The Beginner’s Guide to Skin Toner and Why It’s Important
The complexion is an important facet of our appearance since many people initially judge us based on our appearance. Maintaining a healthy complexion with an even tone is one of the more important parts of managing our appearance, though we must also address many health concerns. Insofar as appearance is concerned, complexion management is important to ensure you present the appearance you want rather than presenting any blemishes.
Our skin is highly susceptible to blemishes caused by exposure to certain elements and microbes, all of which cause issues like acne or wrinkles, depending on your age and the state of your skin. Unfortunately, there is another skin issue that does not always get the attention it deserves.
There is an issue where our skin's pigmentation is altered in certain areas and does not match the base skin color. This discoloration can make taking pride in our appearance difficult since parts of our skin are darker than they should be. Skin discoloration presents itself as a seemingly irreversible problem that will prevent you from having the complexion you want. Fortunately, restoring uniformity to your complexion is possible if you have access to the right tools.
Dealing with skin tone issues requires us to take advantage of a special cosmetic tool called skin toner. Skin toners can provide the complexion enhancement you need to overcome a discolored complexion, but using them might be complicated if you have never used one before.
What Are Skin Toners?
Skin toners, usually just called toners, are cosmetic tools specifically designed for skincare to handle issues with the pores. Toners usually come in the form of lotions, tonics, or washes applied directly to the skin. Once applied, the toners moisturize, protect, and refresh the skin while reducing the appearance of your pores. Their effects help smoothen your complexion and keep your skin uniform rather than allowing blotches of exaggerated pores on the skin.
While toners might seem simple at first glance, they are more varied than you might realize. There are 4 major types of toners that produce similar effects through alternate methods and ingredients.
These toners are:
- Skin Bracers: Skin bracers are the mildest form of toner on the market and have less stressful ingredients. Bracers are made using water and a humectant (an ingredient designed to maintain moisture) like glycerin. Some bracers contain a small amount of alcohol (10% at most) and rely on the humectant to keep moisture in the skin without evaporating. Bracers are considered the gentlest option for people with sensitive skin, though their effects might be less powerful than the stronger options.
- Skin Tonics: Skin tonics are somewhat stronger than bracers and have a higher range of alcohol concentrations. A typical tonic will have a maximum of 20% alcohol in the ingredients, making it harsher on more sensitive complexions. The water and humectant from the bracers are still present in tonics, but tonics are considered ideal for people with normal, combination, and oily skin rather than sensitive skin.
- Acid Toners: Acid toners are significantly stronger than the previous 2 because they contain an alpha hydroxy acid and a beta hydroxy acid. While you might be hesitant to use a skincare product with acid as one of the primary ingredients, it can be beneficial. Acid toners offer enhanced exfoliation by using the acid to eat away at the contaminants on the surface. Acid toners typically have glycolic, lactic, or mandelic acids as the alpha hydroxy acid, while the beta hydroxy acid is usually salicylic acid. When used properly, there is no risk of injury when using an acid toner.
- Astringents: Astringents are the strongest toners on the market because their ingredients are more powerful than the acids in the previous entry. An astringent has a maximum alcohol concentration of 60% and uses antiseptics, water, and a humectant to offer a high-power exfoliation process. Astringents can be irritating and damaging to the skin since the ingredients can eliminate protective lipids and denature proteins. As a result, astringents should be a last resort rather than a first choice.
Toners can help exfoliate the skin and remove the blemishes affecting the top layer of your dermis. Most blemishes do not go beyond the initial layer and will be eliminated when the next layer replaces it. Other issues (acne) are not so easily removed since they form in the deepest layers and work their way out. For issues like discoloration, a toner that causes heavy-duty exfoliation can diminish the discolored layer and bring the new layer to the surface. This is not to say a toner peels the initial layer off, but it helps the skin rejuvenate faster than it would naturally.
Considering the harsh ingredients in most toners, using toners without some initial information is not a good idea. Using them without learning more could cause damage to your skin if the toner you use has harsher ingredients. If you use an acid toner or astringent, you must have prior knowledge before applying it.
How to Use Skin Toners
Skin bracers are the easiest toners because their ingredients are mild and designed to accommodate sensitive skin. While a 10% alcohol content is technically high, especially if you know anything about alcohol consumption, it is not enough to cause major damage. Most skin bracers are as simple as taking a small amount from the bottle and rubbing it directly on your face. However, there are some preparations you should make before applying toner to your skin.
The first step is usually washing your face with warm water and a gentle cleanser to eliminate dirt, makeup, and other impurities that might interfere with the bracer. Once your skin is washed, use a little cold water to cool your skin and gently dry your face with a clean towel. Using a dirty towel could reintroduce impurities to your freshly washed skin and cause the bracer to struggle with its function.
Once you have completed the cleansing process, the next step is applying the bracer to your face. While you could technically apply it by hand, you would be better served using a cotton pad to host the bracer and use it to spread it over your face lightly. A cotton pad is better than a cotton ball since the latter will absorb most of the product and only leave a little to use on your face. Regardless, use the pad carefully in areas of the face considered hard to reach (i.e., the sides of the nose or near the ears).
Once the toner is applied, do not attempt to dry your face to remove the sensation of moisture on your skin. This will wipe the product away before it has a chance to work. The alcohol in the bracer will cause the excess moisture to evaporate within a few minutes. Unfortunately, using a bracer is easier than using the other options discussed so far.
Using a skin tonic is similar to using a skin bracer, but the higher alcohol concentration means you must be more careful. As a matter of fact, using a skin tonic follows the same steps as the bracer. Specifically, washing your face and using a cotton pad to apply the tonic like a bracer. The main difference is that you must apply moisturizer after the tonic is applied to ensure your skin does not dry out from the alcohol. The moisturizer step should only be completed after your skin has dried to avoid interfering with the tonic's effects.
Despite the added hazards involved in acid toners and astringents, you will find their application procedures are almost identical to tonics and bracers. Washing your face and using a cotton pad are invariable aspects of the application process that help ensure uniform distribution.
You must also employ the moisturizing step mentioned above to ensure the alcohol or acid does not dry your skin and cause cracking. There is a caveat when using astringents that cannot be ignored if you want to avoid damaging your skin. While tonics and bracers require you to wait until your skin is dry to apply moisturizer, you must apply it while it is still damp when using an astringent. Specifically, the moisturizer should contain an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen since the skin will be sensitive to alcohol concentration and will also be more sensitive to sunlight.
This added sensitivity makes your skin more susceptible to damage by ultraviolet light cast by the sun, leading to sunburn and hyperpigmentation. Astringents are especially inflammatory to the skin, so ensuring you are protected from the elements is essential to prevent further damage.
These instructions will guide you in using the product, but another limitation applies to all of them. You should only use toners twice daily since excessive application could cause skin damage. If you are using an astringent or acid toner, the risk of damage increases the more frequently you use the product in a single day. Additionally, you should only use the toners every other day rather than every day.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be successful when using a toner to improve your complexion. That said, another type of toner is not commonly discussed in the cosmetic industry. This alternate toner is easier to use and less inflammatory than those we have discussed.
While not exactly a secret, toner sprays and mists are not often marketed because most people believe the traditional options are more effective. Toner mists can be just as, if not more effective than traditional toner products, with the added benefit of being administered via spray bottle. Toner mist usually lacks some of the harsher ingredients, like alcohol, because they are less concentrated in terms of moisture.
As a result, using a toner mist takes less time and has fewer risks compared to astringents or acid tonics. The best part is that the spray bottle is small and portable, meaning you can easily take it wherever you need it.
Insofar as the application is concerned, using a toner mist is the same as any of the other toners listed here:
- Wash your face with warm water and a cleanser.
- Spray the product on a cotton pad and use it to apply the toner to the entirety of your face.
Unlike the other options discussed so far, toner mists do not require intense sessions, and the product is not limited to set periods of use. You can reapply the toner mist throughout the day if your skin needs a boost. Conversely, the others are limited to being used twice daily. In many ways, toner mists are superior to traditional toners, but the need for reapplication can be a downside. Nevertheless, a good toner mist can eliminate your need for harsher skin products, but you will still have to find a reliable one.
Finding the Right Blend
Skin toner is a valuable tool for people with hyperpigmentation or other skin blemishes that affect the pores. Unfortunately, many skincare tools contain inflammatory ingredients that make them risky unless you have prior education. Bracers, tonics, acid toners, astringents, and mists all have strengths and weaknesses that can alter your idea of the best choice. Regardless of your preference, you must adhere to the proper instructions, or the toner will do more harm than good.
Fortunately, these products are not so complicated that you require a detailed understanding of the more obscure details surrounding them. The biggest challenge with toner products is finding one you can rely on from a reputable vendor.
We at Teami are happy to help with that last bit since we have dedicated ourselves to providing products that naturally enhance skin quality. We offer an extensive catalog of products that lack synthetic or pharmaceutical ingredients and focus on natural substances. One of our main products is our Butterfly Toner Mist, which uses butterfly pea tea, Aloe vera, and witch hazel to enhance and rejuvenate your skin. We encourage you to visit our website and peruse our products so you can find the one that suits your needs. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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