- Use a facial toner formulated for oily skin to remove excess oil, impurities and any residue left after cleansing.
- Active ingredients such as glycolic acid and clay are beneficial in removing excess oil and unclogging pores.
- Witch hazel and tea tree oil are natural ingredients used in DIY toners to control oily skin.
- Avoid using toners containing alcohol, as they will overly dry skin and cause irritation.
If you are having difficulty controlling oily skin, adding a toner to your skin care regime can help clear away excess oil. Toners also contain active ingredients such as tea tree oil and niacinamide to treat a variety of other skin concerns.
How Do You Know You Have Oily Skin?
Oily skin is characterized by a shiny appearance and enlarged pores. It is caused by an overproduction of sebum, a natural oil produced by the body to protect the skin. You may also notice blackheads and pimples due to sebum building up and clogging pores.
Benefits of Toners for Oily Skin
Toners are effective in controlling oily skin. Toners remove any residual oils and impurities that cleansers leave behind and can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores caused by excessive oil produced by the sebaceous glands.
Toners to Choose and Toners to Avoid for Oily Skin
Choose a toner that is specifically formulated with ingredients that focus on the characteristics of oily skin: shiny skin, enlarged pores, and the appearance of pimples. For instance alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), can penetrate deep into pores to provide effective exfoliation and help clear out clogged pores.
Avoid using toners containing ingredients such as coconut and mineral oil, as these are used to treat dry skin; using these toners will worsen oily skin.
Astringents are ingredients that tighten pores and dry the skin. Astringent toners are formulated to specifically treat oily and acne-prone skin types. However, they contain a high percentage of alcohol and can be harsh and strip away too much oil, causing irritation and dry patches – even for those with oily skin.
Ingredients to look for
AHAs are a collection of ingredients found within toners to exfoliate the skin. Glycolic, citric and lactic acid are all AHA’s favored in numerous skin care products for their effective results in treating dull, oily and aging skin.
Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells and excess oil from the face to reveal a brighter, smoother and even complexion. Salicylic acid can be used to achieve the same results.
Some toners also contain clay, a natural ingredient known for its oil-absorbing and skin purifying benefits. When used in toners, it leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed.
Toners for Sensitive Skin
If you have oily, yet sensitive skin, look for a toner that is specifically formulated for this skin type in order to prevent irritation. As with any new skin care purchase—and especially so for sensitive skin types—conduct a patch test by applying the product it to a discreet area of skin before applying on your face to determine any sensitivity to the product.
Ingredients to look for
Use toners formulated with a combination of exfoliating and nourishing ingredients that gently target oily skin. For example, glycolic acid is commonly used in toners to exfoliate and clear away oil from the skin, while added ingredients such as aloe vera and chamomile help to soothe and hydrate.
To prevent irritation, start with a toner that contains a low concentration of exfoliating ingredients. If you feel you are not achieving the desired results, gradually increase the strength of your toner.
Toners for Oily Acne-Prone Skin
Green tea and tea tree oil are two ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are often used in acne-targeting toners to target Inflamed pimples that are a common symptom of acne. Additionally, tea tree oil has been found to effectively fight bacteria, preventing pimples from becoming infected.
Hyperpigmentation may occur with acne, as a result of skin inflammation. Niacinamide is used within toners to reduce the appearance of these dark patches of skin. This ingredient has also been found to reduce swelling and control sebum production, making it a powerful ingredient for those with oily and acne-prone skin.
Homemade Toners for Oily Skin
If you prefer to follow a natural skin care regime, you may want to make your own DIY toner. They can provide similar benefits to commercial toners and are helpful if you are on a budget.
DIY green tea toner
Green tea is a powerful ingredient, providing numerous benefits for the skin. Not only does it help to reduce inflammation and provide antimicrobial effects, green tea has been shown to reduce sebum production.
How to: Steep 2 green tea bags in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Cool, discard tea bags and transfer to a container.
DIY tea tree toner
Tea tree is a useful natural ingredient for oily skin types. It helps to reduce excess oil while providing soothing, anti-inflammatory effects. It’s especially effective if you experience inflamed breakouts due to oily skin.
How to: Add 3 drops of tea tree oil to 1/4 cup of water. Shake well and transfer to a container.
DIY witch hazel toner
Witch hazel is often found in commercial toners to treat oily and acne-prone skin. The tannins found within witch hazel provide natural astringent benefits, reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and removing excess oils.
How to: Combine 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup of witch hazel. Transfer to a container. Optional: Add a few drops of aloe for a moisturizing benefit.
How to Use Toners for Oily Skin for Best Results
Use a toner as a second step of a three-step skin care routine: after cleansing but before moisturizing.
Add a few drops of toner to a cotton pad and wipe gently across the face. Do not saturate the pad or overapply as this may lead to dryness and irritation.
Use a toner every morning and evening, unless it contains high concentrations of exfoliants such as AHAs or if your skin feels tight and irritated.
A Word About Makeup
Comedogenic cosmetics clog pores leading to the formation of blackheads; this is especially true for oily skin types. Choose makeup that is identified as non-comedogenic as part of an effective skin care routine.
Toners to Avoid If You Have Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
If you have acne-prone skin, avoid ingredients such as alcohol and strong exfoliants that have the potential to exacerbate your symptoms.
When used on open sores or pimples, alcohol-based toners can cause an unpleasant burning or stinging sensation and may end up aggravating your acne. Avoid these products, as there are a wide range of alcohol-free toners available that are formulated to effectively treat acne.
If you are already using prescribed acne treatment, using a toner with high-strength exfoliating ingredients may cause irritation and dryness. Instead, opt for a toner that contains skin soothers such as aloe vera and chamomile.
Toners are effective products to incorporate within your daily skin care routine if you have oily skin. There are a wide variety of ingredients found within toners that are effective in targeting oiliness including glycolic acid, tea tree oil and witch hazel.
Using a toner specifically formulated to treat oily skin will also help to minimize pores and control sebum production. An effective toner should both exfoliate and soothe the skin, and should not contain any oil-based ingredients.
Alcohol-based toners should be avoided as they often strip away the skin’s natural oils, leaving it dry and irritated.
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