Toners: The very word brings back bad memories of Sea Breeze, stinging faces, and that familiar nose-burning aroma. It's for this very reason that many of us are still (rightfully) wary of toners and mostly keep them far away from our complexions. But, turns out we may be missing an integral part of our skin care regimen. "Toners, aside from balancing your skin's pH, help to remove any residue left behind after cleansing and minimizes pores" says celebrity aesthetician Christine Chin. "It also makes any treatments you use afterwards more effective and can act as an anti-inflammatory."
Well, if toners do all of these wonderful things, then why do we all avoid them? "Toners get a bad rap from dermatologists because some of them just contain a lot of alcohol and are very drying," says dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. But toners — also known as hydrating mists, floral waters, and clarifying lotions — have come a long way since the days of those burning astringents. Many now boast effects like soothing, hydrating, and brightening.
The trick to avoiding dryness, says Chin, is finding the right toner for your skin. That means if you have oily skin, look for those with salicylic acid, sulfur, or tea tree oil. If you have dry skin, grab ones with panthenol, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and glycerin. Of course, if you overuse a toner, you could wind up with redness, drying, and peeling, so make sure you are using it correctly. Dr. Jaliman says to use a toner twice a day if you are oily, and once a day if you are dry. If your skin is combination, just use a toner on the oily bits, like your T-zone. She adds that people with eczema or rosacea should avoid toners altogether as they may be irritating to those sensitive conditions.
We're ready to give toners another try. How about you?