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A dermatologist weighs in on whether you really need to use a toner for your skin

Published on:13 August 2020, 16:57pm IST
We assume that toners are a necessary part of an ideal skincare routine but is it really true? We asked a dermatologist.
Grace Bains
Is the ideal skincare routine truly incomplete without a toner? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Toners, also known as astringents, have been around forever. In fact, most people view them as one of the most necessary parts of an ideal skincare routine. Toners are known for their ability to cleanse the skin deeply to help you avoid breakouts while also minimising the visibility of pores.

But in spite of using a cleanser to wash the face and then using moisturiser to hydrate the skin, is it truly important to also use a toner?

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We asked Dr. Manjul Agarwal, senior consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh about the same and her answer will help you decide if you should drop the toner from your skincare routine:

“A toner’s essential purpose is to correct the deficiencies or shortcomings of a cleanser as well as supplement the effect of the moisturiser,” explains Dr Agarwal. 

skin toner
Can toner actually repair your skin? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“To understand why there arose a need for a toner, we need to understand the types of cleansers available to us. The first type is soap, the second type is synthetic detergent and the third type is combar. Initially, we only had soaps available to us while the last two have come into widespread use only recently. What soaps do is that they often leave a residue on the skin and to remove that, women would use a toner for further cleansing. Toners, especially those based in alcohol, would remove the residue to give way to clean skin. The last two types of cleansers are milder and closer to our skin’s pH. Hence, the use of toner is sort of obsolete now.”

So, does it mean we can drop toners out of our skincare routines entirely?Not really, because Dr Agarwal still advises using toners–but ones that are specifically crafted for our skin type. 

For example, there are cleansers that are not very successful at removing sebum, the excess of which can cause breakouts. Hence, those with an oily skin type should go for a toner that comes with substances such as glycolic acid which will cleanse the skin while also preventing breakouts.

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People who have dry skin should go for a toner which has moisturising properties so as to make sure their skin stays hydrated at all times and hence, stays healthy, according to Dr. Agarwal. 

So, ladies, the use of toners is very closely tied to the type of cleanser you use to wash your face. Hence, first, figure out which type you’re using and then pick up a toner that best suits your skincare needs.

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Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.