Two of the major reasons why astringent is commonly used for acne are because most toners and astringents contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties. These properties help remove excess dirt and bacteria from pores, as well as the underlying skin, that are not normally removed through regular washing with cleanser and water. Since dirt and bacteria are both contributors to breakouts on the skin, using astringent may be helpful in cleaning the skin thoroughly and preventing further acne occurrences. Also, astringents seem to tone the skin and help close pores, sealing them off from invading bacteria and other contaminates in the environment.
Dermatologists often recommend the use of astringent for acne, and there are many types available, from over-the-counter astringents to medicated toners. The terms astringent and toner are sometimes used interchangeably, as both are applied to the skin after washing to help close pores and reduce dirt and bacteria, however astringents contain harsher ingredients often more suited to oily rather than dry or sensitive skin. Many dermatologists recommend that astringent be used alongside an acne soap or acne medication, as combining the two may result in fewer acne breakouts. A common astringent for acne contains salicylic acid, which has been shown to help remove dirt and prevent acne.
Astringents that contains beneficial compounds like antioxidants are said to combat bacteria and help make the skin look clearer, fresher and younger. Other astringents, like store-bought toners, may contain antioxidants as well as antibacterial compounds designed to remove dirt from the pores of the skin. Homemade astringents, like citrus juice or vegetable juices, may also work for some people, yet should be used with caution if an individual has any type of food allergy. Dermatologists can help guide a patient toward an astringent that is right for his or her skin type.
Natural astringent for acne, like witch hazel or green tea, is popular for providing deep cleaning properties along with antioxidant protection for the skin. The benefits of antioxidants in green tea are highly debated; however, it is proposed that green tea may have some beneficial effect on the oxidation of bacteria on the skin's surface. For best results, it is often recommended that an astringent for acne treatment be applied to the skin after washing with a cleanser and water. To avoid contact between the oils in the hands and the face, it is suggested that astringent be applied with a cotton ball or absorbent tissue.