TONERS – DO YOU REALLY NEED ONE?
Toners have become a confusing category of skincare products. Because of misperceptions, many fashion magazines, dermatologists, and even cosmetics salespeople advise against using a toner, or they simply dismiss toners as an
optional step. That’s disappointing, because a well-formulated toner can provide truly amazing benefts for your skin.
TONERS – DO YOU REALLY NEED ONE?
Once you understand how toners work, and know what ingredients are bad for skin versus what ingredients to look for, you’ll fnd a toner can be the perfect addition to your skincare routine for achieving a healthy, radiant glow!
Toners are meant to be used after cleansing. They were once recommended as a way to restore skin’s pH balance after using a bar soap or bar cleanser because, as mentioned, those types of cleansers can raise skin’s natural pH to a level that isn’t good for your skin. However, with today’s gentle, water-soluble cleansers, which are formulated at a pH of 5 to 7—water has a pH of around 7, depending on region—this has become a non-issue.
What we now know is that after cleansing, your skin needs a range of ingredients to restore and repair its surface. A liquid toner can instantly give skin a generous dose of these important substances in a way that a moisturizer can’t (lotion and cream moisturizers work in a diﬀerent manner than liquids). Plus, you can’t give your skin too much of these important ingredients, which include antioxidants and skin-repairing substances such as glycerin, fatty acids, and ceramides.
The right toner can give your skin a healthy dose of what it needs to look younger, fresher, and smoother, right after cleansing and throughout the day, as well as provide a bit of extra cleansing just in case you missed some areas, such as around your hairline or jaw.
Toners for oily or breakout-prone skin: If you have oily or breakout-prone skin, you need to be especially careful when shopping for toners. Almost without exception, the toners that claim to be specifcally for these skin types and concerns are a problem. That’s because most toners for oily, breakout-prone skin contain irritants (such as alcohol, witch hazel, or menthol) that hurt your skin’s healing process, make breakouts worse, delay healing, and, surprisingly, stimulate oil production at the base of the pore. Using the
wrong toner on oily, breakout-prone skin guarantees you’ll see more oil, redness, and longer-lasting red marks, and possibly a dry, ﬂaky surface with oily skin underneath.
The toners that are best for oily or breakout-prone skin are those with ingredients that help repair skin’s surface, make skin feel smoother, reduce enlarged pores, and contain cell-communicating ingredients that help pores handle excess oil in a more effcient manner. For some skin types, especially during summer or in warmer climates, a well-formulated toner may be the only “moisturizer” your oily skin needs!
Toners for dry or sensitive skin: Those with dry or sensitive skin typically shy away from toners because of their astringent, drying reputation. After all, the last thing dry, sensitive skin needs are irritants that make it sting or become even drier or redder! But, the right toner for dry or sensitive skin can make a world of diﬀerence: You’ll see less redness, less ﬂaking, and your skin will feel soothed and comfortable.
If you’re skeptical (and we can’t say we blame you) give a well-formulated toner a try—we know you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how fast your skin improves!
Toners for combination skin: If your skin is oily on your forehead, nose, and chin and dry to normal on your cheeks and jaw area, then you have classic combination skin. Using the wrong toner on combination skin will exaggerate the dry areas and make oily areas worse (this is doubly true if breakouts and clogged pores are present).
What’s the solution? You need a gentle, alcohol-free toner with ingredients that help normalize your skin, so you’ll see less dryness and reduced oiliness. With ongoing use as part of a complete skincare routine, you’ll also see enlarged pores become smaller.
When shopping for toners it’s critical that you consider only those that treat your skin to nothing but beneffcial ingredients. There’s never—never—a good reason to use a toner with irritants (especially fragrance—natural or synthetic, as it’s a serious problem for skin, and witch hazel, which often shows up in these types of products), regardless of the “gentle” or “good for sensitive skin” claims on the label. Despite its frequent appearance, witch hazel can be a skin irritant.