What are the side effects of witch hazel?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Witch hazel is generally considered very safe and is commonly used for its various medicinal and skincare benefits. However, like any natural remedy or product, there can be potential side effects to be aware of. While these side effects are not common, it is still important to understand and recognize them.

1. Skin Dryness: Witch hazel is often used topically as a natural astringent to tighten and tone the skin. However, for some individuals, it may cause skin dryness or irritation. This is more likely to occur if you have sensitive or dry skin. If you experience dryness or any discomfort after using witch hazel on your skin, it is best to discontinue its use and consult with a dermatologist.

2. Allergic Reaction: Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to witch hazel. This can manifest as redness, itching, rash, or swelling of the skin. If you have a known allergy to other plants in the Hamamelidaceae family, such as ragweed or mugwort, you may be more prone to developing an allergic reaction to witch hazel. If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction, immediately stop using witch hazel and seek medical attention.

3. Upset Stomach: Witch hazel can also be taken internally in the form of tea or tincture. However, consuming large amounts of witch hazel internally can cause stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. It is crucial to follow recommended dosages and consult with a healthcare professional before ingesting witch hazel orally.

4. Potential Liver-Related Problems: While extremely rare, there have been a few reported cases of liver-related problems associated with high doses of witch hazel. These cases primarily involved individuals who consumed large amounts of witch hazel orally or used it excessively over a prolonged period. However, it is important to note that these cases are very uncommon, and there is limited scientific evidence to establish a direct causal relationship between witch hazel and liver problems.

To ensure safe usage, it is always advisable to patch test any new skincare product or remedy before applying it to a larger area of your skin. This can help identify any potential adverse reactions or sensitivities.

It’s worth mentioning that personal experiences with witch hazel can vary. While many people find it to be a gentle and effective natural remedy, others may have different reactions. It’s essential to listen to your body and discontinue use if you experience any discomfort or adverse effects.

Witch hazel is generally safe to use, but it’s important to be aware of possible side effects. These can include skin dryness, allergic reactions, upset stomach when taken internally, and extremely rare instances of liver-related problems. If you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions, it is always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before using witch hazel.