Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Witch Hazel a bit of controversy


Last night someone on MUA asked about the benefits of witch hazel. A member posted a blog entry about it in which there was the following quote:

Be aware that the witch hazel you purchase in the drug store is generally steam distilled with added alcohol. It doesn't tend to contain those great tannins, so the alcohol is added to give the sensation of astringency.
                                                                                                                swiftcraftymonkey


At first, reading this I thought it was coming right off Wikipedia. As we all know, it's an open encyclopedia to which anyone can contribute. Doing research for my original post about witch hazel it would seem I wasn't asking the right questions.

Here are two entries I found that seem to confirm the absence of tannins in distilled witch hazel.
In the United States, there is another controversy about the remedial benefit of witch hazel. Hamamelis water, when distilled, contains no tannin. Distilled witch hazel consists of a mixture of 14% of alcohol in water with a trace of volatile oil. The astringent effect of witch hazel is due to an alcohol content similar to that of red wine. But the unstudied volatile oils exert some effects similar to topical tannin, and are also antimicrobial.
                                                                                             Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine 
In the United States, there is another controversy about the remedial benefit of witch hazel. Hamamelis water, when distilled, contains no tannin. Distilled witch hazel consists of a mixture of 14% alcohol in water with a trace of volatile oil. The astringent effect of witch hazel is due to an alcohol content similar to that of red wine. But the unstudied volatile oils exert some effects similar to topical tannin, and are also antimicrobial.
                                                                                                                                      altmd.com

Two very similar statements!

I honestly don't think that the alcohol content is alone responsible for the benefits to my skin. Like I stated in my original post about witch hazel, t-zone less oily, toned down redness. Alcohol may have an effect on the first but not on the second.

Thayer's is the brand that sells readily available witch hazel without alcohol. The problem is, some of the other ingredients in the different options they offer, can be tricky depending on ones skin. I would not consider the ones with lemon, lavender or even peach.




Thayer's Original Witch Hazel w/Aloe Vera Astringent

Thayer's Alcohol-Free Original Witch Hazel Toner

Alcohol-Free  Rose Petal Witch Hazel




As I get more information about this I will update. If any of you readers have any, please do leave a comment. I will also keep my eyes open next time I go to a health food store. I will ask about the availability of alcohol-free witch hazel. 

For more information about witch hazel se my previous entry: Witch Hazel

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