Toners, Dehydration and Break-Outs

Remedies for dehydrated skin, large pores and skin imbalances 


Toners are a beauty ritual instilled upon us by our mothers, and their mothers before them. .. ‘Cleanse, tone, moisturize’. It is a ritual that, as we learn more about the nature of skin, the effects of chemicals and the biological responses our skin has to these, the traditional toner is becoming less essential and more of an interference with the health and wellness of our skin. However, we cannot help ourselves. We have a few core principles for using a toner, consumers believe are essential in ridding us of some of the key signs of ageing skin (unhealthy skin). I am going to provide you with an alternative answer to some of these common conditions.

Large pores: The cause for large pores is dehydration. When skin is searching for water, the pores on the face become large, this is the only way our skin is able to deliver what it needs. This is a natural, biological response to dehydration. Depending on the formula of your toner, the alcohol or acid in it may dehydrate the skin, making no difference to the size of pores or may make them larger.

Remember this:

  1. Make-up, moisturizers, or cleansers also affect the size of pores. If you change foundation you may notice a difference in the size of your pores, if you are using a heavy, thick foundation without any hydrating qualities, this may dehydrate skin.
  2. Cleansers that aren’t pH balanced (for skin compatibility) or with high acidity, may interfere with the natural production of oil and hydrating compounds in skin.
  3. Mainstream Soap will dehydrate skin, the automatic response is to produce an abundance of oils and compounds to send to the skin surface and act as skin barrier.

Skin imbalances: Break-outs and Oily skin

We have been taught to look at skin in terms of ‘Oily’, ‘Combination’ or ‘Dry’, these are all descriptions of the behavior of skin at any given point. We may experience all of these based on the season, products we are using, our age, or hormones. The condition of the skin is usually a direct response to these things. Oily skin, however, which we are told a toner is essential for, is primarily caused by the over production of essential oils to combat dryness. So, if you are suffering from Oily skin, it is more likely that you in fact have dry skin that is overcompensating in its natural production of oils.

As we use a toner or acidic formulas to reduce the Oil, or ‘dry skin out’, this drives more oil production. Skin will continue to over produce the oil that it seeks until balance is found. Our bodies have a natural way of noticing a deficiency (in this case the oil) working to correct it (producing more oil) until balance is found (the part that is interrupted by our overreaction and freak-out at excess oil). The best  remedy for excess oil production is to assist skin with what it seeks… Oil. Yes, oil. This will give skin the essential nutrients it is searching for and in a few weeks you will see results.

Break-outs will lessen and the oil production will decrease as skin is functioning harmoniously.

The feeling of ‘clean’ or ‘dry’ skin is most popular with teens who are fighting acne, hormonal break outs or general congestion in skin. Firstly, we must remember that hormonal imbalances (the break outs that occur on your cheeks, neck, chest and back) cannot be cured from the outside, they need to be addressed from the inside. Homeopathic remedies or acupuncture are the best cures for clearing and balancing hormonal skin imbalances. See a TCM Acupuncturist, herbalist or naturopath and cure imbalances from the cause.

Break-outs can occur for many reasons; stress, hormones, dietary (allergens) If you have acute acne, you need to focus on soothing skin with pure oil formulas containing anti-inflammatories, anti-bacterial properties and rich in nutrients skin needs to repair after exposure to chemicals (like those found in clearisil or proactive). Acidic formulations will dehydrate skin, offering some short term relief from swelling, surface oil and the spreading of acne. Long term however, skin will suffer from a pH imbalance. PH imbalances can appear as dry flakey skin, redness, itchy skin conditions and general skin irritation.

Skin prone to break-outs needs to be treated specifically and softly. A chemical free skin ritual, that may only involve warm water, a natural cleanser and rich oil. Do not use organic  cleansers as organic formulas can be quite ‘hot’ on skin and may irritate skin further. Any formulas used on sensitive skin should be laced with Seabuck Thorn Oil or Calandula. Nutrient rich Seabuck Thorn Oil contains over 190 nutritional compounds to nourish skin. The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial Caladula (from the plant) is soothing for all skin conditions. Oils should be used once-twice a week and one-two drops applied daily to protect skin. You may want to use a hydrating facial mist for support throughout the day. Stay away from chemicals, anything containing alcohol or moisturisers, as these would be too heavy for acne or break-out prone skin.

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