The Whole View, Season 3, Bonus: All About Astringents w/ Dr. Nicole Sparks

Welcome OBGYN Dr. Nicole Sparks to The Whole View! Stacy and Dr. Sparks dive into the difference between astringents and toners, the role astringents play in our skin care and overall health, and the importance of  finding the right astringent product for your needs!

Find Dr. Sparks & T.N. Dickinson’s:

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Key Takeaways 


  • Dr. Nicole Sparks, MD is an experienced certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the Howard Center. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, and her Medical Degree from the Florida State University College.
  • Dr. Sparks truly has a passion for educating about the importance of women’s health. She works to make sure that her patients are not only educated and informed, but are making their health a top priority.

What is an Astringent?

  • An astringent is a substance that shrinks tissues. Some common examples in skin care include alcohol and witch hazel. Skin care products with “astringent” on the label are usually liquids that a person either sprays onto the face or applies with a cotton pad. People use them after cleansing but before moisturizing.  They are NOT a toner, which would re-set skin’s pH – instead they serve a different purpose.  
  • Strong astringents strip much of the oil from the surface of the skin. This can become a problem because oil, or sebum, plays an important role in skin health. According to the AAD, people with more sebum tend to have fewer wrinkles. So we don’t want to get rid of it entirely! Sebum is also part of the moisture barrier, stopping water from leaving the skin. Stripping all oil from the skin may therefore result in dryness and irritation. I see so many people who have red, irritated skin that’s actually overly dry. Then their skin tries to make more oil, usually found in their T- Zone on the face, with dry cheeks. If your skin is combination or unbalanced, we need to work on hydration not drying it out. And a hydrating astringent like T.N. Dickinson’s could really help. 

How to Use?

  • Essentially where our family used to use alcohol, a witch hazel-based astringent is providing a better result. Benefits include:
    • Gentle enough for daily use on face and body to to calm, nourish, and hydrate skin while also relieve oily, irritated, red, damaged, and blemished skin
    • Gentle enough for daily use on the body
    • Effective enough to treat chronic skin conditions and first aid skin irritations
    • Suitable for everyone in the family
    • And T.N. Dickinson’s also has options that include Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe to hydrate and soothe skin
  • Primary uses for adults & parents include
    • Postpartum care
    • Skin cleansing
    • Makeup removal
    • Blemish care
    • After shave care
    • After sun care
    • Skin cleansing – remove excess oil, grime, and dirt
  • Primary used for kids/teens:
    • Soothe bug bites
    • Blemish care
    • Care for cuts and scrapes
    • After sun care

Learn more about Safer Skincare & Clean Cosmetics for Teens & Twenties (and why it matters here

Studies, References & Products


  • T.N. Dickinson’s, the brand families have trusted for gentle and effective first aid and skincare for over 150 years – with 100% natural, clinical grade USP* witch hazel. It can be found on Amazon and at major retailers including Walgreens, Walmart, Target, CVS, and Rite Aid.

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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