Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making a toner for the dry skin type - rosacea or acne prone

Toners should be all about the moisturization if you are a dry skinned girl. Think of them as the step before you moisturize in the morning. Astringents are not your friends, so let's make a nice floral water splash to help hydrate your skin before you get out there and face the world!

BUT WAIT! We can't just go making a toner for dry skinned girls as we did with oily skinned girls because our goals are completely different! Dry skinned girls will probably use a moisturizer after cleansing, so we don't need to include tons of our water soluble moisturizers in this product! We can, however, focus on things like extracts, AHA, salicylic acid, and so on so we don't have to include those in a moisturizer! Almost like a "treatment" that can be used under moisturizer or a serum. So we need to think of two different recipes - one that might be used as a moisturizer and one that will be used as a precursor to a moisturizer!

IF YOU WANT TO USE TONER AS YOUR's probably not a fabulous idea if you have dry skin. But if you are rosacea prone or acne prone, oils aren't your friends. So we can make our goal to get you some serious moisturizing without oils! If you're unfortunate enough to have dry skin with rosacea and wrinkles, a toner type product might be the only thing your skin can handle!

As the basis for this kind of toner, we need to choose our liquids carefully. I'd suggest reducing the witch hazel to about 20% (it's still a great anti-inflammatory) and increasing the aloe vera to 30% (for all those lovely polysaccharides). You want to use some lovely hydrosols - chamomile, lavender, rose, and rosemary are good choices - although rosemary might be too much for dry skin, it does create a nice oily layer - to make up the rest of the water amount. You definitely need allantoin to create an occlusive layer, and you definitely want some film forming and conditioning agents.

Let's take a look at our humectants. Glycerin should always be the first humectant of choice for dry skin products. Various studies have shown that glycerin is incredibly effective for dry skin, so we want to include that at up to 3%. We could use more, but it can feel kinda sticky if you use too much. Hydrovance is a good choice in that it contains urea - something our skin likes - and it is a great humectant, but it can cause the pH of your product to drift over time, which isn't a fantastic thing to happen if you're a novice formulator.

If you have rosacea, acne prone, or wrinkled skin, there are four good reasons to use sodium lactate as your humectant of choice! It has been found to improve the barrier properties of our skin (in studies, there is a decrease in the trans epidermal water loss, which is a good thing), it is believed to stimulate ceramide synthesis in the skin, and it increases the plasticity of our skin. It also acts as a mild AHA on fine lines and wrinkles, which means it will also act as a light exfoliator. It can make us sun sensitive, though, above 3%, which is why we combine it at 2% with another humectant. (Oh, and it's quite inexpensive!)

Remember, if you have acne or rosacea prone dry skin, this means your skin's barrier layer is likely damaged. We would normally use linoleic acid or GLA containing oils, but your skin may not be able to handle oils (leading to break outs, for instance). As I mentioned above, sodium lactate at 2% can help with skin's barrier properties, but we need more - like conditioning polymers and hydrolyzed proteins to offer a film forming and moisturizing properties.

Conditioner polymers like honeyquat or polyquat 7 are great in toners as they condition and moisturize your skin as well as behaving like a humectant. Try either of them at 2 to 5%.

We need hydrolyzed proteins - choose something with low molecular weight like silk or Phytokeratin (a combination of proteins, some low molecular weight), which will penetrate your skin for great moisturizing.

And panthenol. It's a fantastic ingredient I always use at 2%. If you have a lot of inflammation or need more moisturizing, then you can up to 5% in your toner.

Finally, we come to the extracts. Most extracts have astringent qualities, which means they probably aren't the first choice for dry skinned types. But if we want to include a good anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, or anti-oxidant, then extracts are the way to go! Chamomile is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, it can reduce TEWL (so it adds a little moisturizing), and it can help with the look of UV damaged skin! Ginseng forms a film on your skin, so it is very moisturizing. Grapeseed extract is a fantastic anti-oxidant with some anti-exfoliation properties (which makes it less of a good thing) and great anti-inflammatory properties. And green tea is generally fantastic with loads of anti-oxidizing and anti-microbial properties. You can use one or two of these in combination.

Chrysanthemum extract is suggested for people with rosacea type skin as it is a very good anti-inflammatory.

White willow bark is a good addition for all the sensitive or wrinkled skin types as it offers great exfoliation with great anti-inflammatories. If you are using this under a moisturizer that contains AHA or salicylic acid, do not include white willow bark, AHA, or salicylic acid in your toner - it's simply too much of a good thing!

And finally, our esters! A water soluble oil - I generally use PEG-7 olivate or water soluble olive oil - is a great addition for dry skin toners as it offers all the goodness of an oil without having to use an emulsifier (which would then be a lotion, not a toner). I like to use it at around 4% or so, but you can go as high as 5% or as low as 1%. You can choose any water soluble oil you want - or leave it out entirely if your skin type can't handle it!

You could also try using 3% oil of choice with 3% polysorbate 80. Mix it well together before adding to the heated water. Remove 2% from the water phase. If you really want to use oils, I'd suggest the water soluble ones - polysorbate 80 can feel a little sticky on your skin.

Let's take a look at a toner suitable for dry, sensitive skin intended to be used as a moisturizer.

20% witch hazel
30% aloe vera
32.5% hydrosol - chamomile, lavender, rose
0.5% allantoin
2% glycerin or Hydrovance
2% sodium lactate
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% hydrolyzed protein
4% water soluble oil (ester)

2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
up to 1% other combined extracts
0.5% preservative

For rosacea, I suggest chamomile and chrysanthemum extracts.

For acne prone skin, I suggest white willow bark and honeysuckle extracts.

For wrinkled skin, I suggest grapeseed and white willow bark. As well, consider using something like Phytofruit or Multifruit at up to 3% and remove the white willow bark (too much exfoliation isn't a good thing!)

You can use any combination you like as long as you aren't putting a ton of exfoliating types together!

So how is this really different from a toner for normal or oily skin? The emphasis on moisturizing ingredients! The esters for one, and a ton of humectants designed to help with skin moisturization. Sodium lactate is generally in my products as a humectant, but here I'm using it as a skin barrier repair product and exfoliant. I'm still keeping it below 3% to avoid sun sensitivity, but I've combined it with other humectants for maximum moisture!

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating an under the moisturizer toner for dry skin types!


Lissa said...

Susan - another excellent entry. Once again, thank you.
I've got to try this toner.
Question? Any one know where I can find Witch Hazel w/o alocohol in the US? Small quantities?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Most - if not all - of our suppliers will indicate if the witch hazel contains alcohol - check the INCI if you are in doublt. The Herbarie's witch hazel is witch hazel only. I use the stuff from Voyageur (in Canada), which is alcohol free.

I have used the witch hazel from Brambleberry, but it notes that it is a low flashpoint product, so I wonder if it contains alcohol? I should write to Anne-Marie and ask her!

Take a look at this witch hazel from New Directions Aromatics - the INCI is Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) water (and) Ethanol, which means it contains alcohol.

Stay away from the witch hazel you find in the drug stores as they generally contain about 14% alcohol.

Meaue said...

Snowdrift Farms in Arizona also has witch hazel distillate. This is what I use and it is pure and simple. If Brambleberry's did not contain alcohol - it would be an awesome deal at than $3.52 for 16 oz! I vote you ask Anne-Marie!

Lissa said...

Thank you so much for the buying information. I can't wait to try this toner. It looks much better than the toner/hydrating lotion i've been using for years. Am determined to replace at least some of the Shu Uemura products I use. It's crazy that i'm so reluctant to make facial products when i've been making CP soap, lotions, creams, etc. for years. You've inspired me to try.
Thank you again

shivani said...

I have acne,black heads,white heads,open pores,and big itchy pus filled pimples..i have tried many many things, but nothing seems to work..i want to make this toner but i dont have all the ingredients.. i have witch hazel,but nothing written over it,so i m not sure if it is alcohol free..i used it directly and it was drying.. i have aloe vera,allantoin,glycerin, sodium lactate and panthenol.. i dont have ester,cationic polymer and extracts.. if i keep other ingredients as it is,and leave the things i dont have,will it still be effective on skin?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Shivani. Yes, it will work as a toner. Whether it will work for your skin, I'm afraid only you can decide that after using it.

Esther Tobin said...

I love this toner. My skin is now soft, relaxed and supple, no more boily zits (compared to the stressed-out, pimply, parchment-paper-like surface that it was), and I use it instead of moisturizer at night. Question: I find that the formula separates in the bottle with a thin layer of something floating atop. It's not a problem per se, I just shake it back in each time. Did I do something wrong?

Linhntp said...

Hi Susan,
Is there anyway we can leave out the honeyquat? It still hints fishy smell which is a bit off. I don't have other substitutes as you mentioned in the recipe where I live. If honeyquat/its subsitutes is not a must, then how do we shift the recipe %?
Many thanks,

Pam said...

Like Linhtp asks, I would like to take the honetquat out. I have been wnting to make a toner for a long time. Everytime I start, there is something I don't have! I am also wondering how we change the %. Thank You for your great blog!!!! I think I learn more from you than I did from my chemistry teacher in HS. I guess when you want to learn something it is alot different that having to learn something!