Monday, 9 September 2013

Skincare Series | Do I really need to use a toner?

What is a Toner? And do I really need to use it? These are questions I used to always ask myself when I didn't know much about skincare. I would always hear the phrase 'Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise' but skip the toning step and just slap on some moisturiser instead.

Since investing some time into learning about my skin, how it works and what I should be doing to keep it looking healthy.. I have learned quite a bit about the many uses of toner and why it really is an important step in our daily skincare routine. It's often over-looked by many women who simply don't have the time to be faffing around with different skincare products and generally don't understand the benefits of using it.

So what exactly is a Toner and what is it used for?
Toner is a mild astringent liquid usually made up of alcohol, glycerin and other various skin conditioning properties such as rosewater, witch hazel and menthol. Other ingredients can also be added like boric acid, vinegar or herbs. The liquid is then used on the skin to remove oiliness, any leftover make-up residue, dead skin cells and to also stimulate blood circulation. We would generally use a toner after cleansing. They were originally used as a way of restoring the skins natural pH balance after cleansing with harsh soaps, but with today's gentle cleanser formulas.. many people would see using toner as an unnecessary step and skip it. However, using the right kind of toner for your skin can really help to make it appear younger, fresher and more refined on the surface.

I know what it does, but do I REALLY need it?
There are many arguments about who needs it and who doesn't. Claims about it stripping the skins natural pH balance and becoming too drying for people with dryer skin types. The fact of the matter is that everybody can benefit from the use of a Toner, it's all about finding the right one for your skin. Everyone should incorporate toner into their daily cleansing routine as the benefits can be seen and felt almost instantly. On the other hand though, absolutely do not use a toner if their are irritating ingredients in it which will aggravate your skin. Alcohol (high percentages of alcohol) and overly fragranced ingredients WILL cause irritation to your skin and interrupt it's natural healing process, reducing healthy collagen production. This will bring no goodness to your skin whatsoever and therefore defeats the purpose of applying toner in the first place.

So I have dry skin, won't using a toner dry it out even more?
Not necessarily. Using a toner which is gentle yet moisturising is important here. Most people assume adding a toner to already dry skin will make things even worse, but in actual fact the right toner could improve redness, flaky patches and soothe the tight uncomfortable areas. Look for a product which contains humectants, aloe-vera and is alcohol-free. Humectants such as glycerin and rosewater help the skin to retain moisture by stopping it from evaporating. These will be most beneficial to dry/dehydrated skin types.

I have Oily skin. I've heard that toner will only cause my skin to overproduce more oil?
People with oily skin types find toner most beneficial to them because it helps to remove excess oils and greatly improves enlarged pores. However, a lot of people often assume that stripping the skin of these oils will cause the skin to become defensive and therefore react by increasing oil production even more. This is not the case. There is no mechanism in the skin which will send negative feedback to our oil glands that the skin has become dry and needs to now compensate for that problem. Oily skin types will find a toner containing a small amount of alcohol and some antiseptic ingredients most beneficial to their skin. 

If I use a toner, what are the main improvements I will see in my skin?
After cleansing our face, the skin needs a pick-me-up in order to replace what we've just washed away. A moisturiser alone will not provide your skin with all the nourishment it needs. Toners are known for how they can tighten up enlarged pores over-time with frequent use. Generally, larger pores tend to collect dirt and impurities a lot quicker than small pores do, increasing the risk of your skin becoming clogged with bacteria leading to redness, blackheads and acne. If your someone who suffers with large pores, you may find using a toner very useful. The use of a toner can also aid in decreasing oil production over-time.. another reason to use a toner if you have oily/combination skin. The use of AHA's (alpha-hydroxy acids) in your toner will help improve skins tone, making your complexion become more clear and even overall. Humectants such as rosewater are super moisturising to your skin and help lock in moisture. These are especially beneficial to dry skin types, helping to reduce dry patches and duller complexions.

There are many different toner options available on the market today from light skin refreshers to full on Astringents. There is also an increased popularity in home-made toners, ingredients of which include rosewater, essential oils and herbal teas. No matter what toner you decide to use, just be sure it is suited to your skin type and is helping to improve your skins condition rather than damaging it. Remember, everyone can benefit from using a toner and it is a step not to be over-looked.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting such an informative blog!! It’s really very helpful for us. I didn't know much about skincare. I have always been self conscious about my skin. Toner is used on the skin to remove oiliness. Toner is very effective for our skin. Really you have mentioned some great points with us. You have done a great job.


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