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What Are Witch Hazel Pads?

Witch hazel pads are used to cleanse the skin and as an astringent.
Witch hazel pads are gentle enough to be used on acne-prone skin.
The witch hazel plant provides the astringent commonly used to cleanse and disinfect skin.
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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2014
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Witch hazel pads are small pads of sterile material that have been soaked in witch hazel and packaged for individual use. Witch hazel is often used as an astringent to cleanse or disinfect the skin and, as such, the pads can be used for first aid purposes or to cleanse the skin for beauty purposes. They are sometimes used in the place of similar products that use rubbing alcohol as a disinfectant or cleanser. Some people prefer to use witch hazel products instead of other disinfectants such as rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide because they believe it is more natural and, in some cases, has a less astringent scent.

There are a number of doctors who recommend witch hazel pads to pregnant women and women who have recently given birth. Many pregnant women suffer from hemorrhoids, which these pads can be used to treat. Also, some women who have vaginal births instead of Caesarean sections use them. This is because many women who give vaginal birth experience a vaginal tear, or have to have an episiotomy, which is a surgical cut to widen the opening of the vagina.

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In these cases, witch hazel pads can be used to heal the cut or torn skin and also to help reduce the risk of infection. It is sometimes recommended to chill the pads in a refrigerator prior to using them. This allows them to double as a tool to clean and disinfect the wound as well as a cold compress, which can help to ease any pain in the area. Chilled pads can also be used to help ease the pain of hemorrhoids.

Witch hazel pads can also be used to help treat acne. There are a number of cleansers, toners, astringents, and even moisturizers made with witch hazel that are intended for use by people who are battling acne. For people who want to be able to cleanse and disinfect their skin even when they are away from home, pads soaked in witch hazel are often a good choice. They are very easy to transport and can be used for people who find their skin becomes oily in the middle of the day when it is not possible to return home and repeat their normal skin care routine.

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andee
Post 14

I have a friend who is a nurse and she is the one who recommended I use a witch hazel ointment after giving birth to my daughter.

This is the first time I had ever heard of this product, but I quickly found out how healing it was. I think I healed more quickly and had less pain than I would have if I had not used the witch hazel.

I always keep some on hand now in my medicine cabinet. You never know when you are going to need it, and I would rather use something that is more natural than a lot of the other choices out there.

Mykol
Post 13

@LisaLou - It sounds like you had better luck using witch hazel as an astringent than I did. I too thought I would save some money and use witch hazel instead of my cleansing toner.

I didn't think it did as good of a job cleansing my skin as my regular astringent did. I also missed the nice smell that my cleanser had. There isn't much of a smell to the witch hazel, and I really missed it.

The pads sound like something that would be worth buying to have on hand though. I probably wouldn't use them on a daily basis, but they would work great when we go camping.

We backpack in the mountains and many times I don't go to the bother of heating up water to wash my face at night. Using something like a witch hazel pad would be much better than not using anything at all.

They could also double as a first aid disinfectant in case I needed one and wouldn't take up much room in my pack.

LisaLou
Post 12

When I found out about witch hazel, I stopped using my expensive astringent that I was buying from a skin care company.

I can buy this at a fraction of the cost I was spending on the astringent and it works just as well.

The brand that I always find in my pharmacy is Dickinson's witch hazel. I wonder if they sell this brand in the pads?

I would always buy it in a bottle and use a cotton ball to apply it to my face to remove all traces of dirt and makeup.

Using the pads would be great to take to the gym and use whenever I am traveling. It would be a lot more convenient than packing a bottle full of liquid.

golf07
Post 11

These witch hazel pads sound like a wonderful idea to have on hand for a first aid solution.

I have used witch hazel cream for my hemorrhoids. I would put this cream in the refrigerator so it was cold. This felt very soothing and was effective at the same time.

Witch hazel is one of those products that has been around a long time, but many people have never heard of it.

It has such an interesting name, that once you hear about it, you find it easy to remember. Even so, it is not always very easy to find. The last time I was looking for some, I found it on the very bottom shelf tucked halfway behind some other product.

KaBoom
Post 10

@starrynight - I've been using witch hazel since I was younger too. It's so versatile, I think everyone should keep some witch hazel toner in their medicine cabinet.

However, I actually know a lot of people that have no idea what witch hazel is! Since we always had some in the house when I was growing up, I always assumed everyone used witch hazel. But that's just not the case! I think it's one of those things like cold cream that used to be popular but just isn't that widely used anymore.

starrynight
Post 9

I grew up using Thayers witch hazel for various purposes. My mom is a big fan of the stuff, so we always had some in the house. We used it for first aid when I was younger, then as I got older I used it to cleanse my face.

I had acne in high school, but nothing too serious. Instead of using harsh chemicals, I used witch hazel to keep my acne under control, and it worked really, really well. I still use witch hazel if my skin starts looking greasy.

ddljohn
Post 8

@burcidi-- I agree with you about the lack of choices. I've only come across two brands that offer this product and I believe that was Dickinson's and Tuck's witch hazel pads. Does anyone know any others?

I don't really use witch hazel pads for beauty but that does seem like a good idea. I used them extensively during my postpartum though. I had stitches and a bad case of hemorrhoids afterward and these pads made my life a little easier.

It was a difficult time. I was taking care of my son by myself and my stitches hadn't completely healed yet. I might have gotten an infection if I didn't have these pads on hand.

burcidi
Post 7
I love witch hazel astringent in general, I've been using it for years as part of my skin care routine. The pads are even better because they're so easy to use on the go.

The first time I bought the pads was when the flight restrictions for liquids had just been put in place. I travel a lot for my job and I usually just take a carry on with me. It's kind of hard to take beauty products with you when you can't carry any liquids. I found these witch hazel pads at the pharmacy then and they were so cheap that I had to try them. I've been using them since!

I use the one which also has aloe in it so it's like a face cleanser/toner and moisturizer in one. I throw these in my purse and carry-on and use it throughout my trip. It's fantastic.

I do wish that there were more brands who made this product though, that would give mo more choices to pick from. I like the one I'm using now, but I wouldn't mind a more softer, thicker pad. This is the only thing that kind of bothers me about it. The pads are a bit too thin and not as soft as I would like.

bear78
Post 6

Pre-moistened witch hazel pads is one of several items I always keep in my purse.

Like the article said they're great for any first aid needs. I usually use them when I get blisters from my shoes in the middle of the day and I can't go back home. I clean the blister with a witch hazel pad, put on a band-aid and I'm good to go.

I also use it to clean up my makeup a bit before reapplying it. It's really is great for keeping skin fresh and oil-free throughout the day. It even helps remove makeup and can definitely be used as a toner.

I even use these sometimes as an antiseptic wipe. I usually carry wipes with me but if I run out or forget to bring them, witch hazel pads work just as well and maybe even better.

cloudel
Post 5

If I go camping or hiking, I always bring some witch hazel pads with me in my bag. It seems that no matter how much insect repellant I use, the mosquitoes still like the taste of my skin, and witch hazel helps take some of the itchiness out of the bites.

I used to use alcohol on bug bites, but it burns too much. Witch hazel has a very gentle, soothing quality. As soon as I swipe a pad across my irritated skin, it starts to feel better.

I don’t know who first discovered that witch hazel was good for this, but I am grateful to him. I am also grateful to whoever decided to start packaging it in the form of saturated pads.

OeKc05
Post 4

Cold witch hazel pads are so soothing to hemorrhoids. A flareup can be so painful, but soaking the area with a few chilly pads provides almost instant relief.

I tried the pads at room temperature first, and they didn’t seem to help very much. I think that the cold is half of the soothing power. Of course, having witch hazel in the pads is much better than having simply a cold wet cloth on the area.

The only downside is that I have to use them at home. If I am in pain at work, I can’t sit at my desk with witch hazel pads in my underwear, because the moisture might leak through to my skirt.

StarJo
Post 3

@wavy58 - I think that witch hazel is one of the best acne treatments out there, and the pads are very convenient. I don’t have to worry about spilling it out of the bottle when pouring it onto a cotton ball, and I can stash them in my purse.

The pads seem to somehow dry out the bump without overdrying my skin. In other words, the area doesn’t get flaky and itchy, yet the bump doesn’t grow, and the witch hazel seems to stop the cycle.

I don’t wear makeup, and my nose can get very oily by lunch time. So, I wipe it off with a witch hazel pad to prevent blackheads from forming. So, it is also a good preventive measure.

wavy58
Post 2

Has anyone here ever used witch hazel pads to treat acne? I have used them on insect bites before, but I’ve never tried them on my face. I’m curious about how well they might work for this.

I need something that is less harsh than the benzoyl peroxide found in many acne products, because it dries my skin out way too much and actually makes my acne worse. I end up just squeezing the pimple, and then I have a scar that lasts for a couple of weeks.

It would be awesome if witch hazel pads could clear up my bumps. I think if I had something that worked, I could resist the urge to squeeze them.

anon258624
Post 1

Can I use witch hazel for vulval pain? The doctor gave me hormone cream and steroid cream, but they've done no good. Will this help?

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