Is a Toner Necessary? Here’s All the Information You Need

Using toner as part of the skincare routine comes right after using a cleanser. It is formerly used to balance the skin’s pH level after the cleanser. However, cleansers now work in a way that does not wreck the skin’s pH level balanced. So, is a toner necessary?

Not everyone has to use it, as it is not necessary. However, recently formulated toners do more than just balance the skin’s pH level. Toners now have numerous benefits to offer the skin. If you are looking to achieve clear skin, you should consider it.

Even though using it is not necessary, it can help you to solve other skin problems and concerns. Read ahead if you would still like to incorporate the use of toner in your skincare regime.

This article answers other questions as to what toner does for the skin, what ingredients to look for in it, and how often to use it to achieve your target purpose.

Is a Toner Necessary?

Dr. Nikoleta Brankov, board-certified dermatologist and host of Millennial Doc podcasts, says that “Not everyone needs it, but toners help to work on several skin concerns.” Even though using a toner is not necessary, it helps to solve other skin problems and concerns.

A Yale-affiliate dermatologist, Dr. Alicia Zalka, MD, also agrees that toners are not necessary. “However, they can be a great addition to a skincare regimen for those with oily or acne-prone skin. I mainly use toners for patients with acne-prone skin,” she adds. 

SEE: Is Serum Better Than Toner? The Ultimate Comparison

What Toner Should You Use for Your Skin?

“The most important thing to note is the ingredients to look for when purchasing one, and ingredients to avoid. This will help you go for toners that work best for your skin type,” Dr. Brankov notes.

For dry skin, opt for one that contains moisturizing properties. This will help to keep your skin’s hydration intact. 

Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best hydrating-boosting ingredients to look for in a toner, as it will help to lock in moisture on your skin throughout the day,” says Dr. Alexander Zeitany, a surgical and cosmetic dermatologist. “Don’t use toners that contain alcohol,” she adds.

For sensitive skin, avoid toners that contain alcohol and fragrance, as these two ingredients can irritate your skin badly. Dr. Brankov suggests that you opt for one that contains moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. 

You can also go for ones that contain soothing ingredients such as chamomile and rosewater.

For oily skin, the key ingredients to look for are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid. These ingredients each work by exfoliating the skin to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. 

“They help to reduce the rate at which your skin breaks out, as well as shrink your pores,” Dr. Zeitany adds. She also suggests that you look for one that is oil-free and non-comedogenic.

For combination skin, alcohol-free toners are the best option for you, “especially ones that contain antioxidants such as vitamin C,” says Dr. Brankov.

SEE: How to Use Facial Toner Effectively for Better Skin Results

What Does Toner Do for Your Skin?

Dr. Manjul Agarwal, a senior consultant and dermatologist at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, says that “The main purpose of a toner is to make up for the shortcomings of a cleanser, as well as improve the efficiency of your moisturizer.”

Dr. Zalka says that she considers toner as the second step in a cleanser process. “When you use a toner correctly, it offers several benefits to the skin. It will remove residue of dirt and dead skin cells that may linger on your face after washing or cleansing it.”

“Toner can also help to make the skin permeable enough for other skincare products to penetrate and work on the skin,” she stated. She also added that she mainly uses toner for her acne-prone patients. 

The original idea of toner was introduced years ago, as a liquid formula that helps acne-plagued teens. According to board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Macgregor, “Toners have since evolved and now vary amongst skin types”.

Toners that contain hydroxy acids, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid helps to exfoliate acne-prone skin, to reduce acne breakouts, and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Ones that contain antioxidants, such as vitamin C and witch hazels helps to protect the skin as well as serve as anti-aging compounds to prevent premature aging of the skin. 

Some also contain soothing properties such as aloe Vera and vitamin E to help soothe sensitive skin from inflammations. 

“Using a toner is a good way to include exfoliants and other compounds to your existing routine,” Dr. MacGregor suggests. 

Should Teenagers Use Skin Toner?

Most teenagers tend to have acne-prone skin. This makes toner important in the skincare routine of acne-prone teenagers. Teenagers should look for ones that help to balance the skin’s pH level, as well as contain exfoliating ingredients to help rid their skin of acne.

Right after cleansing the skin, a teenager should apply it to their skin to balance their pH level, minimize the appearance of pores, as well as remove dead skin cells and excess oil.

Why Should You Apply Toner Before Serum?

Your toner must come first before serum if you are using both in your skincare routine. The reason is that your skin might still be harboring some remnants of dirt even after cleansing it. 

It will help to double cleanse your skin to get rid of all the dirt on your skin. Not just that, it will also help to prepare your skin for the application of your serum by making your skin permeable. 

This gives a smooth, easy passage for the serum to penetrate your skin, and work effectively to give the maximum result.

SEE: Benefits of Using Toner for Your Face No One Told You About

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you use toner?

You can use toner on your skin as often as twice daily, in your morning and evening routine. 

However, it also depends on the toner you are using on your skin. That is why it is important to always opt for a product that works best for your skin type. If you are using a chemical-based toner, it is best to only use it once a day. 

Do you need a toner after cleansing?

Yes, you do. But only if your cleanser does not cleanse your skin efficiently. If after cleansing your skin, there are still residues of dirt, you need to use a toner to double cleanse your skin.

However, using a toner is not necessary if your cleanser can do its job efficiently.

Can you use toner on dry skin?

Yes, you can. You can use toner on dry skin, as there is a toner for every skin type. However, you need to be careful when choosing your toner. Always avoid toners that contain alcohol.

For dry skin, opt for one that contains moisturizing properties. This will help to keep your skin’s hydration intact. Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best hydrating-boosting ingredients to look for in a toner, as it will help to lock in moisture on your skin throughout the day.

SEE: Best Skin Tightening Creams That Work

Conclusion

Not everyone has to use toner, as it is not necessary. However, recently formulated toners do more than just balance the skin’s pH level. Toners now have numerous benefits to offer the skin. If you are looking to achieve clear, smooth skin, you should consider it.

Even though using a toner is not necessary, it can help you to solve other skin problems and concerns. The most important thing to note is the ingredients to look for when purchasing your toner and ingredients to avoid. This will help you go for toners that work best for your skin type.

Using a toner is a good way to include exfoliants and other compounds in your existing routine.

Thanks for reading.

Visit serum101 for more enlightening information on skincare products to use in your skincare routine.