Are skin toners necessary? I’ll answer this question in-depth, plus give you four benefits of quality toners in this article.

The use of toner as an added step to your skin care regimen is sometimes a topic of debate and confusion. However, I will break down some of the main beneficial factors to consider when choosing whether to add facial skin toner as part of your cleansing routine.

First, it’s important to note that there are a plethora of toner products available on the market with various formulations, some with beta and alpha hydroxy acids like salicylic and glycolic acid. These types of toners not only thoroughly help cleanse your skin after washing, but also balance your skin’s pH while working to exfoliate your skin at the same time.

These newer toners are not a one type fits all product. Various types of toners for many different skin types include antioxidants like vitamin C, witch hazel, as well as moisturizing properties such as Vitamin E; they are intended to work on the next step in your comprehensive facial cleansing process. These various active ingredients in toners operate by using calming anti-inflammatories, active ingredients with retinoids, and other anti-aging compounds to deliver an extra boost of essential active ingredients to help elevate your skincare routine after cleansing. However, the necessary rules for choosing the proper toner would be to avoid alcohol-based toners, as they are too drying, even for those with oily complexions. Try to stay away from synthetic ingredients.

Although toners may not be a necessary part of your daily skincare routine, they can still be an excellent adjunct to any skincare regimen, especially for those who suffer from more oily skin, clogged pores, and blackheads. However, even though toners are often thought to be most necessary for acne-prone individuals, it is not necessarily beneficial for oily acne prone skin. Other conditions may require similar regimens with toners. There are many high-quality toners available to address various skin care concerns. Depending on the active ingredients in different toners using the proper skin toner can include essential active ingredients such as retinoids, antioxidants, and exfoliants. Properties can come into play with your new skin care regimen. These consist of the right toner for your skin, which brightens your skin for a fresher more youthful complexion.

Here are some beneficial factors to consider as to why using the appropriate toner for your skin can be useful.

1. Toners, when used after washing your face, complete the cleansing process. Daily environmental stressors, pollutants, dirt, and grind that remain on your skin at the end of the day are more thoroughly removed than by just washing with cleanser alone. Therefore, using toner is another step in the thorough cleansing of your face. By eliminating the excess oil, your pores will also appear smaller and tighter in addition to lessening your chances of breakouts. Toners can also add a layer of protection to help close pores and tighten skin cells, thus reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin.

2. Toners balance your skin’s pH levels: while toners are used to get rid of excess oil, dirt, and makeup, they are also used to bring the skin back to its neutral pH level. This is when the skin is at its healthiest. Such factors as environmental stressors, pollution, makeup and even certain cleansers can turn your skin’s pH levels off balance. Specific facial cleansers, due to their alkaline (basic) properties, can often strip the skin of its neutral pH balance, encouraging your skin to try to rebalance its levels by making your skin’s oil glands go into overproduction. Your skin will cause excess oil production and possible breakouts. Our skin is naturally acidic, therefore when the pH balance of our skin gets disturbed our skin may go into overdrive restore mode to try to get back to a neutral pH balance. By using a toner, you can help restore this balance quickly, eliminating the possibility of breakouts and acne. Another benefit of using the right toner is that it can also act as a moisturizer. Depending on the type of toner you use, some toners have humectants, which means that they help to bind moisture to the skin.

3. Toners can work as exfoliants. Toners that contain glycolic or other alpha hydroxy acids work as an exfoliant, thereby stimulating the turnover of new skin cells. Exfoliation allows for dead skin cells to shed and be replaced by healthy new skin cells, thus preventing acne, blackheads and even ingrown hairs from forming, especially for men, who often have to shave their facial hair. The unclogging of pores allows for a clearer complexion, as well as the prevention of ingrown hairs when used after shaving.

4. Toners can allow for better penetration of product ingredients for absorption into your skin:

Toners can benefit your skin’s ability to deeply absorb other skincare products that you apply after you use your toner. When used correctly, it can help remove excess oils and dead skin cells that may lurk on the face after washing. To some extent, a toner can help other skin applications to penetrate more rapidly. However, this can be the case when one puts a product on moisten skin (water can also do this). Moistened skin can absorb topical products better than dry skin. Therefore, this is why, sometimes to diluted products, it’s recommended that you use some active ingredients such as retinol into dry skin to avoid irritations from over penetration. This is why certain products, such as retinol, come with instructions to apply caution to sensitive skin.

Now, what kind of facial toners to use?

In general, it is best to see your dermatologist have them assess your particular skin type. From there, address what active ingredients or skincare products would work best for you. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s important to note again that not all toners work for the same purposes. Every individual has their skin care needs, and it’s important to find the most appropriate facial toner that will be ideal for your skin type. There is no-one-fits-all-approach to skin care, and toner is no exception. Sticking with more natural, organic, active botanical ingredients and staying away from alcohol-based toners (and also synthetic ingredients) can help you to find the appropriate toner. For example, there are different types of toners- some for normal to oily skin, and others that are better suited for those with sensitive or dry skin. Toner products are more varied and diverse than ever. There are formulations with beta and alpha hydroxy acids (salicylic, glycolic) to exfoliate acne-prone skin, antioxidants like vitamin C and witch hazel, moisturizing toners with aloe and Vitamin E, calming anti-inflammatory ingredients for sensitive skin, and many with retinoids and other anti-aging compounds. However, alcohol-based toners are too drying, even for those with oily complexions. Toners can cause dryness, so it’s important to avoid toners that can be very dehydrating to the skin. For those with sensitive or more mature dry skin, it would be more beneficial to look for toners that deliver additional skin care benefits like better anti-aging peptides and hydration to soothe and help repair skin.

What should you do if you decide not to use a toner?

If you choose to skip the extra step of using a facial toner to enhance your skin care regimen, just make sure to use an effective pH-balanced cleanser that already balances your skin’s pH levels. Also, ensure that your daily skin care protocol includes the retinol, vitamins, peptides, and antioxidants that your skin needs to keep your skin’s pH levels balanced. Skipping out on toner as an additional step is fine for some skin types, especially since a lot of cleansers are already pH balanced for the skin. Toning isn’t necessary for everyone. Therefore, invest on a great facial cleanser and the right serums and creams that not only regulate your skin’s pH level back to neutral, but that also does an excellent job, thoroughly cleansing and exfoliating your skin without over-drying it. Investing in the proper skin care products that already balance your skin’s pH level and that include the vitamins and peptides your skin needs, is imperative to give your skin that healthy, clear complexion, and youthful glow.

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