Witch hazel is widely regarded as a home remedy for psoriasis symptoms. It can help relieve symptoms, including pain and itching but may also cause side effects in some people.

Witch hazel is a topical astringent that can help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. It works by reducing excess oil on the skin while still maintaining hydration. This can prevent overdrying, a common side effect of some skin conditions.

Although some people use witch hazel alone, some products combine witch hazel with other ingredients. This includes aloe vera gel, menthol, and tea tree oil.

Currently, there isn’t any recent research to support or advise against the use of witch hazel for psoriasis. If you want to add witch hazel to your skin care regimen, you’ll want to speak with a doctor. They can help you determine whether this is the best option for you.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect the skin and nails. In people with psoriasis, skin cells turn over faster than average. This causes skin cells to rapidly build up on the skin’s surface, creating rough patches of irritation and inflammation.

Symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the type of psoriasis. They can include:

  • irritated skin
  • red skin patches on fair skin tones
  • salmon-colored and silvery-white patches on medium skin tones
  • violet, dark brown, or gray scales on darker skin tones
  • cracked or dry skin that may bleed
  • ridged or pitted nails
  • pain and discomfort on the skin

Although the cause of this condition is unknown, researchers believe there may be a genetic link. Certain triggers can also prompt a flare-up. These triggers include:

  • stress
  • extensive sun exposure
  • smoking
  • heavy alcohol use
  • dry skin
  • certain medications

You may also be at greater risk of developing psoriasis if you have overweight, obesity, or a compromised immune system.

Psoriasis is a lifelong condition. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and improving your overall quality of life. Some people find relief with different topical medications or light therapies. At-home treatments and lifestyle changes may also provide relief.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved witch hazel for use as an active pharmaceutical ingredient. You may have seen witch hazel on your local grocery or drugstore shelf. The over-the-counter (OTC) astringent is derived from the Hamamelis virginiana plant, native to North America. The distilled liquid at stores comes from the plant’s dried leaves, bark, and twigs.

The plant is considered a natural antioxidant and widely regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties.

It has antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-tumoral components.

Witch hazel has traditionally been used to treat many skin conditions. This includes:

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel may help ease typical psoriasis symptoms.

Although doctors prescribe many topical medications for people with psoriasis that may perform these same functions, witch hazel is entirely drug-free. It’s also available without a prescription.

Be sure to read the label of your witch hazel product carefully, though. Some organic varieties may contain alcohol, which can dry skin and make symptoms worse. Other varieties may also contain added fragrance, so you may prefer unscented options if fragrance irritates your skin.

Consider looking for varieties that contain benzoic acid in place of alcohol. This preservative is less irritating than standard alcohol. It may be better suited for people with psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Generally, people can use witch hazel topically without experiencing side effects. But if you have sensitive skin or spend a lot of time in the sun, you may develop irritation.

Do a patch test before applying witch hazel to a large portion of your body. To do this, apply a small amount to a quarter-sized area of your skin. If you experience any side effects within 24 hours of using, witch hazel may not be the best treatment for you.

Allergic reaction

In rare instances, some people may have an allergic reaction to witch hazel. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • hives
  • itching

If you encounter these symptoms after using witch hazel, discontinue use.

Some allergic reactions may be severe. If you experience respiratory symptoms or other concerning symptoms, call 911 or your local emergency services. Symptoms may include:

  • wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
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You may want to avoid witch hazel if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. There isn’t enough research to determine whether witch hazel is safe for use during these times.

Witch hazel isn’t approved for internal use. Ingesting it may lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as indigestion and constipation. Repeatedly ingesting large amounts of witch hazel can also lead to kidney and liver damage.

There isn’t a set treatment method for using witch hazel to soothe psoriasis symptoms. Some people find that combining it with glycerin produces the best results.

To do this, it’s recommended that you combine these two ingredients together in equal parts. Store them in a spray bottle so you can easily spritz the affected area.

You can also use witch hazel on your scalp. For psoriasis on the scalp, you can massage witch hazel directly onto the hair after washing. You should massage the area until the astringent is fully absorbed into the scalp. From there, you can rinse the astringent out and style your hair as you normally would.

These treatments may improve symptoms for some people, but they aren’t a guaranteed fix.

Speak with a doctor before using any at-home treatments, especially if you’re already using other topical medications to treat your psoriasis symptoms.

The following includes frequently asked questions about witch hazel and psoriasis.

Can you use witch hazel on psoriasis?

Witch hazel is FDA-approved to relieve minor skin irritations. While it’s not approved specifically for psoriasis, its anti-inflammatory properties may help relieve symptoms of psoriasis. It’s best to patch-test any new product in a small area for 24 hours before applying it to a larger area of skin.

What clears psoriasis fast?

There’s no cure for psoriasis, but a doctor can recommend treatment depending on the severity of your symptoms. This may include topical products, oral medications, or other therapies, such as light therapy.

Does witch hazel help eczema and psoriasis?

Witch hazel has antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial compounds that may help reduce symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. You may want to look for a variety that doesn’t contain alcohol, as it can further dry and irritate the skin.

What not to put on psoriasis?

If you have psoriasis, you may want to avoid products that can dry out or irritate your skin. These may include products containing alcohol, fragrance, or any substances you have a sensitivity to.

If you’re interested in using witch hazel to soothe your psoriasis symptoms, there are a few things you can do now:

  • Ask a dermatologist or doctor if this treatment is a good option for you.
  • Select a product that contains benzoic acid instead of alcohol to avoid irritation.
  • Do a patch test on a small area of your skin before applying it to a large portion of your body.

Although there isn’t specific scientific evidence yet to suggest that witch hazel is an effective psoriasis treatment, anecdotal reports suggest there may be a benefit. Some believe it’s worth a try because of its affordability and wide availability.

Remember: Always ask a doctor before you try anything new on your skin, especially if you have a diagnosed skin condition. They can help make sure that it won’t interact with your current treatment plan.