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Alpha Hydroxy Acids or commonly known as AHAs, has become nothing short of a skincare miracle cure. Used in almost every skincare product from cleansers, to toners, to masks and serums, this power house ingredient is worth its weight in gold.
Many people have heard of AHAs, but actually don’t know what they are. Little do they know that alpha Hydroxy Acids are frequently sourced from ingredients that we use in everyday life.
Read more about AHAs and the benefits of AHA on the skin
HOW TO USE ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS
The first rule of thumb when using AHAs is to start off slowly. Alpha hydroxy acids can cause skin irritation, especially with daily use. Glycolic acid can be particularly irritating to the skin, because of its small molecular size. When using AHAs it’s best to integrate them slowly into your skincare routine, and never exceed the recommended usage. Always follow the instructions.
In the beginning, steer away from leave-on products (toners, serums, creams) that are highly potent in AHAs. The key is to remember that less is more. Highly concentrated products do not mean that they are more efficient. In fact, you run the risk of damaging your skin barrier and causing PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
AHAs work better on the skin when combined together with other AHAs. Try to choose products formulated with several different types of AHAs, as opposed to using a product that contains a high percentage of just one. Products that combine different acids at lower strengths tend to be less irritating to the skin, because the acids penetrate at different levels and hydrate at different capacities.
Remember to always wear sunscreen when using products that contain AHAs. Alpha Hydroxy Acids increase your skin’s sensitivity to light by thinning the top layer of your skin, making it more susceptible to sun damage. AHAs remove pigment, and also slow down the production of pigment in the skin. Therefore, it’s important to wear spf. Without spf protection from the sun, you run the risk of hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
Do not under any circumstances mix AHAs with retinol, or use on the same day as retinol. This can cause PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Stay on the side of caution when using AHAs and BHAs together in order to avoid irritation and dryness. The combination of AHA and BHA leave-on products does not work well on all skin types.
Alpha hydroxy acids works well with any hydrating or moisturising ingredients. Mixing or layering AHAs with any other type of ingredient can end up disastrous, and would be overkill. Remember less is more.
SKINCARE PRODUCTS WITH AHA
Biossance Squalane+Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
Amlactin Daily Moisturising Body Lotion
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10%+ HA
Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Night Serum
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 25%AHA+BHA
Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial
SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
Read: Retinoids And Anti-Aging
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Toner, the product that everyone seems to wonder about. It's is always missing, but helps to make a good skincare routine. Shrouded in mystery, many deem face toners to be useless. Is it essential? Or is it just another unnecessary item? Will your skin routine suffer from not using a face toner, or will it give your skin a boost? The one question that still remains is, “what does face toner do?”
WHAT IS FACE TONER?
Toners are an integral part of any good skincare routine. Traditionally face toners were used to remove excess oil from the skin, and formulated to be very astringent. In the past skin toners worked well on people who had acne prone skin, and contained a high alcohol content.
Fast forward to today...The world of face toners has evolved. Face toners do much more than remove excess oil and dirt from the skin. They are high functioning products that contain a variety of nourishing, calming, brightening, and anti-aging ingredients for the skin. Face toners balance your skin’s pH levels, and act as a primer for the rest of your skincare products.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FACE TONER?
The modern day face toner provides a myriad of benefits for the skin, depending on what your skin concern is. Skin toners can be hydrating, exfoliating, brightening, soothing or have anti-aging benefits.
Here are some of the additional benefits of what a face toner does for your skin:
IS FACE TONER SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?
Yes. When choosing a face toner , you want to make sure it addresses your skin concerns. Please be careful when adding a toner to your morning and/ or evening routine. Make sure that the toner does not irritate or dry out the skin, and don’t forget to read the ingredient list. Alcohol can be incredibly drying, and can do more harm than good.
Exfoliating toners containing AHAs can irritate the skin and cause PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). So beware of toners containing a high concentration of AHAs. I would advise using exfoliating toners sparingly (keeping them to night time use only), and remember always to wear sunscreen during the day.
There are many toners that are gentle on the skin, which were specifically formulated to balance the skin’s pH level, provide hydration, soothe the skin, and do not contain alcohol. Gentle toners are more suited to both morning and evening use. You’ll find that today’s toners may contain a cocktail of anti-aging, botanicals and natural ingredients.
In my opinion it’s always best to go with a gentler toner that will harmonize easily with your other skin products. When choosing a leave-in product (toner, serum, cream, moisturizer), check the ingredient list to make sure that the main actives work well with the ingredients of the other products.
If you have more than one skin concern, it might work best to choose two different toners (one for the morning and evening) or use them on different days according to your needs. With Face toners that contain harsh ingredients like AHAs, it’s best to take it slow. Start by using a couple times a week, and progress to once daily (preferably at night).
For those of you with oily or acne prone skin, choose a face toner that contains salicylic acid. This will help control excess sebum, exfoliate, and prevent future breakouts.
HOW TO USE FACE TONER
Face Toner should be applied after your cleansing routine, when your skin is clean and thoroughly dry. Apply by saturating a cotton round with your preferred face toner of choice. Use gentle sweeping motions across your face avoiding the eye area, making sure not to apply too much pressure. Repeat using a fresh cotton round until all traces of dirt and oil are removed.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I USE FACE TONER?
In general, the frequency of how often you use toner depends on your skin type, skin concerns, and the ingredients in the toner. Gentle, soothing and hydrating toners can be used twice daily as they aren’t harsh on the skin. If you are opting to use a harsher toner, I would advice integrating it slowly into your skincare regimen. Starting with once a day, and building up to twice daily if needed.
THE BEST FACE TONERS
Check out the list of the best face toners curated by The Beauty Disruptor
Fresh Rose Hydration Facial Toner
A face toner suitable for all skin types. It is gentle enough for daily use. This toner is both soothing and hydrating. It contains rose petals known for its soothing virtues, rose oil, rose petals and hyaluronic acid which adds a deep hydration element.
Fresh Rose Floral Toner
Since antiquity rose water has been known for its calming effects on the skin. This alcohol-free mist is very gentle and can be used on all skin types. This moisturising mist can be used to set make up or refresh skin when needed.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow BHA+PHA Pore Tight Toner
A Cult Beauty favourite, this alcohol free toner contains PHA and willow bark ( a natural form of BHA). This toner helps to decongest and reduce pore size. Other key ingredients such as watermelon extract help to nourish your skin with vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids for a more radiant complexion.
Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Toner
French Cult brand Caudalie's toner works well on oily and acne prone skin. This toner is enriched with natural salicylic acid, niacinamide, and organic essential oils. Great for removing excess oil and dirt on the skin. With continued use this product helps to control oil production and reduce pore size. This toner is an excellent choice for oily, combination oily, and acne prone skin types.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
This famous toning mist is used by makeup artists and celebrities as a priming mist, and setting spray. Made of 100% natural ingredients. It works to smooth fine lines, tighten pores, and give the skin that radiant glow.
CORSX Pure Fit Cica Toner
This toner was formulated to repair damage, strengthen the skin barrier, and provide relief to sensitive irritated skin. It is suited for all skin types, especially very sensitive skin. And gentle enough for everyday use.
Innisfree Hydrating Toner With Green Tea Seed
An intensely hydrating toner that's packed with antioxidants. It contains Jeju Green Tea Extract and Green Tea Seed Oil, which both work to soften and protect the skin barrier.
I'm From Rice Toner
Infused with 77.8% Rice Extract, this rice toner effectively brightens the complexion as well as hydrates. It forms a protective barrier over the skin to prevent water loss, rebalance the skin, and help increase collagen production.
Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner
This mild alcohol-free toner is excellent for dry and sensitive skin types. Infused with cucumber extract and allantoin, this product soothes, tones and gently balances the skin.
SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Toner
A popular face toner amongst celebrities, SK-II works to tighten pores, exfoliate the skin, and remove impurities. It hydrates the skin, improves the skin's appearance, and evens out skin tone.
Read: The Best Home Skincare Devices