DO I NEED A TONER?

Toner, the skincare product that is as varied in formulation as is the list of their alleged benefits. The benefits touted by health and beauty magazines for toners are endless. They supposedly cleanse, shrink pores (note: like the length of your arms, pore size does not change), remove dirt, pollen, and pollution, hydrate, soothe and calm, repair, balance the skin's pH, nourish, stimulate blood circulation, function as an antibacterial, clear blemishes, and more.

Toners can be sprayed on, dabbed on with a cotton ball, applied with guaze or a washcloth, or with the fingers. Some are used with water, some without.

Toners come without alcohol, these claim to "refresh." They come with little alcohol (up to 20%), also known as tonics, not to be confused with the traditional quinine containing carbonated beverage. And they can be formulated with a high percentage of alcohol (20-60%), also called an astringent or drying agent, which may cause redness, irritation, or burning in individuals with sensitive or normal skin.

Want to cleanse the skin? Use a mild soap-free cleanser. Want to hydrate the skin? Apply a well-formulated moisturizer. Have oily or acne-prone skin, see a dermatologist. Skip the toner!