So What’s the Deal with Witch Hazel – Is it Good or Bad For Skin?
We’ve recently become aware of an article written by @paulaschoice titled “Why Witch Hazel is a Problem for Skin”, and we can’t help but notice how it’s fired up the online discussion, debates (comment sections have been lit) and controversial opinions behind witch hazel. Today, we’re telling our side of the story, starting off with: she makes some accurate points!
However, witch hazel itself is such a broad term and what many people don’t know is that not all witch hazel is made the same way!
In fact, there are a number of different extraction and distillation methods various brands use to create witch hazel. These methods make a huge difference on how the final product will affect skin. Plus, witch hazel itself is just one ingredient that when paired with certain other natural ingredients can have amazing benefits for any skin type.
In this blog, we do a deep dive into what makes Thayers witch hazel so unique (hint: it’s our unique extraction method) and how we develop our formulas with other natural ingredients to make products that will benefit any skin type.
How Is Thayers Witch Hazel Made?
Witch hazel extract has been a legacy ingredient of Thayers for over 150 years. Just like any other ingredient, the way it’s extracted and used makes all the difference. This is why we use a unique maceration method to soak our witch hazel clippings in water alongside our organic Aloe Vera to create our proprietary Witch Hazel Aloe Vera blend. This method is similar to brewing a cup of tea. We’ve worked with our formulators and dermatologists to create and test a formula we’re proud of, and we are certain is it unlike any other witch hazel product on the market
Now that we know how our witch hazel is made, let’s break it down even further by answering some of the most common questions we hear about witch hazel
Are The Tannins in Witch Hazel Bad For My Skin?
It’s been stated that tannins aren’t beneficial and are harmful for skin. Contrary, tannins are in fact quite beneficial to the skin! In addition to being an effective natural astringent, they are found to be antioxidant (Touriño, et al., 2008) and are known to help improve the skin barrier. (Nakamura et al., 2018).
While tannins can be drying to some skin types, Thayers formula contains certified organic aloe vera and glycerin; ingredients known for their hydrating and moisture-binding properties added to keep our witch hazel from drying out skin. Our facial toners have been dermatologist tested on a cross-section of the population and have been deemed safe and non-damaging to skin.
Does All Witch Hazel Have Alcohol?
Most witch hazel extracts are distilled or otherwise extracted using alcohol. As we mentioned about and also illustrated in Chem 101 & 201, Thayers has purposefully adopted our unique maceration technique to create our witch hazel extract. Remember, the Golden rule of toner school is that Thayers toners are alcohol-free and alcohol is never used in our extraction process. A common misconception is also that the witch hazel plant naturally contains alcohol, and that’s simply not the case. Its astringent properties come from tannins.
Does Witch Hazel Cause Skin Irritation?
The witch hazel plant naturally contains eugenol, a potential skin irritant and allergen. Thayers unique maceration technique uses water only to create our witch hazel extract. This means the eugenol is virtually not present in the final product.
In fact, we’ve confirmed through a third-party independent lab that eugenol is undetected in our formula at 10 parts per billion. To put that in perspective, 1 part per billion is equal to 1 drop of oil in 500 barrels of water or 1 cent out of $10 million.
What Does It All Mean?
If you take away one point from the article, let it be Not All Witch Hazel is Created Equal.
The way the witch hazel in your skincare products is made really makes all the difference in terms of how it will affect your skin. Thayers takes great effort to make sure our witch hazel contains no alcohol and virtually no eugenol so it does not irritate skin. Plus, we pair our witch hazel with tried and true natural, botanical ingredients like aloe vera, rose petal, and green tea extract, to elevate it to the next level to help give you glowing, moisturized and smoother skin.
We appreciate the light Paula’s article has shed on witch hazel, as it allows us to tell the unique story surrounding our formula.e can confidently say there’s a reason Thayers has been around since 1847. Trust The Red Cap – Trust Thayers.
Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2008, 21, 3, 696–704
Nakamura T, Yoshida N, Yasoshima M, Kojima Y. Effect of tannic acid on skin barrier function. Exp Dermatol. 2018;27(8):824-826. doi:10.1111/exd.13478