Tested on animals:Yes
Power Essential Skin Toner Combination/Oily is an old-school toner … but not in a cool way. The second ingredient is alcohol, which means its concentration is high enough to cause free-radical damage, destroy collagen, impair skin’s ability to heal, and increase inflammation, all of which adds up to disaster for your skin (see More Info).
This toner also contains potentially irritating fragrance. Add that on top of this alcohol-based formula and you have a product that can actually make oily skin much worse—see More Info for additional details.
Sure, this toner also contains a few beneficial ingredients for skin, but the clear packaging allows those beneficial light-sensitive ingredients, such as the antioxidants, to break down.
What about the claim of "Optimal Mineral Water"? Even if the water were loaded with minerals, such ingredients typically have little benefit for skin because their molecular size is too large for it to penetrate. Besides, if you're curious about minerals as skincare, you can find them in plenty of products that don't risk irritation and dryness from alcohol.
Given this toner's probability of creating more problems than it fixes, there's really no reason to try it. For options that replenish rather than ravage skin, see our Best Toners list!
- Contains a smattering of skin-beneficial ingredients.
- High amount of alcohol damages skin and makes oiliness worse!
- The irritancy factor is further compounded by added fragrance.
- Clear packaging allows the beneficial antioxidants to degrade unless stored away from light.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012; and Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see the Paula's Choice Research Team's Expert Advice article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
Irritation's Connection to Oily Skin & Breakouts: Inflammation in skin is usually related to external factors such as irritation that damages the skin's barrier in numerous ways, whether you can see the reaction or not. When irritation on the surface of skin happens it activates specific chemicals called neuropeptides in the brain (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2007). Those substances are specifically the kind that regulates the hormonal system of the body.
When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the worse the risk (European Journal of Dermatology, 2002; and Dermatology, 2003).
Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores and more acne breakouts (Experimental Dermatology, 2009; and Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).
That's reason enough to avoid products with irritating ingredients.