Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch Hazel - a type of shrub native to North America is most commonly known for its astringent action on the skin. Astringent action is caused by a high volume of tannins, which are active constituents in many plants collectively known as astringents. Astringency causes tissues to contract, and everyone has experienced astringency at some point in life (think of a puckering sensation when drinking black tea or red wine).
Astringents, like Witch Hazel, are important in skincare because they are known to help effectively tighten pores, lift and firm the skin, as well as cleanse away oil and grime.
Why do we use Witch Hazel in some of our products?
Witch Hazel has been used for centuries as a superior cleanser and tonic for dull and lusterless skin, fortifying it with vitamins and minerals necessary to return its youthful and radiant appearance.
Here are a few reasons why we choose to use Witch Hazel in our Apothecary:
• Witch Hazel itself provides a hefty dose of beneficial hamamelitannins, which act as an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents that soothe the skin and alleviate redness and heat.
• Witch Hazel contains antioxidant compounds, which aid in the protection of the skin from environmental pollution by removing contaminants effectively and helping to alleviate damage caused by the sun.
• "The antimicrobial properties of tannins can reduce bacteria growth on the skin," says NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD., which is especially beneficial for oily and temperamental complexions.
• Witch Hazel provides a cooling and calming sensation, which is especially nice during the hot season. Witch Hazel balances the skin and serves as a wonderful toner.
• According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (US National National Library of Medicine, PubMed), Witch Hazel has been extensively researched as one of the best compounds in moisturizers for acne-prone skin.
What about the small amount of alcohol added during the distillation process that is in our beloved Witch Hazel?
We actually count this small amount of natural alcohol found in Witch Hazel as a huge benefit that greatly outweighs controversy about the adverse effects of its use in skincare. Besides, toxicologists in scientific research articles often quote a complete lack of data when debating about the harmfulness of topical use of Witch Hazel in cosmetics.
Our Organic Witch Hazel, which is sourced from Mountain Rose Herbs, plays two very important roles: because of the small amount of alcohol it contains, it acts as a superb medium for extraction of plant medicines directly into the product (this is how many of your favorite herbal tinctures are made, too), and as a natural preservative (this means less/none added preservatives).
Since many plant medicines can be extracted only in alcohol, using Witch Hazel as a medicine extraction medium ensures our final product has the highest amount of medicine extracted from the precious herbs we have chosen to use in each formula!
As an important side note, during our product making process with our creams, our formulas contain a very minimal amount of Witch Hazel and then the alcohol is evaporated from the final product after it has served its purpose as a medicine extractor.
With other products (like our Hyaluronic Serum and Tonics), the Witch Hazel is saturated with many other extremely beneficial ingredients and because of the permeation-enhancing capabilities of the minute amount of alcohol present, these ingredients are actually able to penetrate deeper into the skin, providing even more of their sought-after benefits.
As with all ingredients, please keep in mind that what may work for others may not necessarily work as well for you, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to skincare. Although we believe our Tonics, like the rest of our products, are beneficial for any complexion, even sensitive skin, we recommend finding what works best for your individual skin needs throughout the different seasons.
Our number one priority is creating SAFE, high-quality products that are truly effective.
After countless hours of accredited education, scientific research, trials and most importantly - testimonials of how our products have helped people like you, we stand firm on our choice to use Witch Hazel in our Apothecary.
Like with any ingredient out there in the world, however, there will ALWAYS be a possibility for some kind of irritation to occur! That is why we encourage our customers to test ANY new product on a small area of skin before using all over the body. If irritation develops, discontinue use and please let us know so we can help you find something that works better for your skin!