Ask Dr. Parks, Skin Care

What is Toner, and Why Do I Need it?

When it comes to skincare, sometimes it seems like there are so many different steps, products, and ingredients- it can be hard to keep track! Today, we’re walking through one of the most commonly asked about steps- toner! While it may seem like just an extra step that cleanses your skin, toner is actually useful for multiple different skin concerns, depending on which one you use.

What is toner?

Toner is typically in liquid form and can be used in many different ways. It’s known to easily penetrate the skin and deliver a dose of hydration while also providing an extra cleanse or exfoliation. Toner is typically used after cleansing and before other serums and moisturizers, helping to “prep” the skin to receive other active ingredients or prime for makeup. Be sure to use your toner both in the morning and at night, and apply it quickly after cleansing your skin-hydration is best delivered when your face is still wet! It can be formulated with anything from anti-inflammatories to antioxidants to chemical exfoliants, and the toner you use should complement the rest of your skincare routine depending on your skin type and concerns.

Why should I use toner in my routine?

Many believe that toner is an unnecessary step in your skincare routine. While it’s not quite as vital as sunscreen or cleanser, toner can provide a lot of benefits to your skin. Toner helps to provide a last-minute cleansing to your skin and removes excess oil that may be lingering, which helps to refine your pores. In addition, your skin often needs some help with resetting its pH balance, and the right toner can help you do that. Certain cleansers and soaps can mess with the pH level of your skin, and it has to work to get the levels back to normal. Using a toner can help your skin regain this balance more quickly. Many toners also deliver a quick-hit of hydration to the skin, helping to save the skin from dehydration. So, how do you know which toner is right for you? Keep reading to find out.

So, what kind of toner should I use for my skin?

If you have oily skin or enlarged pores, your toner should include ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or other alpha and beta hydroxy acids. The Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid Toner is perfectly pH balanced and contains glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera to tighten and refine pores while also keeping skin hydrated and glowy.

If you’re struggling with acne, look for a toner that includes salicylic acid. The Clearogen Clarifying Toner is formulated specifically for those with acne-prone skin and contains 1% salicylic acid and witch hazel to eliminate impurities, reduce redness, and kill bacteria in the skin for a smoother, brighter complexion.

If you need help with anti-aging, reach for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and anti-aging powerhouses like retinol. The HydroPeptide Pre-Treatment Toner is made with glycerin, lactic acid, and a whole bunch of other natural extracts to balance your skin without over-drying.

If your skin is on the sensitive side, look for hydrating and calming ingredients, which can be found in the Elta MD Skin Recovery Toner, formulated with glycerin, antioxidants, and other calming ingredients to soothe irritated skin and repair your damaged skin barrier.

If you’re looking for a boost of radiance, search for exfoliants like lactic acid or other natural extracts. A great option is the PCA Skin Nutrient Toner, formulated with lactic acid and other natural botanical extracts to refine your pores, provide gentle exfoliation, and create a healthy glow for the skin.

If your skin is especially dry, keep an eye out for hyaluronic acid or other hydrating ingredients within your toner. The Janson Beckett Certified Organic Skin Toner is a perfect option if you’re skin is on the dry side, as it’s made with hyaluronic acid along with a medley of organic extracts and hydrating and soothing ingredients like lavender.

About Dr. Alan J. Parks

Dr. Alan Parks is a board certified dermatologist. Dr. Parks founded his practice, Eastside Dermatology, in 1986 and has been practicing there ever since. In 2016 Dr. Parks launched DermWarehouse, an eCommerce website selling professional strength skin care products to customers across the United States.

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