Skin astringent is stronger than toners. It has generally up to 35% alcohol and suits better for acneic and oily skin.
1- Some Current Main Components Used:
- Glycerin: Also known as glycerol, glycerin is a sugar alcohol that can be easily obtained from natural sources. It plays the role of a humectant: meaning it retains moisture in the upper layer of the skin and prevents premature moist from cosmetics. Glycerin has great moisturizing properties as well as it contains cleansing agents.
- Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid promotes the shine of the cells of the epidermis and hence make the skin look healthier and more radiant.
- Propylene Glycol: Propylene glycol is a clear and colorless liquid derived from alcohol. It is most often used as a solvent and viscosity decreasing agent in cosmetics and personal care products such as fragrances, shaving, personal cleanliness products, and eye and facial makeup.
2- Some Current Hazardous Components to Avoid:
- Fragrance: Fragrance ingredients in cosmetics must meet the same requirements for safety as other cosmetic ingredients: they must be safe for consumers when they are used according to labeled directions. Some components of fragrance formulas may have a potential to cause allergic skin reactions or sensitivities for some people.
- Parabens: Parabens are a group of preservative ingredients that are commonly used in many products of our daily lives. They are used in cosmetics, personal care products, food products and even pharmaceuticals. They prevent the spoilage of the materials they are added to as they prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria. The parabens were proven to penetrate the body through the skin and remain within the tissue which disrupts the hormones’ functions.
3- Natural Alternatives:
- Witch hazel: It is a natural astringent made from the bark and leaves of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana. The astringent properties of witch hazel come from natural compounds called tannins. It is quite a gentle astringent that usually works well for all skin types. Sometimes witch hazel products have high concentrations of alcohol. If you want to find the most gentle form of witch hazel, check the ingredients to make sure there is no alcohol, and look for “witch hazel extract” in the ingredient list instead of “witch hazel distillate”.
- Rosemary water: Apply rosewater for an extra mild astringent. Rosewater is a very soothing natural astringent. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to soothe irritation and relieve redness. Boil 1 cup (240 ml) of water and add a handful of rose petals. Continue boiling until the water pulls the color out of the petals. Mix in a few drops of lemon essential oil for an extra astringent boost. Rosewater will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Try tearing the rose petals before you put them in boiling water to help release the nutrients inside the petals.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a strong natural astringent, so it should be diluted to use. Add 5 teaspoons (25 ml) apple cider vinegar to 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) distilled water. Mix in a few drops of essential oils like lemon or rose to cut the vinegar smell. You can adjust the ratio of apple cider vinegar to water depending on your skin type. Try a 1/4 ratio if you have sensitive skin or are trying out astringents for the first time. If your skin still feels oily, you can make a 1/3, 1/2, or even a 1/1 dilution. Store your apple cider vinegar dilution at room temperature.
- Chamomile and mint:Chamomile can remove dirt and control the oil production of your skin. It is also very soothing and calm sensitive skin. Mint is also a mild astringent and will give this mixture a refreshing scent. To prepare, boil 2 cups (470 ml) of water with a handful of dried chamomile flowers and dried mint. Store your chamomile astringent in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.