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How Effective is Witch Hazel for Acne?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are a number of ways in which witch hazel can help to manage acne breakouts and soothe skin that has been affected by acne. Although there are literally hundreds, possibly thousands of acne-fighting creams, cleansers, lotions, toners, astringents, and medications on the market, witch hazel also can help to treat a number of skin issues related to acne. It is important to recognize that everyone's skin is different and, therefore, responds differently to topical treatments such as witch hazel. The best way to find the perfect acne cleansers, toners, astringents, and lotions is by doing a bit of research into the products and beginning a process of trial and error.

Beginning this process with witch hazel is not a bad start. In addition to being an astringent, witch hazel is also a disinfectant. As an astringent, many people use witch hazel for acne because the product does a very good job of cleansing the skin without over drying it, which can lead to further forms of irritation to the skin. Also, it has been reported to shrink the size of the pores, which can improve the overall look of the skin. As a disinfectant, people use witch hazel for acne because it can reduce the amount of bacteria on the face and in the pores, helping to reduce or halt future breakouts while healing any current pimples or infections in the skin.

Sometimes people use witch hazel for acne simply because it can help to improve the look of the skin rather quickly. This is because witch hazel helps to reduce swelling in the skin as well as inflammation. This means that the product can help to soothe skin that has become red and swollen because of acne. For this reason, coupled with the other ways in which witch hazel can be used for acne, an overall assessment is that the product is very effective because it can help to treat so many aspects of acne.

Another reason to use witch hazel for acne is that it is very affordable. While some astringents and toners can be very expensive, witch hazel can be purchased fairly inexpensively. This allows people to use witch hazel for acne on a consistent basis without worrying about the cost per usage. Regular use can help lead to clearer skin.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By anon976010 — On Oct 30, 2014

When using witch hazel its best you start with the 1 pint 86 percent bottles. Use a Q-tip and only apply the witch hazel to acne. Use witch hazel after you wash your face, not before. I suffer from nasty acne if I don't wash my face morning and night as well as rinsing it with water every time I wash my hands. Witch hazel does great things to reduce the redness of pimples. If you get those really red suckers, witch hazel may be something that will help you.

By anon954329 — On May 31, 2014

I love witch hazel although I feel like the change in weather is breaking me out. The witch hazel is amazing!

By anon950616 — On May 11, 2014

I am an avid supporter of witch hazel and fish oil pills for cystic acne! I get it that not all works for everyone, but with this combination, man, what a difference. I am 46 and have been battling this for years. Nothing else worked, not even prescription medication.

By stoneMason — On Apr 10, 2013

The cause of acne pimples is oil and dirt buildup in pores that become infected and turn into cysts.

Witch hazel is a good product to use after cleansing and exfoliating the face because it closes pores and prevents oil and dirt from getting trapped inside. It also kills bacteria that might be on the skin.

Every morning and night, I use a hot towel to open my pores. Then, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and oil. The third step is witch hazel to close the pores and finally, I apply an oil-free lotion. I also exfoliate my skin in the shower three times a week.

This routine has worked great for me, I rarely get acne nowadays, only during my period due to hormonal changes.

By fify — On Apr 09, 2013

@anon329117-- Witch hazel does have a drying effect. So it's probably drying out your skin and causing more oil production and more acne spots.

Try applying the pads only on the acne and avoid using it on other areas.

By ysmina — On Apr 09, 2013

@anon329117-- Do the wipes contain anything other than witch hazel? If so, one of those ingredients might be irritating your skin. I think it's better to use pure witch hazel as a toner.

I've been using witch hazel for years and I have acne-prone skin. It treats my acne and prevents new pimples from developing.

By anon329117 — On Apr 08, 2013

When I use wipes with witch hazel extract, more spots seem to appear. Am I doing something wrong?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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