Is your skin needing something more these day? Lacking vitality, uneven, patchy or prone to flakiness? Perhaps you’ve broken out in spots, or you’re noticing your pores are larger then ever?
Exfoliating toners (also known as acid toners) are perhaps the most underappreciated step in a skincare regime, and boy, can they make a big difference to your skin!
Who needs an exfoliating toner?
You should definitely consider adding an acid toner to your skincare routine if your skin is:
- Flaky or dry
- Uneven in tone, or dull looking and lacking its usual glow
- Dehydrated and patchy, with foundation not sitting properly on the skin
- Beginning to show signs or ageing, including fine lines and open, large pores
- Oily or prone to breakouts
- Prone to hyperpigmentation, or is particularly sensitive to the sun
What type of acid will suit your skin best?
There are three different groups of acids
– Alphahydroxy Acids (AHAs) – including Glycolic, Lactic and Malic acids
Used for brightening, hydrating and in anti-ageing products. They also stimulate collagen helping with enlarged pores and fine lines and wrinkles.
– Betahydroxy Acids (BHAs) – the main BHA used in skincare is Salicylic Acid
Great for oily skin or if you’re prone to breakouts
– Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs) – including lactobionic acids.
These are more gentle than AHAs and tend to cause less irritation on sensitive skin.
How and when to use an exfoliating toner
Most exfoliating toners have less than 5% of acid in them, and can, therefore be used every day, starting once a day, at night to begin with. If your skin tolerates the product, you can increase it to twice a day as required.
If your skin is sensitive, use your acid toner two or three times a week, to begin with, until your skin gets used to being treated with acids.
In terms of skin care steps, an exfoliating toner should be used after a cleanser and before a serum and moisturiser. Use a cotton pad and sweep the toner over the skin being careful to avoid the eye and lip areas.
If you’re using an exfoliating toner daily, you won’t need a weekly exfoliator unless it is a different group of acids (e.g. it’s fine to use a glycolic acid toner daily and a salicylic acid exfoliator weekly).
PLEASE NOTE, if using an exfoliating toner, you’ll need to add an SPF to your daily routine. SPF 15+ is adequate and one of my favourite ranges is Ultrasun.
My top picks for exfoliating toners
Best for – Glowing Skin
Containing 5% glycolic acid, aloe vera and ginseng this product really does live up to the hype!
If used regularly you’ll get healthy, glowing skin, and as it’s alcohol-free, it’s also great for sensitive skins
Best for – Oily Skin prone to breakouts
I LOVE this product! If you’ve never heard of Paula’s Choice products before, you’re missing a trick.
Containing 2% Salicylic Acid, this product is great for breakouts, oily skin, enlarged pores and blackheads.
Best for – Dry, dehydrated and flaky skin
Contains four different kind of acids to really make a difference to your skin. And as it uses PHAs rather than AHAs, this product is great if your skin is sensitive to glyolic acid.
It also creates a film like texture on the surface of your skin, locking in moisture and preventing dehydration.
Pricey, but a great product.
Best for – Fine lines and wrinkles, large pores
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, £50
This product can’t be purchased online, but it’s worth seeking out as it contains all three groups of acids in one amazing lotion!
It’s a strong product, and should be used sparingly, but if the signs of ageing concern you, this is definitely the pick to choose.
Not only will it brighten the skin, it also speeds up cell turnover giving a more even skin tone. It strengthens the epidermis too (the upper-most layer of the skin) again making it great for those who are 40+ as skin becomes thinner as we age.
Best for – Teenage Skin, Men and those living in heavily polluted areas
Germaine de Capuccini Balancing Purifying Lotion, £28.50
(can be purchased in the salon)
This toner is perfect for teenage skin as alongside Salicylic Acid it also contains Bisabolol, an extract of Chamomile, to soothe the skin as it clears it. Other ingredients are anti-septic anti-bacterial helping to prevent the spread of acne.
Gentle enough to use every day, without an overpowering smell which makes it ideal for men to use too.
Do you use an exfoliating toner? Comment below with your favourite and why you love it.
If you need any advice or recommendations with your skin, feel free to book in with me for a skincare consultation and I’ll be able to provide you with a more personalised plan.