If you suffer from oily, acne-prone skin astringents should be a permanent fixture in your medicine cabinet.

Similar to facial toners, astringents are formulated to penetrate the pores and dissolve excess sebum (oil produced by the facial glands). Astringents should always be applied to the face after you have cleansed. This way the astringent will eradicate any dead skin cells, excess makeup or impurities left behind by your cleansers or toners.

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In addition to removing oil and dirt from the face, astringents also induce coagulation of blood proteins. This basically means that when you apply an astringent, the skin's pores will close and the skin will become tight and well protected from any external oil and dirt. Because of their skin cleaning properties, astringents are often also used to relieve skin irritations resulting from allergies, small wounds, insect bites and athlete's foot.

When shopping for an astringent look for a brand made with pure plant based alcohol. These are the safest astringents to use because they won't dry out the skin as quickly as those made with harsh synthetic alcohols. For an invigorating home facial astringent grate a cucumber and apply the cucumber juice to your face. Let it sit for a few minutes then rinse your face clean with a clean wash cloth and lukewarm water. Mother Nature's astringent will leave your skin cool and refreshed.

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