What’s the Best Acne Toner?
Acne toners are popular products that those with acne-prone skin may be interested in trying – but not all acne toners are created equal. If you have acne and want to use a toner, what ingredients should you look for? This article outlines the best acne toner ingredients, how to incorporate a toner into your regimen, and other common questions.
What Do Acne Toners Do?
Toners are water-based skincare products that usually contain a variety of ingredients aimed at performing a specific function, such as cleansing the pores, brightening the skin, or calming inflammation. Because acne-causing bacteria, dirt, and oil become trapped inside pores, where pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads are formed, some toners can be helpful in clearing acne. Anti-inflammatory ingredients in toners can also help to calm sensitive skin types like acne-prone skin.
Astringents vs. Toners
Astringents and toners are often confused. Both are water-based skincare products, but toners tend to be more hydrating and gentler on the skin than astringents. Astringents usually contain alcohol – although there are some alcohol-free options – which can be very drying to the skin. When the skin becomes very dry, old skin cells flake off, clogging pores even further.
Thus, astringents are best for oily or combination skin where excess oil is problematic. Dry and sensitive skin types will do better with hydrating toners.
What Are the Best Acne Toner Ingredients?
Some of the best toner ingredients that are safe in acne include silver, glycolic acid, resorcinol, sulfur, and salicylic acid. These ingredients all work in different ways to decrease C. acnes bacteria on the skin – the bacteria that causes acne. Silver has long been known as an antimicrobial ingredient, which works to kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
Many dermatologists prefer to use a salicylic acid cleanser, followed by an acne treatment toner. The salicylic acid helps to reach oil that is deep within the pores, and clearing them out to allow better penetration and efficacy of the product that follows it. This does not have to be a toner, but it should contain one of the following:
- A prescription ingredient such as minocycline, dapsone, benzoyl peroxide, or clindamycin
- An over-the-counter ingredient such as resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid (2% or higher), or sulfur
- A non-FDA-approved ingredient such as salicylic acid (less than 2%) or silver.
- There is not yet enough data to recommend pre or probiotics for acne.
Is a Toner Right for Your Skin?
Toners are not always a necessary part of your skincare regimen, and the answer to this question will highly depend on your Baumann Skin Type® and specific skin concerns. However, toners can be a good way to add ingredients like silver, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, anti-inflammatories, and antioxidants to your regimen.
Work with your dermatologist to first determine your Baumann Skin Type® if you do not already know it. Then, choose the right toner ingredients for your skin. Dry and sensitive skin types should avoid drying ingredients such as certain types of alcohol.
The best acne toners will contain ingredients that work to decrease the amount of acne-causing bacteria on your skin. Some of these ingredients – like salicylic acid – also work by cleansing the pores to remove dirt and oil. This allows other topical acne treatment products to work better.
Not all skin types will benefit from astringents, however, as they can be too drying for already-dry skin. So it is vital that you choose an acne toner that is a good match for your Baumann Skin Type®.