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A toner and an exfoliating toner serve different purposes, although both are used in skin care.
A toner is a fluid or solution that is used on the skin after cleansing to remove any residual makeup, dirt, or oil.
Toners also help to maintain the pH level of the skin and make it ready for the use of other skin care products. Toners can have hydrating or soothing ingredients that provide added advantages to your skin.
An exfoliating toner, on the other hand, contains gentle chemicals such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), which act as exfoliants that help to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. (1)(2)
Exfoliating toners can also help to enhance the effectiveness of other skin care products, as they allow for better absorption.
Read on to learn more.
How Are Toners and Exfoliating Toners Different?
|USE AND FUNCTION||Hydrates the skin and balances its pH levels||Removes dead skin cells|
|INGREDIENTS||Active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid||Chemical exfoliants such as AHAs|
|FREQUENCY OF USE||Can be used every day||Can be used twice or thrice a week and not more|
|POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS||Dryness and irritation if alcohol is present||Dryness and irritation if overused|
|SUITABILITY||Suitable for all skin types if alcohol-free||Not so suitable for dry skin|
What Is a Toner?
Toners are designed to preserve the skin’s freshness while retaining its natural moisture, making them gentle product options that even those with sensitive skin can use. Experts point out that they can also benefit individuals with dry skin by helping to keep the skin hydrated. (1)(3)(4)
Different toner formulas are available for different skin types. A study found that witch hazel toner, which has anti-inflammatory properties, is particularly effective for acne-prone skin. (1)
Another study showed that guava toner greatly decreased greasiness in the forehead and nose region and the effects were noticeable after 3 weeks of use, making it good for oily skin. (5)
Given their benefits for maintaining the skin’s freshness and natural moisture, toners can be valuable additions to the skin care regimen of people with any skin type.
What Is an Exfoliating Toner?
As the name suggests, exfoliating toners are used for the sole purpose of exfoliation, which involves the removal of excess buildup of dead skin cells, which helps to stimulate cell turnover and results in smooth skin.
This process has become increasingly popular over the past two decades, as it provides almost immediate visible benefits and a variety of product options are available.
Chemical exfoliants such as AHAs, including lactic, malic, and glycolic acids, and BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are commonly used. (2)
Note: Professional administration is necessary for concentrations exceeding 10%–15% for AHA and 2% for β-hydroxy acid, but lower concentrations are safe for regular use at home. (2)
Benefits of Toners
Skin toners can deliver many gifts to your skin. Here are some of them.
1. Prevent acne breakout
Research evidence shows that using skin toners can provide several benefits to the skin. One of the primary benefits is they can help prevent acne breakouts by restoring the skin’s natural pH balance after cleansing.
A study on witch hazel toner supported this claim. (1)
2. Hydrate the skin
Toners can also improve skin hydration, especially when used in combination with other moisturizers, as shown in a recent study. Toners were found to be particularly helpful in improving hydration for dry skin by enhancing the absorption of other moisturizers. (3)
3. Improve skin texture and regulate sebum production
Additionally, toners can improve skin texture and regulate sebum production, leading to a more radiant and healthy complexion.
A study found that the regular use of a guava toner significantly reduced sebum production in the skin, leading to a reduction in acne breakouts and an improvement in overall skin health. (5)
Overall, toners can be useful additions to your skincare routine as they provide a range of benefits for your skin’s health and appearance.
Benefits of Exfoliating Toners
Exfoliating toners deliver a wide array of benefits to your skin. Here are some of them.
1. Remove dead skin cells
Exfoliating toners help to expel dead skin cells and additional impurities from the surface of the skin, which can help to disclose a better, more youthful complexion. (2)
2. Facilitate the generation of new skin cells
Exfoliation stimulates cell turnover, which is a process by which newer and healthier skin cells are developed very fast. This can assist in improving the surface appearance of the skin. (2)
3. Smoothen the skin
By removing dead skin cells and other impurities, exfoliating toners can help to smoothen the skin, reducing the presence of wrinkles, rough patches, and fine lines. (2)
4. Improve the absorption of other products
Exfoliating toners can help to improve the absorption of different products, such as serums, moisturizers, and skin treatments, into the skin.
5. Reduce the appearance of pores
Research has shown that exfoliation can help to reduce the appearance of pores by removing the buildup of oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that can clog them. (6)
Disadvantages of Using Toners and Exfoliating Toners
Toners that contain alcohol or astringent ingredients can cause dryness and irritation. Also, excessive use of toners can also disturb the innate pH of your skin.
Furthermore, overexfoliating can cause dryness and redness. Plus, individuals with conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and acne may find exfoliating toners not good for their skin.
How to Use Toners
Here are some general steps for using a face toner:
- Cleanse your skin with a mild cleanser.
- Dispense a tiny quantity of toner on a cotton pad or your hands.
- Move the cotton pad or your hands in circular motions on your face.
- After applying the toner, let it be absorbed into your skin for a few seconds.
- Apply your favorite moisturizer.
How to Use Exfoliating Toners
Exfoliating toners are typically used in the evening. Here are the general steps for using an exfoliating toner:
- Wash your face with a cleanser to remove impurities.
- Drench a cotton pad with the exfoliating toner.
- Carefully move the cotton pad all around your face.
- Give the toner a few seconds to be absorbed into your skin.
- Apply a moisturizer.
Can toners be used on all skin types?
Yes, toners can be utilized by people with different skin types. However, it is crucial to select a toner that is appropriate for your specific skin type.
How often should I use a toner?
Skin care professionals generally recommend using a toner twice a day.
Can exfoliating toners be used every day?
According to experts, if the concentration of the exfoliation toner is high, you can use it once or twice a week. If the concentration is not so high, it can be used more frequently.
Face toners and exfoliating toners can be useful additions to your skin care regimen.
Face toners can help maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance, improve hydration, and prepare the skin for other skin care products. Exfoliating toners can remove dead skin cells, improve skin texture and tone, and enhance the penetration of other skin care products.