Are they necessary for your skincare routine?


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Whether you have a 5-step or 12-step skincare routine at some point, you’ve probably been told the importance of using a toner. But is it really necessary? It used to be, but now it may not be. We spoke to a few board-certified dermatologists to find out if this step in your skincare routine actually makes a difference or just wastes your money.

“The toner was created to correct pH in an era when most people used soap to wash,” shares Dr. Loretta Ciraldo MD FAAD, Miami-based board-certified dermatologist with over 40 years of experience and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare. “Because soap has a high alkaline pH, it can alter the acid mantle of the skin, so toner was really a more necessary step years ago than it is now,” explains the Dr Loretta. Most face washes are pH balanced, so no pH correction is really needed after washing your face. “Overall, toners can strip the top layers of skin and compromise the skin barrier, so unless they’re being used for a specific purpose, we don’t normally recommend them,” says Dr. Matt Elias, DO, FAAD , a Florida-based Southern Board-Certified Dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Nevertheless, many people like to use toners and they are meant to be used after cleansing and before serum application.

SKIN CARE QUEENS: If you have fair, non-oily skin, you probably don’t need toner. Dr. Elias only recommends them “for acne-prone or anti-aging skin.” Fin.

Toners are more a matter of preference. “Sometimes it’s used as a way to introduce an active ingredient in a more subtle way,” Dr. Loretta shares. She adds, “For example, people who want to use AHAs but are concerned that it will irritate them can start with a low-strength AHA toner or a toner that combines several fruit acids to see if their skin tolerates this type of irritant. ingredient.” AHAs stand for alpha hydroxy acids and are a blend of plant and animal derived acids with anti-aging benefits including improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, fighting hyperpigmentation, preventing rashes and increased absorption of your skin care products. While they can be helpful, Dr. Elias points out that most dermatologists won’t recommend a toner. He adds, “They can over-complicate your skincare regiment, which can usually be boiled down to a few simple steps: cleanse, retinoid at night, moisturize, and protect from the sun.

“If you have sensitive skin or if you have facial redness [then] avoid AHA toners,” says Dr. Loretta. “If you have eczema, avoid toners with artificial fragrances or colors,” advises Dr. Loretta. And if you have dry skin, she advises “avoid toners containing witch hazel or ethyl alcohol,” as both of these can further dry out and strip your skin. Regardless of your skin type, you should test your toner (and really any skincare product) to see how it reacts with your skin. “There is always a risk that adding a new product/step to your routine will add an element of irritation or interfere with the penetration and effectiveness of your other products,” says Dr. Loretta. The solution to this is to test your toner! “You can use a new toner on one side of your face just for a week and continue your normal routine on the other side,” Dr. Loretta suggests. If problems occur while using the toner, stop. If it doesn’t mix well with your other products, you don’t have to throw it away. Dr. Loretta shares this pro tip: “You can stop using the toner on your face and use it on your chest and neck, two areas typically underserved by skincare.”

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So if you’re a little wary of toners, there are still options for you. Essence is very similar to toner. “It’s best applied after cleansing and it helps set the stage for any skincare that’s applied afterward,” says Dr. Loretta. Essence is also a great option if you have sensitive skin.

If you’re still looking for toner, don’t worry. We’ve found the 8 best toners on the market to keep your skin young and ready to absorb all your other skincare products.

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