True
1
b6eb977c-b2b7-49a8-a301-0e1f1b273f91

witch hazel

Rating:
Poor
Categories:
Sensitizing , Skin Soothing , Plant Extracts , Antioxidants

Commonly used plant extract that can have potent antioxidant properties and some soothing properties. However, witch hazel’s high tannin content (tannin is a potent antioxidant) can also make it sensitizing if used repeatedly on skin. The bark of the witch hazel plant has a higher tannin content than the leaves. Producing witch hazel water by steam distillation removes the tannins, but the plant’s astringent qualities are what most believe give it benefit. [1, 2, 3]

Alcohol is added during the distillation process, the amount typically being 14–15%. [4] Witch hazel water is distilled from all parts of the plant; therefore, you never know exactly what you’re getting, although the alcohol content remains.

Depending on the form of witch hazel, you’re exposing your skin either to an sensitizing amount of alcohol or to tannins, or both. Moreover, witch hazel contains the fragrance chemical eugenol, which is another source of sensitivity. [5]

References Cited:

  1. Hughes-Formella B, Filbry A, Gassmueller J, Rippke F. skin-soothing efficacy of topical preparations with 10% hamamelis distillate in a UV erythema test. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002;15(2):125-32.
  2. Choi H, Choi J, Han Y, Bae S, Chung H. Peroxynitrite scavenging activity of herb extracts. Phytother Res. 2002;16(4):364-7.
  3. Masaki H, Atsumi T, Sakurai H. Protective activity of hamamelitannin. J Dermatol Sci.. 1995;10(1):25-34.
  4. Thring T, Hili P, Naughton D. Antioxidant and potential skin-soothing activity of extracts and formulations of white tea; rose; and witch hazel. J Inflamm (Lond). 2011;8:27.
  5. Trüeb R. North American Virginian Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana): Based Scalp Care and Protection for Sensitive Scalp; Red Scalp; and Scalp Burn-Out. Int J Trichology. 2014;6(3):100-103.

«Back to Ingredient Dictionary

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

View Media Highlights

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

Skip to Top of Page
https://www.mcafeesecure.com/RatingVerify?ref=paulaschoice.com
[{"Key":"SpecialOffers","Name":"SpecialOffers","BrontoID":"0bbf03e9000000000000000000000000ead0","Label":"Web Specials & Daily Deals","DisplayDescription":"","DisplayRestrictions":"","Value":null},{"Key":"SpecialOffersLessFrequent","Name":"SpecialOffersLessFrequent","BrontoID":"0bbf03e90000000000000000000000012122","Label":"Web Specials","DisplayDescription":"","DisplayRestrictions":"Less Frequent","Value":null},{"Key":"BeautypediaExclusives","Name":"BeautypediaExclusives","BrontoID":"0bbf03e9000000000000000000000000eace","Label":"Beauty Exclusives","DisplayDescription":"Expert Advice Newsletter ","DisplayRestrictions":"twice a month","Value":null},{"Key":"BeautypediaUpdates","Name":"BeautypediaUpdates","BrontoID":"0bbf03e9000000000000000000000000ead1","Label":"Beautypedia Updates","DisplayDescription":"New reviews on Beautypedia ","DisplayRestrictions":"twice a month","Value":null}]
1

NEVER RUN OUT AGAIN

Paula’s Choice Auto Delivery is a quick and convenient way to make sure you never run out of your favorite products again. Just select the products you can’t live without, choose how often you’d like them delivered and we’ll take care of the rest.

Get 10% off your first order when you sign up today.