Does your skin react to just about everything?
Or maybe you’re an oily-skinned guy or gal and have resorted to using harsh ingredients in the past to try and control that daily shine?
For this reason, I want to discuss astringent ingredients that are often used in the beauty industry.
The word “astringent” is such an ambiguous word; what does it really mean?
An astringent is a substance which causes biological tissue to contract or draw together, after topical application.
Bear with me as I get technical for a minute: astringents work on the protein, keratin, found in the skin. The salt bonds in keratin are affected by temperature and pH, and form when the skin is slightly acidic or cool.
If the bonds break, the keratin molecules separate, causing the outer layer of skin to swell. When the skin cools, these salt bonds reform, and it is this process that produces the temporary “toning” effect associated with astringents.
Can you permanently reduce pore size?
No! Apologies for being blunt here, but contrary to popular belief, this action is short-lived.
You can’t permanently reduce enlarged pores which are over-stretched, no matter what clever marketing campaigns try to tell you. This is a topic I discuss in greater detail in the article, “Oily Skin Remedies“.
Two alcohol astringents are used in the personal care industry:
- Isopropyl alcohol, often referred to as “rubbing alcohol”
- SD alcohol, or ethanol, is a specially denatured ethyl alcohol
Astringents give the skin an instant cooling effect.
When you apply alcohol to the skin, it evaporates very quickly, stimulating the sensory nerve endings in the skin that constrict blood vessels.
It is this action that gives it the cooling feeling – much like splashing cold water on your face – this is why alcohols are often used in aftershave products.
Synthetic Versus Natural Astringents
Synthetic alcohols can cause irritation and dehydration.
This upsets the delicate micro flora that preserves the acid mantle; this is where alcohols get their reputation for stripping the skin.
And yes, they do clear the skin’s surface of oil, but at a price; they cause oil glands to go into overdrive as they try to replace the lost oil, making skin even oilier…
So, no matter what your skin type, try to avoid astringent alcohols. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural alternatives available.
- Witch hazel
- Lemon extract
- Potassium alum
Witch hazel is often used as a natural alternative, but used in high concentrations it can be very astringent. When used in low concentrations, it can be extremely soothing, making it the perfect natural treatment for an oily, combination skin prone to breakouts.
Because we are all about treating sensitivity, our formulae are extremely repairing. Bio Lipid Complex is perfect for treating a skin that has become compromised.
Follow the link to read more about the correct use of astringents.