Asian teen applying toner with a cotton pad while holding a mirror.

Once upon a time, dermatologists advised against using toners because formulas back then irritated the skin and stripped off its natural oils. Today, thanks to the emergence of Korean essences and other innovations, most are gentler and kinder to the skin. Here’s the lowdown on one of the most popular toning ingredients, witch hazel. Should you use it to address your acne?

What Is Witch Hazel?

Witch hazel comes from the Hamamelis virginiana or witch hazel plant, a shrub native to North America and Japan. It was first used as a traditional medicinal plant by the Native Americans to treat poison ivy, cuts, and bruises. The leaves and bark are harvested and distilled to bring out active chemical compounds that give witch hazel anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.

Witch hazel treats many skin conditions, including itchiness and irritation. It also regulates sebum production. Because of its ability to remove excess oil on the skin, it's mostly used to treat acne.

Witch Hazel for Acne

According to a on using herbs to treat skin issues, witch hazel can be applied topically as an astringent or toner to control acne. It has antimicrobial properties that fight bacteria on the skin, and anti-inflammatory properties that calm redness. It is also known for its drying effect on the skin, making it an excellent ingredient to remove any excess that can clog pores.

How to Use Witch Hazel

Witch hazel works best in alcohol-free toners that control oil without over-drying the skin.

Before applying your toner, cleanse your skin with POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Acne Control Facial Foam. It has Active Thymo-BHA and vitamin B3+ to help reduce impurities, excess oil, and accumulation of acne-causing bacteria. For those looking for a cleanser with brightening and antioxidant protection, try Eskinol Pimple Relief Facial Wash. It is infused with cica from Korea and to help brighten and soothe pimple-prone skin.

Next, do a patch test and apply the toner on your arm. If your skin doesn’t develop any reactions, pat on your witch hazel toner, focusing on areas prone to excess oil production, such as your T-zone. Do not apply it all over your face, especially if you have or .

Finally, spot-treat bigger zits with Eskinol Pimple Relief Serum. Aside from treating acne, it also helps fade pimple marks and is gentle enough to use day and night. Apply sunscreen all over your face and body to prevent UV rays from further damaging your skin.

Witch Hazel Side Effects

Although witch hazel is safe for all skin types, it may trigger an in some people. Introduce it to your routine gradually by applying it every other day. Since its claim to fame is drying out excess oil, it could cause dehydration and breakouts if you already have dry or sensitive skin. Stop using it if you experience any redness or rashes.

Fighting acne is never easy and entails a lot of frustrating trial and error. Witch hazel is an all-natural acne solution that might be worth exploring if your current acne treatment isn’t doing it for you. As with all new things, talk to a doctor about what’s best for your skin. In the case of witch hazel, if it means finally ending your acne problem, it might be worth a shot!