What is Astringent?

The astringent definition states that astringents are chemical compounds and substances that act as constricting agents by shrinking the body tissues. The astringent meaning can be better understood by the meaning of the word itself. Astringent is derived from the Latin word ‘adstringere’ which translates to the meaning ‘to bind fast.’ Astringent properties are multifaceted and multipurpose with many benefits and can be used as even astringent medicines. Astringent definition pharmacy comprises the functional properties of it in the internal body. Astringent drugs are characterized by the contraction of bodily tissue that restricts the secretion of fluids and even monitors the blood flow. 

Astringent Classification and Astringent Properties 

Based on mode of action astringent can be classified into three categories mostly in terms of Astringent definition pharmacy. 

  1. The first kind of classification is based on the property of those that narrow the blood vessels and decrease or limit the blood supply. Examples of such astringents are epinephrine and cocaine.

  2. The second category is glycerol and alcohol or the main ingredient being alcohol their mode of action is abstracting water from the tissue.

  3. The third classification is based on the action of those that coagulate the superficial tissue layers into a crust in order to stop the bleeding and stop the blood loss from the body and tissues. Examples of such kinds of astringents are calamine and alum which are metallic astringents.

Astringent and Toners

There is a commonality between the astringent and toner and yet there are some important and quite noteworthy differences that distinguish one from the other. 



1. It helps control the overproduction of oil by the sebum gland in the skin by stripping the skin from its natural oils. 

1. The toner is used after using the cleanser and it removes the debris that the cleanser misses.

2. It is an additional step in the skincare routine often used as a cleanser after or prior to makeup removal.

2. Helps the serums and moisturizers that are applied after the toner to better penetrate the skin. 

3. One needs to cleanse the astringent used. 

3. One can leave it on the skin and go ahead with the next skincare routine steps. 

4. The base product is alcohol or rubbing alcohol-containing isopropyl liquid-based formulas.  

4. These formulas have little to no alcohol in them. 

5. The dry skin type must not use astringents as the alcohol base strips oils making the skin drier and prone to acne. People with excessively oily skin can use it. 

5. The toner since it has little to no alcohol retains the skin oils and moisture even after cleaning and removal of debris and is suitable for the dry-skin type people. 

Astringent Uses 

  1. Medical or Internal Use - When induced internally the astringent leads to constriction of the exposed tissues and the mucous membranes. So, when one is suffering from diarrhoea, sore throat, peptic ulcers and even haemorrhages the astringent drugs can help in reducing blood discharge, and discharge of blood serum and even undesired mucous secretions. 

Few Astringent Examples are- Drysol, aluminium chloride topical, aluminium acetate solution, Formalaz etc.

  1. Beauty and Skin Uses - The usage of astringent is very popular in the skincare industry wherein it is used to clean after the makeup removal step is done and the leftover residual chemicals and oils are also cleaned. One can also relate these properties to that of toner. The astringent and toner both help cleanse the skin, tighten pores and elevate the quality of the skin, the difference is in the presence or absence of alcohol. 

Limitations and Side-effects of Astringents 

One needs to be wary of the aftereffects of usage on skin. Since they are loaded with chemicals and base component alcohol people tend to break out, so limited use is recommended. Even in conditions like haemorrhages only after the doctor’s recommendation, one must use astringent drugs because if improperly treated it can be life-threatening and fatal. 


The astringent is gaining more and more recognition due to its effectiveness and efficient performance in both the skin that is external use as well as internal use. More awareness about this is now seen due to better research methods and techniques. And due to the well-researched results and affects people’s interest in astringents is only increasing. However one must understand their skin better before going for an alcohol-containing astringent. Having proper prior knowledge will help you choose the right kind of astringent. Usage of the right kind will alleviate your beauty and healthy skin will add to your overall health as well. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1) Do Astringents have Antibacterial Properties?

Ans. The base component of astringent that is alcohol has an antibacterial property. And it helps in the evening of skin tone and minimizing the pores. The antibacterial property of it helps fight acne that is caused by p. Acnes bacteria that is common when one is constantly in exposure to such pathogenic microorganisms.

Q.2) Why does My Skin Burn after Usage of Astringent?

Ans. The alcohol in the astringent strips off the oils of the skin and if you have a dry skin type and are using an astringent with higher amounts of alcohol you will experience a burning sensation due to extremely dry skin. After a while, it will also cause irritation and itching and stinging sensation so make sure to use a heavy moisturizer after. And limit astringent use if you have a skin type that is more sensitive and relatively drier. 

Q.3) What Kinds of Astringents are Better?

Ans. There can be two types of astringents and both are equally popular in the beauty industry and the skincare community. The natural astringents and the astringents with a relatively higher chemical content in the products. Now that the world is becoming more conscious about leading clean lifestyles that leave fewer carbon footprints in the world the inclination towards the natural ones are increasing. However, the popular natural ones do not suit every type of skin so, one must choose depending on their skin type and that works the best for them.

Q.4) What are the Popular Natural Astringents?

Ans. The one ingredient that has been a part of the beauty and skincare routine ever since ancient times is the rose or the rose water. And we have all once in our lifetime heard our grandmothers tell us to use it for soothing the skin. Now along with rose water astringent, there are many astringent prepared with natural ingredients and no alcohol is gaining popularity. Some of them are apple cider vinegar astringent, cucumber astringent, lemon astringent and chamomile astringent. These can even be easily prepared at home as they are easily available and easy to make.