A facial toner is a lotion that is applied to the skin on the face in order to remove any leftover residue from facial cleansers. It is usually used by people with extremely oily or acne-prone skin and those of us who want extra cleansing after wearing a lot of makeup. It is typically applied to the skin prior to moisturizing, but after cleansing the face.
There are hundreds of toners in the market. Every brand sells it.
But is toner really necessary or is it redundant?
Let’s take a look.
- Its main purpose is to remove traces of makeup and residual cleanser, but a high-quality cleanser, even a creamy one, should rinse off easily with water alone.
- A toner will make your pores look smaller by swelling the tissue around the pore, but a moisturizer will do the same thing -- and more.
- Toners geared for oily or combination skin are particularly loaded with alcohol, menthol, and astringents like Witch Hazel should be ok for oily or combination skin but will dry and irritates if you have dry and sensitive skin.
- Toners with fragrant extracts may irritate your sensitive skin as well.
- Toners that are just plain lackluster aren’t bad for skin but they aren’t helpful either.
- Toners maintain the normal pH of the skin after cleansing of face
A quick throwback to chemistry class: pH is a scale that measures acidity and alkalinity. Zero is the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline, while 7 is neutral. Skin's natural pH hovers around 5, which is slightly acidic. This acidic environment supports the growth of the skin's natural bacteria and fungus, which is necessary for proper skin health. At its naturally acidic pH, skin's protective moisture barrier does its job well, keeping out UV rays and free radicals as well as preventing moisture loss. But if the needle moves in the wrong direction—a.k.a. your skin goes from acidic to alkaline—it doesn't function as well. "The skin cannot protect itself as well as it normally could, resulting in dryness, irritation, and itching," So what's making skin more alkaline? "The biggest mistake with skin care is washing with the wrong cleansers, which strips the barrier, Harsh soaps tend to be alkaline, “To maintain a healthy balance in the skin, it’s best to avoid harsh soaps that have an alkaline pH instead you can use milder face cleansers.
The right selection of a face cleanser will maintain the normal pH of the skin without the use of a toner.
So in conclusion, if you love your toner and sincerely believe it works, then, by all means, do not throw it out. But do not treat it as bare essential in your skin care regime as most of its functions are redundant.