What is a Skin Toner?
A skin toner is a liquid containing glycerin, acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories which can penetrate your skin and hydrate it.
What Skin Toners Do?
After washing your face with a soap, some impurities can still remain on your skin. A skin toner removes those remaining impurities.
Naturally, the pH of your skin is between 4 to 6 (i.e., it is acidic). After removing makeup and washing face with a soap the pH of your skin shifts towards alkaline values. Using a toner can adjust the pH of your skin back to the natural value between 4 and 6. Otherwise, your skin may take some time to come back to its acidic state and this may lead to oil generation on your face.
When used after cleansing, it also helps closing pores as well as reducing the cell gaps. This minimizes the chances of penetration of environmental contaminants into your skin.
A skin toner also removes dead cells from the skin’s surface. As a result skin becomes clean and gives a glowing look. You can use skin toner when your skin seems oily or dirty without washing your face (e.g., while traveling etc.) with a cleanser/soap and water.
Glycolic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids (e.g., lactic acid, mandelic acids etc.) present in skin toners help in preventing ingrown hairs.
Which One Should you Select?
That depends on your skin type.
For acne-prone skin, it is recommended to use skin toners with salicylic acid as the active ingredient. It enhances the collagen production, exfoliates the skin gently and removes dead skin cells.
For dry skin, don’t use alcohol containing toners. Such toners dry the skin. Instead, you should look for glycerin containing products. Glycerin acts as a moisturizer that will soften the skin. Essential oils are also good for dry skin some people may have hypersensitivity to essential oils. Therefore, you should check with a dermatologist if you get problems using essential oils. Fermented yeast (saccharomyces ferment filtrate) containing skin toners are also recommended as they hydrate and nourish the skin.
For combination skin, look for toners with lactic acid as an active ingredient. It does not thin the skin and keeps it hydrated.
For mature skin, aloe vera containing toners are good. The presence of vitamin C along with aloe vera is a further plus because it is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants consume free radicals on your skin and protect it from aging.
For oily skin, find skin toner with witch hazel. It is a natural astringent which may help tightening your skin. Other recommended active ingredient is bentonite clay. This clay helps controlling the skin shine. It also purifies the skin, which is very important for an oily skin.
For sensitive skin, toners with Aloe Vera as the active ingredient are suitable because of its soothing qualities. The presence of algae as active ingredient will be good for your skin as it contains amino acids. These amino acids remove impurities from the skin and, thus, help avoiding the skin irritation.
For normal skin, toners having coenzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid are recommended. Hyaluronic acid (naturally occurring carbohydrate polysaccharide that is found in the human body) acts as a lubricant and will keep your skin moisturized. Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant. Combination of these two gives your skin a hydrated and soft look.
When Should I Use it?
It is recommended to use the skin toner after cleansing and no later than a ‘minute’ after cleansing. This is important because the penetration of most of the molecules into the skin is better when it is wet. Therefore, applying active ingredients right after cleansing is highly recommended. Add it to both your day and night skin care routines.
The preferred way is double cleanse and exfoliate your skin first. Then apply the skin toner. This is recommended because a thorough cleansing helps to remove makeup and dead skin cells. As a result, the important ingredients in the toner can get penetrate better into your skin.
How Should I Use it?
Sprinkle the toner into your hands and tap them directly onto your skin.
Another way is to dispense the toner onto a cotton pad and gently swipe it around your face, moving outwards.
Another way is to apply the skin toner in small amounts in seven layers on your face. Click here to read more about this specific method.