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Sunday, 13 April 2014

What Does Toner Actually Do For Your Skin?

Ah toner...that one product that we seem to use just because it's part of the mantra 'cleanse, tone, moisturise...cleanse, tone, moisturise'. But, frankly, I have no idea what it does for my skin. I always thought that it cleaned off any excess oil or residue from after cleansing....?

So anyway, I figured that if I had no idea, there was bound to be others that don't too right?
Either way, let's go on a good ol' Google search to see what we can find...


According to the "HowStuffWorks" website "Traditional toners consist of moisturizers, oils andextracts that help soothe your skin." But it also says that there are different types of toners available: some that soothe the skin, some that dry it, and others that moisturise, and it's a good idea to pick one that is best for your skin type. Any toners that contain alcohol are classified as 'astringent', which means they will dry your skin.

Here is a snippet from a website 'Just-Health.net' which gives you a bit of info on toners and how to use them:

"

1. Refresh

Toners can help remove remaining makeup or impurities that can cling to the skin. This will provide you with a clean slate to provide any additional skin care treatmentsas necessary. Toners also provide a refreshing element after stepping out of a hot shower or during the summer months when you are more prone to sweating. Selecting a toner that has vitamins and antioxidants will help refresh the skin, providing a boost of energy and calm. Certain ingredients in a toner such as aloe, or witch hazel can also tighten the skin to improve the overall look.

2. Rejuvenate

Toners that contain fortifying elements such as vitamins A, C and E will rejuvenate the skin, simulate cell production and reduce the damage done by free radicals. This will also increase your skin’s development of hydrolipidic film, providing a protective barrier that will help your skin retain moisture and maintain the capillary walls.

3. Moisturize

Your cleanser will likely strip away a great deal of moisture from your skin. Toners can help you replace this vital moisture and bind it to the skin. This will draw water from the dermis to the epidermis to reduce the appearance of irritation. Using toners with peony flower extract or royal jelly are ideal for these purposes.

4. Protect

Using a toner that contains botanical extracts can help tighten your pores, limiting the risk of allergens or impurities from agitating them. This will help you avoid unsightly or painful blemishes or pimples.

5. Cleanse Dead Skin

Many toners contain exfoliating agents that can help remove flakes of dead skin. Gently exfoliating helps to bring out the natural brightness of the skin and will also help to prevent ingrown hairs. Toners with alpha hydroxy or glycolic acids are typically used for this purpose.

6. Balance Skin pH

The skin is naturally acidic with a pH balance around 5-6. Cleansing the skin will strip the natural oil that helps maintain this pH balance due to the alkaline nature of your soap. This will cause your skin to produce an excessive amount of oil to replace what was lost. Toners will help your skin maintain the proper pH so your skin will remain healthy."
Then comes the hard part.. how to choose a toner that's right for your skin type? Most skincare brands now label their products by what skin type they are aimed at, which makes picking the right one easier.
As a combination skin gal, I tend towards oily/combination toners. At the moment I'm using The Body Shop's seaweed toner, which I find a little bit too drying on my skin (for oilier skin it would be fine). Before this though I was using a Nivea toner, which was great at the time, but again, Nivea is aimed at younger skin (oily/hormonal) and so wouldn't be good for my skin now. 
However, toner isn't supposed to be used everywhere on your face, unless you need to. If you're using a toner as a secondary cleanser (for oilier skin), then use predominately in the T-zone or anywhere that you have oiliness. If you are using it for hydration, use it on places where you get extra dry, etc.
Either way, toner is a vital part of a skincare routine, and shouldn't be forgotten! I only tone my skin at night, because my skincare routine is more complex (I wash and use serums etc), but after reading up on some info, it seems as though I've been using it a bit wrong, and may need to find a new one that is better suited to my skin type!

What toner do you use? Do you find it's helpful? Or another one of those products that we "have to have", a.k.a, 'give us more money please'? 

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