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What Are Astringents?

Astringents are substances which work to induce contraction in human tissue. They are often used in cosmetic applications, and they can be found in many skin care products. The word astringent has its roots in the Latin word astringere, which literally means to “bind fast”. While most people know astringents as products applied directly on the skin, there are actually a lot of substances that fall under this category. Some examples include wine, tea, lemon, and other tart foods. If you ingest these food items, you will notice that your mouth tends to become dry - the result of the astringent properties of the food.

The most common application of astringents is to make the skin look firmer and more toned. This is achieved by making the pores shrink. These cosmetic products are called astringents and toners, and they are applied to the skin after taking a bath or shower, right before one uses moisturizers. Beauty specialists will recommend using an astringent on a regular basis. When choosing a product to use as a toner, you have to check the alcohol content. The lower the alcohol content, the better, as alcohol can cause excessive drying and can only result in other skin issues.

Less known, perhaps, are the other medical applications for astringents. Doctors apply astringents in cases where there is swelling and bleeding. When astringents are applied, the mucus membranes shrink, and the doctor is able to identify the source of infection more easily. Other applications include skin irritation due to some sort of infection.

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