My patients often ask me if they should be using a toner along with the rest of their skin-care routine. My answer is: It depends. While most people don’t necessarily need a toner to take good care of their skin, there are a few skin types that
can really benefit:
Oily or acne-prone skin may need an extra swipe to remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup, even after washing. Look for ingredients like glycolic acid (to remove dead skin cells) and salicylic acid (to dissolve oil and unclog pores). One of the top sellers in my office (and available at some drugstores) is La Roche-Posay Effaclar Toner with lipohydroxyacid, a gentler derivative of salicylic acid. Or, try Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Clarifying Toner with 1% salicylic acid naturally derived from willow bark extract. Start slowly, a few times a week at night, and check with your doctor first if you’re using prescription acne medicine.
Dry skin needs extra moisture, so look for an alcohol-free toner with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, such as Avalon Organics Lavender Luminosity Hydrating Toner, or Alba Botanica Even Advanced Facial Toner which also has sea kelp, aloe vera, and green tea extract. I also like Dior Gentle Toning Lotion with hyaluronic acid (to hold moisture) and velvet peony extract (a natural antiinflammatory).
Sensitive skin can become irritated when you rub a cotton ball over it, so look for spray toners with skin-soothing ingredients. Boscia Balancing Facial Tonic has lavender-flower water and willow-herb extract to calm angry skin, and jojoba-leaf extract, an antioxidant. I also like Caudalie Beauty Elixir, which one of my patients recently shared with me. It’s a fine mist that contains essential oils to hydrate and freshen makeup.