If you look up synonyms for word “Stringent” you will find rigid as a synonym. Astringent carries out that function. It makes the surface of your skin rigid, in the sense of non-porous; making it look cleaner and tighter. Astringents are solutions that carry out bonding activity of our skin. People with oily skin are seen with large open pores that ooze skin oils and sebum making skin prone to acne and other skin problems. Astringent works to keep the pores of skin tighter leading to reduction of oil secretion on to skin surface. It is a good idea to use prior to applying make-up if you want your make-up to stay cohesive.
Available over the counter, astringents do not need any special care of training for application. They are simple and straight-forward solutions that carry out a simple and straight forward job. If you feel your skin is feeling too oily, use astringent to make it look taut and oil-free. Especially useful for hot and temperate weathers when skin goes into an overdrive of oil production, astringents can be first step to prevention of skin disorders like acne and blemishes.
Astringents owe their qualities to complex chemical named tannin. Used liberally in leather goods industry, tannin is a chemical that is effective in precipitation of skin tissues at the protein molecule level. They have a unique effect on proteins in that they make them curdle, thus making them insoluble. This protein creates a coating on skin surface that is very much skin’s own! Since proteins that exist in tissues are being made to create a coating, allergic reactions are non-existent. This protein is short lived as body’s metabolism takes care of it. Thus astringents act only at the epidermal level where they can penetrate the skin. This very important as only the upper layer of skin is being targeted, leaving your deeper skin and muscles in their natural state.
Astringents Have Therapeutic Value
Other than beautification; astringents have lots of therapeutic values. Since they carry out precipitation of tissue proteins, they are greatly effective in reducing skin irritation caused due to numbing. These properties also ensure that astringents can be used in reducing surface inflammation. Their chemical base ensures that they act as antiseptics creating a barrier against infection caused due to wounds and burns.
They have a wide range of uses, especially in primary infection fighters for wounds and certain digestive tract problems. Inflammation of digestive tract caused due to problems like diarrhoea can be greatly reduced by the use of astringents. However, their long time use is detrimental for the system. Their continued use can cause gut walls to become less absorptive leading to indigestion and further complications. In such cases, their use has to be undertaken with carefully administered quantities for a short duration and only under prescription.
Unique properties of tannin make it precipitate protein from tissues thus making it an excellent application for primary and small wounds and cuts. A major use of astringent is seen in products like after shave, cologne and some cleansing creams and lotions. If you have experienced shaving cuts and applied after shave to heal them, you will understand how astringents work. Their application is especially useful for cases of acne. Using it after steam will effectively cleanse and close pores and leave them in this state inhibiting any collection of sebum or dead cells.
Some Home Tips for Using Astringent
Lime juice contains tannin in sufficient quantity. If you have some unused wool, dip it in lime juice for use as an astringent.
Cucumber, rich in multi proteins, can be used to make a paste with lime juice. This paste acts as an effective astringent and nourishing agent.
Water and vinegar mixed in equal parts form a good astringent.
Squeeze two large lemons; mix a tablespoon of tincture and ¼ cup of water. Mix these ingredients to make an effective astringent .
Tomatoes are rich in tannin. Rub this juice on your face, leave on for half an hour and wash off.
If you can find a peach, mash it and mix with ½ teaspoon of tomato juice and ½ teaspoon of lime juice. The astringent made thus is quite potent and is very effective in acne conditions.