Toner is marketed as part of skincare regimes, but is it really good for our skin? We take a look.
Toning is not required for skin health, and in some cases can be detrimental to your skin by stripping it of its natural barrier of oil. Many cosmetic counters sell these toners, which come in a variety of forms, despite the reason toner was originally developed being to remove soap scum from our faces after using hard water and certain types of soap. Toner is a very old-fashioned idea, since most people don’t use hard water or those types of soap anymore, but newer toners are making a home for themselves in bathrooms across the globe. Some people love their toner.
The reason soap residue used to be a problem is because it irritated the skin after use, so you would get a good clean, but be left with an uncomfortable problem. Toner solved this adequately using alcohol to dissolve the soap and relieve the irritation, tightening skin due to its astringent action. It is often made from alcohol, which is innately drying to skin, which can be good or bad, depending on your skin type.
Toners may now sold as ‘pore reducers’ since – just like cold water – if you splash cold toner on your face, your pores will tighten. This effect is very temporary, but may last for the period of time that you are in front of the mirror applying your face care. Toner may also be used to remove stubborn makeup residue, like waterproof mascara.
Forumulations really vary, with some containing witch hazel, or alcohol, or other astringent ingredients. Astringents stitch proteins together, causing the same feeling of dryness in the mouth you get from drinking high-tannin (so high-astringent) red wine.
You could actually use toner, in some cases, in place of cleanser, or as an oil-blot. Toners nowadays can contain any number of treatment-type ingredients, including mild acids as exfoliants, a moisturiser to trap hydration in place, or other nourishing, stimulating or drying ingredients as per the purpose.
If you are thinking about using toner as part of your daily routine, check with your cosmetic dermatologist to make sure the formulation suits your skin and serves its purpose without doing you damage. Next time you have an appointment, take all your products in to the clinic to be checked.
Contact us to review your face care.