is very useful for people with oily skin.
To date, no medical studies have proven the “direct” effectiveness of witch hazel in the treatment of acne or pimples. But just because no medical studies have been conducted does not mean that witch hazel is not effective in treating acne. People have been using it for decades as an effective way to treat skin pain, inflammation, redness and acne.
Also remember that witch hazel is a powerful astringent and can cause excessive dryness of the skin, which can lead to increased inflammation.