Do I Really Need a Skin Toner? The Truth About Facial Toners

We all want radiant, youthful-looking skin, but most of us have limited time to spend in front of the mirror. It’s important that every beauty product in the bathroom is pulling its weight, because, if you’re like us, the cabinets are already overflowing with serums, cleansers, and makeup.

Skin toner is one product that’s sometimes viewed with suspicion by beauty aficionados. That hasn’t fazed cosmetics companies, which still stock the shelves with toners. So, who’s correct: the beauty business or anti-toner crowd? The short answer: it all depends on your skin.


Why Use Skin Toner?

Facial toners are supposed to remove oil, wash away dirt, and minimize the appearance of pores. Applying toner in the morning can prep skin for the application of moisturizer and other cosmetics. Using toner before bed helps clean-off oils and debris that collect during the day.

The difference between a toner and skin cleanser is subtle, but important: cleansers go on first and do the heavy lifting, while toners reduce the appearance of pores and remove any stubborn debris and traces of makeup.


Who Should Use Skin Toner?

Toner can be especially beneficial for people with very oily skin and those who struggle with acne. Pimples are created when pores become clogged with skin cells and dirt. Oily skin tends to cause debris to clump together, increasing the risk of acne. Toners offer another opportunity to remove these substances before they can settle in and cause a breakout. You might also consider using a toner to make large pores look smaller (though they don’t actually “shink” pores).

If you have normal or dry skin, it may not be necessary to use a toner. In fact, toners with overzealous ingredients – think alcohol – could irritate sensitive skin.


How to Choose a Toner

Like so many skin care products, different facial toners contain different ingredients. This means you’ll want to do some basic research to find the right formulation for your skin.

As we mentioned earlier, people with dry or sensitive skin may not benefit from using a toner. If you do want to include one in your beauty regimen, avoid products that contain alcohol or fragrances. People with aging skin should also consider more gentle toners.

Many toners include exfoliating ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid. These pore-cleaning chemicals can be especially effective on acne-prone skin. Don’t forget that your dermatologist can provide suggestions tailor-made for your skin type.

After reviewing the basics of skin toners, you should now understand whether or not they’re worth including in your daily beauty regimen. It’s not about what’s right for skin; it’s about what will help your skin look its best.