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Thread: I am SO CONFUSED - is witch hazel really bad for rosacea skin?!?

  1. #1
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    Question I am SO CONFUSED - is witch hazel really bad for rosacea skin?!?

    Blusher with no P&Ps, often pinkish face and teeny little caps (which could perhaps still be saved) here!

    Alright, so it all started when I decided I could up my skin care routine with a toner. I looked Paula's choice way, but they're quite expensive, and someone said I might perhaps try witch hazel. I'd heard it's an irritant so I was reluctant, but eventually I read all the info I could find on it.

    There are many, many people on Skincareaddiction (a subreddit) who say witch hazel isn't that bad at all and can actually be helpful, especially for redness. They talk about alcohol-free one from Thayer's mostly.

    Witch hazel is an astringent and rich in tannins, which means it "constricts body tissues". That's mostly meant about pores/oil production which matters more for acne, but what really interested me is that these constrictive properties also can affect blood vessels and shrink their diameter. Then I looked up if anyone has ever used alcohol free witch hazel for rosacea-prone skin and there seems to be nothing. Even worse - witch hazel is said to be an irritant! I was thinking though, maybe it's said to be an irritant because it's often diluted with alcohol - and, in order to protect clueless customers with rosacea from slathering alcohol rich witch hazel on their faces, they're generally told to avoid all witch hazel?

    So could I try the alcohol-free witch hazel and use it as a toner? Or you'd want to talk me out of it?

    I'll be very happy about your answers

  2. #2
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    Did you go ahead and try it?

    I have tried the Thayers with aloe (not specifically to treat rosacea but just as a toner) and did not care for the sticky feeling it left on my skin. But a witch hazel extract that is lower in alcohol and has real rosewater added MIGHT be OK. I would probably buy from Mt Rose herbs or look for low alcohol preparations. Thayers claims to make a no-alcohol version but I am not sure witch hazel constituents can be extracted in anything other than alcohol (I would have to research this). Glycerin is commonly used in place of alcohol when alcohol is not desired in the final product and this is apparently what is in the Thayers alcohol free version, but usually a glycerin extract contains a lot less of the herbal constituents than an alcohol one and some herbs cannot be extracted using glycerin. Besides those concerns, even if you find a truly alcohol free version that contains a medicinal amount of witch hazel, the thing with astringents is that they tend to be drying and a lot of people with rosacea have a dry damaged skin barrier so anything more drying could be potentially more irritating. Not to totally dissuade you-- I would try it if you think it might help but with a cautious approach and using a product that you feel is the best for your situation. You can always quit if it seems to be making things worse.

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    I've tried various Paula's choice products, as well as being massive fan of the Nivea for men sensitive moisturiser in the past. Now on the point of the Nivea for mean, I know they changed the formula, but can't tell you for sure if witch hazel was an addition at one point. Anyway the point is I tried it again a few months back and definitely regretted it, not a massive reaction but my skin definitely didn't appreciate it, even tho it used to tolerate. Now I dunno if this is witch hazel being added or my skin become sensitive to it as I developed rosacea or whatever the hell I have, but from my experience With Hazel is without a doubt a problem! Paula's choice have not impressed me with their Rosacea appropriate products, or their "science" etc. Just my 2 cents.

    Oh and yeah Aloe Vera irritates my skin for similar reasons. It's frankly and honestly unlikely witch hazel will make a positive difference at all, and that's coming from me who chassis most potential fixes/aids for rosacea. I would recommend it against it, you're screaming over thinker/looker for a niche/very specific solution person to me. I should know I'm the biggest one myself!
    Last edited by skullmcrex; 20th November 2016 at 08:26 AM.

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    Thank you for the answers! I already thought I'll get nothing.

    Iwemm, I have it ordered and should get it in beginning of december. I bought Thayers alcohol free unscented witch hazel with aloe. I plan on using it as a toner. I don't know about distilation, I just decided to trust what the company claims about the product. Yeah, it could be drying - that's why the caution. I can leave a little update here on how it's going after a few weeks.

    Skullmcrex, thanks for your answer! But it might have been perhaps something else in the change of ingredients that irritated you.

  5. #5
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    I use an alcohol-free witch hazel toner. It's the Humphreys Alcohol-Free Cucumber Melon Witch Hazel Redness Reducing Facial Toner. I don't think it actually reduces my redness, but it doesn't make the redness worse. Nor does it cause any drying or other harm. It leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh. It also removes the last traces of my face makeup, which is a nice bonus.

    I tried the Thayer Rose Petal Alcohol-free Witch Hazel Toner and I didn't like it as much. It might have made my face redder (it's hard to tell since my face is so red), and my face didn't feel as clean afterwards.

    I know this is a couple of months after the original post, but I hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    There are two types of witch hazel products available:

    1. an extract from the wood and twigs. This is a brown product containing tannins and other polyphenols.

    2. a distilled "extract" from the distillation of twigs and leaves. This is clear and colourless and contains alcohol and a small amount of volatile oil.

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    Thanks for answers everyone!
    I got my Thayers and tried it out on my right cheek for about a week. In the beginning the treated cheek seemed quite better looking so I got all excited and stuff. However, a few days later the caps on it seemed more prominent and I often got small angioma-like thingies which healed in a day or so. Plus, my right cheek started to become hot and flushed at times so I stopped the witch hazel. Ugh

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