I have been doing a lot of research lately on the subject of toners. I used to use one when I had pimples and now I use one every now and again. My mother uses one religiously; however many people in Australia don't. It is a lot less popular here vs other places around the world. So do you really need to use one? Is there a product that you can use instead, that tones your skin and whilst giving it a dose of moisture? Here's a hint, this is where Korean product obsession started!
I have been looking after my skin, at my mothers suggestion, since before I hit puberty. Our family was never really into the beach; my hat obsession started when I was a goth during my teenage years. I wanted to look as pale as I could so I looked my gothic best. That mentality paid off - I always wear a hat everywhere now and I think my skin looks pretty good for it. Australian sun is pretty harsh and during summer I often carry an umbrella as well.
Early Skin Toner Use
My mum used to use all sorts of cool things on her skin, and I think my obsession started when I saw what she would do before bed. We had a chat about starting my own regime and I can't remember what I used first but I know that I started cleansing, toning and moisturising pretty soon after that. When I started to get pimples I used cetaphil cleanser, witch hazel toner, sorbelene moisturiser and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to treat my spots. I had a few courses of antibiotics and I started using Proactiv at some stage (but only the cleanser). I had a body cleanser of theirs too. When I look back now; I wish I had known what I know now about my diet. When I was about 30, I got really sick and got pustular acne. Anti-Inflammatory eating helped me out and I wish I had bothered to research healthy eating when I was a teenager. When I had pustular acne I used Purastat Cleanser & medical gauze to cleanse, antibiotics, moisturiser and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to treat my cheeks. After I stopped getting acne, I started a course of laser. I still keep this up as a facial. You may notice that this time pimples reared their ugly heads, I didn't use a toner.
Is a Toner after Cleansing Necessary?
There are lots of different opinions on this topic. Paula of Paula's Choice says that a beautifully formulated toner, loaded with beneficial ingredients, can transform the way your skin looks and feels after cleansing. Her site suggests that a toner can quickly and fundamentally provide skin with generous amounts of antioxidants, soothing agents, and vital hydrating ingredients.
When I think back to my dealings with dermatologists (NOT people peddling their products to me like Paula from Paula's Choice) I can't actually remember anyone specifically talking about a toner. There was always - wash your skin with a gentle cleanser so you don't strip it and then use a moisturiser and something to treat it (depending on the reason for my appointment). For acne that would be benzoyl peroxide and when I had eczema it was Elidel.
When I search google for a dermatologists opinion on the subject I found Dr Zalka on Huffington Post saying "toners are not necessary, but they can be a great adjunct to a skincare regimen for those that need help with oily skin or markedly plugged pores. My main use for toners are in my acne patients."
So Do You Need to Use a Skin Toner?
I use one every so often. My skincare routine never stays 100% the same through the year. Sometimes my eczema plays up, sometimes I am more dry than usual, after I go for laser I cleanse with sorbelene & then I put nothing on so my skin has time to heal afterwards and the list goes on. I think you should judge yourself and work out whether you need one.
In my search for something better than the toner I was using on and off I stumbled upon Dr Jart+ products. Dr Jart+ is a Korean skincare company that has products with really lovely formulas. I began using Dr. Jart+ V7 Radiance Toner and loved it. It was really brightening and it didn't give me pimples. It has a long list of ingredients:
Water, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Panthenol, Propanediol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Fragraria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Gaultheria Procumbes (Wintergreen) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Water, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Coceth-7, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-1-PEG-9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, Betaine, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Papain, Ceramide 3, Calcium Pantothenate, Amylodextrin, Maltodextrin, Retinyl Palmitate, Biotin, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pyridoxine HCL, Propylene Glycol, Raffinose, Silica, Cholesterol, Triethanolamine, Sodium Metabisulfite, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone.
After a while I felt that it wasn't as effective. So I take breaks and go back on it again after a while. So my obsession with Korean products started. I tried a Korean serum - didn't like it and that made me want to come straight back to Dr Jart+ since their products were so lovely. Having really dry skin, I get particularly dry around the eyes. Someone on Instagram was raving about Dr Jart+ Ceremidin cream so I bought that from Amazon and gave it a go. I actually still use it as an eye cream. Amazing stuff. Well, for people with ageing eyes like me, we need all the help we can get.
I thought to myself - this Ceremidin cream is awesome. I wonder if there is a toner like it? Enter Ceremidin Liquid. Which to me is the perfect balance of toner and moisturiser. You can do both stages at once! For this stage in my life this is the perfect product! I still add the Ceremidin cream around my eyes for extra moisture there. Plus if I tell you my whole regime we'll be here for ages - so I think that could be another post!