We don’t have a week go by without at least 1-2 emails asking us why ESK doesn’t have a toner in our range! So I wanted to explore the world of toners a bit and unpack why it is nowhere to be seen on the ESK product list!
Back when I was a spotty teenager in the 80s, I slopped toner onto a cotton ball and slathered it onto my face every day. It gave me at least temporary relief from the grease buildup on my T Zones and made me feel I was nuking those dreaded zits. It stung like hell, which must’ve meant something good was going on!! Toner was more or less neat alcohol with a bit of astringent back then. Drying, pro inflammatory and likely to cause rebound oil overproduction, toners became the bad boys of skincare. Universally shunned by dermatologists the world over, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY we at ESK would allow such a product into our arsenal.
But since the 2000s, toners have had a bit of a reincarnation. A toner now means a watery skincare product with stuff in it. What stuff? Can be pretty much anything. They can have great active ingredients like hydroxy acids. I have seen toners containing salicylic or alpha hydroxy acids in them. Seems reasonable enough but I’m not sure about their concentrations or the pH of their formulations. And as for using them night and day, as recommended on the labels, No way! Hydroxy acids in any decent concentrations make your skin more prone to sun damage so should NEVER be used in the morning.
More commonly, though toners have ingredients like Witch Hazel, papaya, yeast, rose or aloe. All might smell nice. None have any good evidence for benefits to the skin.
Bottom line… as long as you use the toners with hydroxy acids at night ONLY, modern, alcohol free toners are unlikely to do any harm. But that’s just not the space ESK is in. We don’t do products that “won’t do you any harm.” We are in the evidence based cosmeceutical space. We make anti-aging skin care, formulating only with ingredients that have evidence published in peer review medical journals. That’s why we won’t be making a toner. For now. But rest assured, we are checking medical journals constantly and if any new evidence comes to light, we’ll be on it!!