Thursday, 20 June 2013

Do we need to use a facial toner?

This question is asked a lot when I am doing a consultation on customer, more so than whether a serum or oil needs to be used.

I think this is mainly because the benefits of the toners are still unknown to clients. Also it was known to be used mainly for skins that acne prone, containing a high percentage of alcohol.

Toners these days tend to have little or no alcohol ( although there are some brands that still do have a high content of alcohol ) and can be used on all skin types. I would recommend using a brand that either contains an alchol dent ( which is a very mild form of alcohol which is used also to keep the product persevered or one that contain no alcohol ), unless you have really oily skin.

So the question, Why do we need to use a toner?

It is really down to preference, whether you like to use a toner. I prefer to use a toner for many reasons which I will explain.

1) It helps the PH of skin. 
Our skin is naturally acidic, normally with a pH balance of between five and six, and after cleansing  due to the alkaline nature of soap, the skin's PH level gets upset. Without a facial toner, you skin has to work really hard to restore the natural PH balance. This can than actually cause the sebum gland to produce oil. What a toner does is to restore this process a lot quicker.

2) It can help to shrink pores.
You can get toners to help you achieve certain results you want from your skin. Pore reducing is one of them and you can buy toners that help with this process. Although all toners will help close the pores after cleansing.

3) It provide a layer of protection.
When you cleanse your skin, your pores can open allowing dirt, make up and impurities that are trapped out.  Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing. This will than help reduce the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. It can even protect and remove chlorines and minerals present in tap water.

4) Refreshes and Moisturises.
Toners can be used in the absence of washing your skin when it is oily or dirty ( although I would advise not to do this as a regular routine, as oily skins still need to be cleaned properly ). Toners can leave you skin feeling revitalised.
Some toners are humectants, meaning they can help to bind moisture to the skin. I would say the one I use from Biotherm is a typical one of this.

Ok so now onto the different types of toners out there.

Types of toners

Skin bracers or fresheners

These are the mildest form of toners; they contain virtually no alcohol (0-10%), water, and a humectant such as glycerin. A popular example of this is Rosewater.
These toners are the gentlest to the skin, and are most suitable for use on dry, dehydrated, sensitive and normal skins.

Skin tonics

These are slightly stronger and contain a small quantity of alcohol (up to 20%), water and a humectant ingredient. Orange flower water is an example of a skin tonic. Skin tonics are suitable for use on normal, combination, and oily skin.

Astringents

These are the strongest form of toner and contain a high proportion of alcohol (20-60%), antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant ingredient. These are commonly recommended for oily skins as they are drying, removal of oil from the skin does not cause overproduction of oil as there are no structure in the skin that provides a mechanism that will send a negative feedback to the oil glands that the skin has become dry and it needs to compensate for that condition . to compensate for that dryness it would be recommended to use a water based, non comedogenic facial moisturiser.