Witch hazel is a natural astringent that might help reduce swelling, repair broken skin and fight bacteria.
Witch hazel is a common ingredient used in many skincare products. It contains compounds with potent anti-inflammatory properties, including gallic acid and tannins that help soothe the redness of inflammation caused by breakouts or eczema.
This makes it an ideal natural remedy to treat diaper rash. As part of our series of natural home remedies for diaper rash, we are looking into natural treatments.
What is Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel is a deciduous shrub (or small tree) that grows throughout eastern and central North America. Though most commonly known as witch hazel, this plant species has many other common names including winter bloom, fragrant sumac, scarlet-barked sumac, spice-bark, fothergilla, and odor-bark.
Witch hazel has been used for centuries by Native American tribes who have traditionally applied this plant to the skin to promote healing of cuts, bruises and boils.
Witch hazel is an astringent and anti-inflammatory that can be used to relieve minor skin irritation and itching. It’s a good natural alternative for many commercial products and has been used for centuries. It’s a very safe product – it has been used for years as a folk remedy and is readily available in many pharmacies.
Witch hazel can be bought at most supermarkets. It comes in a gel form which can be squeezed out of the bottle or applied with a cotton bud.
How Does Witch Hazel Work
Witch hazel is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, including gallic acid and tannins.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel contains substances called tannins that tighten skin and reduce water loss. This makes it a popular skincare ingredient that is used in a variety of products, from creams and lotions to makeup removers.
Studies have found that witch hazel may help treat a variety of skin conditions, from acne and psoriasis to sunburns and ulcers.
In addition to its traditional uses as a natural remedy for skincare issues, studies indicate that witch hazel can be used to treat diaper rash.
Can witch hazel be used on babies for healing diaper rash?
Witch hazel can be used on adults, children and babies of all ages – from pre-natal to elderly. It’s especially useful if you have tried other remedies that haven’t worked for you in the past, or if you are looking to avoid commercial products with heavy chemicals.
Witch hazel can be used on babies, but you should always dilute it before applying to the skin. In particular, using witch hazel straight from the bottle could burn a baby’s sensitive skin because of the high concentration of tannins in the plant.
Witch hazel should not be given orally to babies until they are at least 6 years old.
How to Use Witch Hazel for Nappy Rash
To use witch hazel to treat a nappy rash, simply shake the bottle well and apply a few drops of the solution onto a clean cloth before wiping over your baby’s bottom. The solution should be applied as often as required until the nappy rash disappears.
You can also use make a witch hazel solution of water and witch hazel and put in a spray bottle. Spray this over the clean diaper area at diaper change time and allow to air dry thoroughly before you put a fresh diaper back on.
If you want to ensure your baby’s skin remains soft and supple, why not try massaging warm olive oil into their skin once the nappy rash has cleared up?
Witch Hazel Butt Paste Recipe
If you would prefer to make your own witch hazel diaper rash cream, simply mix together:
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil which is great for diaper rash)
- 5 tablespoons of Shea butter (or cocoa butter) (shea butter is great for diaper rash)
- 1/4 cup of undilted witch hazel
- A few drops of tea tree oil
Mix the ingredients welland store in a small, airtight container ready for use.
What Precautions Should I Take When Using Witch Hazel for Treating Diaper Rash?
If you want to prevent diaper rash or want to use more natural diaper rash medications, then witch hazel is a fantastic option to treat irritated skin. Along with aloe vera, these plants have been used topically for thousands of years. Aloe vera gel can be combined with witch hazel to treat diaper rash.
Using Witch Hazel for Treatment of Diaper Rash
Witch hazel can be used either diluted or undiluted on diaper rash. If you are using it undiluted, it is best to use only every few hours and try to keep the diaper off for as long as possible.
Using Witch Hazel Diluted on Diaper Rash
You can also use witch hazel diluted – simply mix 1 part witch hazel with 5 parts water, or use one of the many pre-mixed solutions that are available. Pre-mixed solutions are readily available at your local pharmacy, or you can make your own pre-mixed solution using the recipe below:
Makes 1 cup of Witch Hazel Solution
• 2 tablespoons witch hazel extract OR 4 ounces alcohol-free witch hazel extract
• ½ teaspoon vegetable glycerine – this helps to prevent the solution from drying out too quickly
• 1 cup distilled water OR boiled filtered water – you can use tap water, but distilled or boiled filtered water is best as it will reduce the risk of bacteria growth.
Combine ingredients and transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before using andstore in a cool, dark place.
Using Witch Hazel Solution for Diaper Rash:
Shake well before using, and apply the solution using a clean cloth or cotton ball. You can reapply as often as required throughout the day – I find that my daughter’s nappy rash is cleared within 24 hours when I use this kind of treatment.
Of course, if the rash is worse or does not improve within a day or two, you should consult your doctor.
You can also add your solution to babies bath and it will help soothe the rash whilst bathing. We’ve done a whole series on how bathing helps treat diaper rash.
Why Witch Hazel Works for Diaper Rash
Witch hazel works very well for a variety of skin ailments – from nappy rash to minor cuts and scrapes to itching caused by hemorrhoids. The reason for this is that witch hazel helps to tighten and tone the skin – it does this by working as a natural astringent, which reduces inflammation and helps to constrict the blood vessels that supply excess fluid to the area.
Witch hazel also has mild antiseptic properties, which can help to reduce the chance of infection. It is important to note that you should not use witch hazel if you have very sensitive skin as it may cause irritation, and you should not apply witch hazel undiluted to large areas of the body – doing so may cause adverse effects.
Additionally, do not use this or any other remedy for diaper rash if your child has a fever or if the rash covers a large area of the body.
Is Witch Hazel safe with Cloth Diapers?
Yes, whether you are using disposable diapers or cloth diapers, using witch hazel is perfectly safe. You can launder cloth diapers in witch hazel without any adverse issues, unlike many diaper rash products which can cause the cloth to repel. Read our guide to which diaper rash creams work with cloth diapers.
Can Witch Hazel be Used for Yeast Infections?
Yes, Witch hazel helps reduce swelling and fight bacteria, which in turn decreases pain and helps prevent infection. You may want to combine it with apple cider vinegar to kill the yeast spores. You can also use it alongside breast milk in the diaper region.
Diaper rashes often lead to yeast rashes if the baby’s diaper area is not kept clean and dry. When you baby has diaper rashes you need to do much more frequent diaper changes. Changing diapers immediately helps clear up diaper rashes and is one of the best diaper rash remedies there is.