What kind of acid is in your toner?

Acid Toners Madara Alba Botanica AcnedoteSo I am still on my way to achieving smooth even complexion. And I think it’s time to talk about probably the most under-rated skin care product ever – a toner…and one of its key ingredient that I am sure most people don’t even think about – an acid. In my skin care routine toners are one of the most important steps, I know most people ignore toners all together thinking it’s basically a clear liquid that does nothing! How wrong…If you find a well-suited toner for your skin, it can be a real game-changer in terms of how your skin looks. But you really need to know your ingredients and what will work best for your skin!

Based on their formulation I divide toners in two groups for myself – “pleasure” toners and “treatment” toners. In pleasure toners category I have all sorts of refreshing floral and herbal waters, they are available in abundance and mainly come as sprays/mists. Just pick the one with the most attractive ingredient list for you and you are good to go. Overall, nothing too difficult there.

Treatment toners are basically the ones formulated with some sort of acid. They can be very-very tricky, well at least for me. These kind of toners are not designed just to refresh skin and help absorb moisturiser, they can significantly reduce fine lines and post acne scars, improve skin tone and even fight skin inflammation. The effect depends pretty much on the toner’s formulation, the type of acid and its concentration.

Most of the acids are used in toners because of their powerful exfoliating properties. In some of the mainstream toners, you will find the whole cocktail of acids and they will be quite strong. However natural and organic brands usually tend to produce milder toners. I personally prefer very mild toners. While acids can really improve skin’s tone and texture, there is one huge downturn. Exfoliating acids actually remove top skin layers and make skin much thiner. This in turn makes skin really vulnerable to envrironmental damage especially from sun exposure. Hence if you use toners with powerful acids, you can easily end up with skin hyperpigmentation.

Now, few words on the type of acids one would usually expect to find in the ingredient list.

Glycolic acid seems to be very popular acid used in mainstream beauty toners and it’s the one I would personally stay away from. It’s burny, it’s strong and I think it’s not necessary at all. I understand that it is one of the most effective in short run, but I am not convinced that it’s safe for your skin in the long-run. I’ve done a couple of peels with glycolic acid some years back and my skin has become so sun sensitive that I need to where hat all the time now…and apparently that’s not only me!

Lactic acid can be found in both mainstream and natural toners. It’s quite mild, yet effective acid praised for its moisturising and soothing properties. It’s also a very gentle exfoliant. Again, some people are sensitive to it, so prior testing is a must. I would not pick products with Lactic acid at the top of the ingredient list as I find them to be too strong, but that’s just personal preference. Madara has a selection of really wonderful toners formulated with Lactic acid. They are suitable for everyday use too.

Salicylic acid is used mainly in anti-acne toners and astringents because of its powerful anti-inflammotary properties. I find this acid to be quite controversial as some people really like it and some people really hate it. I have Alba Botanica Acnedote astringent with 2% Salicylic Acid and I find it effective, but use it only occasionally to treat active acne as that stuff is really strong. I use it only overnight as it’s better to avoid sun exposure with Salicylic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is my favourite and is becoming more popular! It’s actually quite different from the acids I mentioned above as it doesn’t exfoliate skin but on opposite repairs and regenerate skin cells because of its unique molecular structure. Because of its replenishing and healing properties this acid works great for sensitive, irritated and acne-prone skin. It can also help with scars, fine lines and dry skin. There are many great toners enriched with Hyaluronic acid like Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner.

There are also many other acids that you can find in the ingredients list of your skincare, but most of them are used as preservatives (Citric acid, Dehydroacetic acid etc). They don’t offer much benefit, but can still cause skin reaction and sensitivity, so bare it in mind when you choosing your products and always test them first before applying all over the face.

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