What? Native Americans have long recognized the medicinal properties of witch hazel and used a decoction of the boiled plant parts to treat skin irritations and tumors. Nowadays this popular herbal remedy is recognized world-wide as a natural cleanser and toner, but witch hazel has many more uses than simply to clarify skin and shrink pores. This plant was widely used for medicinal purposes by American Indians. The witch hazel extract was obtained by steaming the twigs of the shrub.
Why? Probably the most famous way witch hazel is used is as a natural astringent. High concentrations of tannins in witch hazel make it an excellent astringent which means it has the ability to remove excess oil from skin and shrink down pores. Health-wise, those who are exposed to lots of environmental pollutants may apply witch hazel to the face in order to reduce the amount of contaminants that enter pores and, consequently, the amount and severity of blemishes. Also, because astringents remove excess oil, regular use of witch hazel may further prevent blemishes, especially black heads which result from dried sebum build-up in pores.