Witch hazel has been around for decades. It’s a deciduous shrub, known in North America as hamamelis virginiana. It has traditionally been used for its astringent quality, which is produced from its leaves and bark. A common misconception is that witch hazel is a nut, which may also explain the allergy correlation.
Witch hazel has a long history with more than 30 noted uses including healing sores, bruises, swelling, burns, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids, and internally for colds, fevers and tuberculosis. The main constituents of the extract include tannin, gallic acid, catechins, proanthocyanins, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), essential oil (carvacrol, eugenol, hexenol), choline, saponins, and bitters.
In the world of aesthetics, witch hazel is used as an antioxidant, astringent, and too sooth and heal problematic skin conditions. One reason it is so widely used in skin care formulas, is for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and astringent benefits – it is a powerful protector of our cells.
It has been recommended for psoriasis, eczema, aftershave applications, cracked or blistered skin, for treating insect bites, poison ivy, and aiding in the soothing and healing of sunburn. Witch hazel is also useful for locking in moisture as it reduces water loss.
It’s used in the Rhonda Allison products I have in my services. Witch hazel is in a number of formulas for its moisture-balancing, protective and healing abilities. It can be found in the Growth Factor Serum, Regenerating Cream, Cucumber Spritz, C-Peptide Complex, and the Antioxidant Complex Serum, to name a few. Allergic reactions are very rare, but if someone is truly reactive to this, it may not be solely witch hazel, but rather an allergy related to plants in general. It’s also important to examine the other ingredients in the formula. It could be a reaction to an added fragrance or some other type of ingredient.
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