Acne – Astringents and Toners

August 28th, 2010

I use the terms astringent and toner interchangeably.  They have a very small role in my acne regimens but are much more important in the treatment of mild acne in patients using over the counter products who have not seen a dermatologist.  Most astringents are alcohol based and function to clean the skin of dirt and debris especially oil. Salicylic acid is a component found in many astringents as it also helps to remove keratinocytes (dead skin cells).  Many patients with sensitive skin cannot tolerate astringents as they are very drying.  Patients with oily skin benefit the most from astringents as they are very effective in the removal of sebum (oil).  In my typical acne regimen, the Neutrogena Oil Free Wash http://www.neutrogena.com/category/cleansers  provides the same function as an astringent.  Only in my patients with extremely oily skin do I add an astringent.  My two preferred atringents are Biore Triple Action http://www.biore.com and Seabreeze Original Formula.  They are applied by wetting a cotton ball with a small amount of the astringent and gently rubbing the cotton ball over the face.  Once a day application is usually all that can be tolerated.