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Toners, and their stronger cousins toners and astringents, are often said to be a non-essential part of your beauty routine. [Check out FutureDerm’s article on Toners and their Usefulness] While many beauty products these days are formulated to be great cleansers and moisturizers on their own, using a toner can be used to ensure a good clean, moisturize, and do some pampering. Most people don’t need toner, but it can be a treat. Lancôme’s Tonique Confort Rehydrating Toner ($23.50, amazon.com) is a luxurious way to do some extra cleaning for combination skin. Plus, it offers its users a skin texture that is smooth while retuning a natural vibrancy and hydration to your skin cells.
Castor Oil: Great for Cleansing
An alleged remedy for everything ranging from constipation and strengthening the immune system, castor oil has been rumored to wear many hats. Unfortunately, these claims are mostly supported with folk wisdom than scientific research, but it has been proven that castor oil is a wonderful , non-abrasive skin cleanser. What makes castor oil so outstanding is its ricinoleic acid, a triglyceride that composes around 90 percent of castor oil and makes it an outstanding anti-inflammatory , anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and analgesic (pain relieving) agent (Mediators of Inflammation; Mercola).
Castor oil was used to treat eyelid and paw oedema (painful swelling) in mice and guinea pigs. Within three weeks of treatment, the animals had significantly reduced swelling and pain in their respective areas. These study may lend credence to claims of castor oil healing warts, bunions, cysts and corns, though there is still little research on these subjects, and any correlations for the sake of this article are purely speculative.
A separate study published in found castor oil to be effective in two ways: cleansing and water retention. When compared with a facial detergent containing walnut, the castor oil beads slightly improved transepidermal water loss (TEWL) after three weeks, meaning it will keep skin from drying out. Additionally, using castor oil did not alter skin texture or induce erythema (redness and irritation) (British Journal of Dermatology).
Finally, castor oil was revealed to have magnificent cleaning properties for dirty and oily skin, sans any harsh abrasion. Just how powerful was it? The researchers applied heavy squares of dirt to participants’ arms, and washed each square with one of the three cleaning solutions. After two minutes of using castor oil beads, the square was noticeably faded, and after seven minutes the dirt was almost off completely.
Honey: Natural Wound-Healer
Honey’s combination of vitamins, antioxidants, sugars and amino make it produce hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid — acidic solutions that are frequently used to clear dirt and bacteria from wounds. It is due in part to its numerous antioxidants and hydrogen peroxide that honey is often lauded as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent — good news if you have oiler skin that could collect dirt more easily, have superficial wounds and scarring, or if you just need something to give your skin a little extra cleaning (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery).
But honey’s effectiveness doesn’t just stop with being a skin cleanser – there is substantial evidence for its role in wound-healing. Coupled with its hydrogen peroxide, honey provides a moist environment for skin to repair itself, encourages epithelialization (skin cell regrowth), granulation tissue formation, (a type of connective tissue), and wound healing. Plus, honey can reduce swelling and is a strong anti-inflammatory agent, meaning that it very may well reduce pain and irritation from skin lesions (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery)
Honey is also good for dry skin, especially skin disorders such as Eczema and Psoriasis. These two skin ailments are characterized by their excessive dryness, itchiness, inflammation and irritation. After using the a mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax three times a day for two weeks, 80 percent of the eczema patients had reduced symptoms of itching, scaling, and oozing from lesions. 63 percent of the psoriasis patients also reported significant improvement in symptoms (Complementary Therapies in Medicine).
Users should know that there are several different strains of honey whose efficacy can vary, such as the medical-quality Manuka and Revamil. If using pure honey, take caution — honey is able to support the bacteria that cause gangrene and botulism, and are typically treated with gamma irridation to eradicate these bacteria (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery).
Glycerin: Regulates Cell Health and Moisture
In the cosmetic world, glycerin (also known as glycerol) is one of those ingredients that is found in virtually every moisturizer or conditioner but is often denied its due recognition. What makes glycerin so special is it’s long-lasting nature in skin cells. Each skin cells has something called an aquaporin, which basically delivers water throughout the cell to ensure proper health and considerable cell-life.
Specifically, Drs. Wendy Bolag and Xiangjian Zhen found that there was a particular aquaporin, called Aquaporin 3, is better designed to carry glycerin molecules throughout cells than it is water. Aquaporin 3 and glycerin interact with phospholipids, which are found in cell membranes (protective cell layer), glycerin and its respective aquaporin are believed to be involved in cell growth and function, though this assertion is still needs more support. But, glycerin does participate in many cellular activities, from apoptosis (pre-determined cell death) and maintaining glucose levels (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).
Aside from being a good moisturizer, glycerin also draws water from deeper skin layers and from the surrounding environment (Dermatology Times). But glycerin doesn’t just keep your skin moisturized; it also heals irritation and some damage due to excessive contact with sodium lauryl sulfate (Atrax-Tallau et. al). A glycerin-containing solution was also found to be a great healing agent for post-laser surgery wounds on the face by significantly reducing symptoms of pain, itching, rates of infection, inflammation, and cell regrowth/epithelialization (Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy).
Personal Use and Opinion
I absolutely loved Lancôme’s Tonique Confort Rehydrating Toner. The solution is very light, but thick enough that it evenly coats your face without excessive application — you only need about two dime-sized dabs to cover your entire face. Lancôme’s toner also has a very delicate but refreshing rose scent to it that isn’t too overpowering. This toner dries within a minute and doesn’t leave behind any heavy residue, so you can apply other moisturizers, sunscreen, or cosmetics without having to wait too long.
Despite the toners slight alcohol content, it did not dry out my face or cause any burning/tingling sensations after applying it. My combination skin flip-flops between itchy and dry to oily with acne, but Lancôme’s Tonique Confort Rehydrating Toner balanced out my skin’s natural moisture. Within just a week of using it, I noticed that my acne had almost disappeared and that my skin was smooth and adequately hydrated. Plus, my skin felt more taught after just a few days of using it.
Coupling great ingredients like glycerin, honey, and castor oil, Lancôme’s Tonique Confort Rehydrating Toner ensures adequate moisture and cell health for your skin. The solution is very light, and moisturizes skin without leaving behind an unpleasant residue or becoming tacky/clumped on the face. Plus, it has a very subtle floral scent that smells delightful. Within just a week of using it, I noticed that my face felt markedly smoother, tighter, and my acne/oiliness was much better regulated. Lancôme’s Tonique Confort Rehydrating Toner has secured a place in my beauty routine.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Yeast Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cyclodextrin, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethanolamine, Mel (Honey), Mannitol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Disodium Succinate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Protein, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Red 4.