We all know that using toner as part of our skincare routine is an important step (especially if you suffer from acne), but some of us may be asking “what is it and what does it actually do”?
Toner removes dirt, oil, and debris while refreshing the skin and reducing pore size. It’s like a second cleanser to get out all of the stubborn impurities that your regular cleanser might miss. Toners have come a long way over the years.
While many of them used to be full of alcohol and other skin-drying ingredients, there are now many better, more natural, and even moisturizing options available on the market. As we stated above, this is a really important step if you have acne-prone skin.
Not sure where to start or which toner is right for you? We are here to help you get started with a list of the best toners on the market for those with acne.
The 15 Best Toners for Acne-Prone Skin
1. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid Toner helps soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles while smoothing the skin with anti-aging ingredients. It also helps to accelerate skin cell turnover for younger-looking skin. This product is a mild resurfacing toner that balances and brightens skin after cleansing.
This toner contains Glycolic Acid, Grapefruit, and Aloe combine together in a rejuvenating formula that works to refine pores and diminish the appearance of dry fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone to reveal a more radiant and youthful-looking complexion. This product is ideal for dry and combination skin.
2. Bioderma – Sensibio H2O – Micellar Water
Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micellar Water respects the fragility of sensitive skin’s hydrolipidic film by removing impurities and make-up. It removes 99% of make-up, captures 98% of fine particles, and eliminates 78% of heavy metals, all without harsh rubbing or rinsing.
This product contains cucumber extract to refresh and soothe the skin. It’s DAF (Dermatological Advanced Formulation) patented natural complex calms and raises the tolerance threshold of even the most sensitive skin. This non-sticky formula is free of parabens, alcohol, and oil.
3. IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Clarifying Tonic
Image Skincare’s Clear Cell Salicylic Clarifying Tonic teams alpha and beta hydroxyl acids that sweep away dead skin cells and remove impurities and excess surface oil. Formulated by physicians, this toner soothes and purifies the skin while minimizing shine and gently exfoliating clogged pores.
Glycolic acid works to smooth away pore-clogging debris while salicylic acid exfoliates and minimizes the appearance of large pores and blemishes. This product also contains herbal extracts to help to break up congestion and calm irritated skin while spearmint and eucalyptus oils refresh and cool the skin on contact. Ideal for aging skin, as well, this formula contains innovative plant-derived stem cells to diminish the visible signs of aging.
4. PCA SKIN Nutrient Toner
PCA Skin’s Nutrient Toner refines pores and nourishes the skin with its pumpkin wine-based exfoliating facial toner. This formula is filled with vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes that leave the skin healthy and glowing.
Suitable for all skin types, this product is produced by fermenting the whole pumpkin. This ingredient offers the nutritional benefits of pumpkin, including Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It also contains Aminoguanidine (an ingredient that supports skin) to keep skin soft and supple and Lactic Acid (naturally found in milk and sugars) to moisturizes the skin.
5. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner
Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner contains MicroClear technology, green tea, cucumber, and salicylic acid to treat and help prevent acne. This product actively reduces redness and irritation while eliminating oil and shine.
MicroClear is an exclusive technology that is clinically proven to boost the delivery of acne medicine to help unclog congested pores. With powerful dissolving agents, it breaks through dirt and oil to help clear the way for acne medicine to get to the source of your breakouts, even before they start.
6. Insta Natural 7% Glycolic AHA Toner
Insta Natural 7% Glycolic AHA Toner combines the exfoliating beneﬁts of Glycolic Acid with powerful fruit acids to support the skin’s natural renewal process. It is designed to refine the skin’s texture without irritation or dryness while decreasing the appearance of ﬁne lines, wrinkles, and dehydration.
This hydrating toner and exfoliant solution balances and preps your skin to better absorb serums and moisturizers.
Suitable for all skin types, ages, and genders, this alcohol-free toner is mild and effective. It’s great for treating cystic and acne-prone skin. This may be applied daily for gentle exfoliation. For best results, it is recommended that you apply this toner at night, following with an SPF during the day.
Key ingredients include Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin C. It is cruelty and paraben-free.
7. Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-In-1 Fight & Fade Acne Toner
With maximum strength salicylic acid acne treatment, Neutrogena’s Rapid Clear 2-In-1 Fight & Fade Acne Toner also contains MicroClear technology (See number 5 for more on this tech). It is the acne toner designed to reduce breakouts in just hours. This product reduces breakouts and helps fade the look of post-acne marks. It is also formulated with ingredients to help with skin cell exfoliation.
The refreshingly clean formula dissolves away oil and reduces pimple size, swelling, and redness in under 8 hours. Rapid Clear Toner is formulated to help speed surface skin cell exfoliation.
8. SOME BY MI AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
The slightly acidic toner contains a skin-friendly pH of 5.5 that calms alkalized skin and balances the pH balance of skin to prevent breakouts and keep skin healthy. This product will exfoliate, tighten pores, hydrate, and brighten skin tone. The AHA, BHA, and PHA keep skin bright and healthy by removing dead cells and impurities while normalizing the skin turnover period.
SOME BY MI excluded ingredients that may irritate the skin, and chose only skin-friendly ingredients for the toner. It is free of 20 harmful ingredients such as Isopropylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, p-Hydroxybenjoylformic Acid, Benzophenone, Triethanolamine, Mineral Oil, Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Red 102, Red 104, Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 4, Yellow 5 and Butylated Hydroxytoluene. What the formula does include are 10,000 ppm of Tea Tree Extracts, Virginia Witch Hazel Extracts, Papaya Extracts, Lentil Extracts, Swiftlet Nest Extracts, and Lotus Extracts.
9. Mario Badescu Witch Hazel Toner & Rosewater
Mario Badescu’s Rose and Witch Hazel toner is formulated for all skin types. This product will re-balance skin, remove surface impurities, and promote a fresh-faced glow post-cleanse. It ensures surface impurities are removed without stripping skin of its natural moisture. Black Rose, Rosewater, and Rose Oil are infused to provide a protective, antioxidant boost to reveal a fresh-faced, rejuvenated complexion.
This formula is sulfate-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, and vegan.
10. Touch Glycolic Acid Toner
Touch’s Glycolic Acid Toner not only helps control oily skin and reduce signs of aging, but it also reduces inflammation, redness, and provides antioxidant properties. It contains Aloe Vera Gel to soothe your skin while keeping it moisturized and hydrated. This product is made with 7% glycolic acid, rose water, witch hazel, and aloe vera to refine pores and resurface your face for a more radiant and youthful complexion.
It is alcohol and oil-free and is safe for all skin types including acne-prone, oily, dry, and combination. The product will leave your skin more absorbent and receptive to serums, creams, and moisturizers. The pH balance of 3.5 allows more “free acids” in this facial toner to fight wrinkles, reduce blemishes, and promote healthy glowing skin, all without irritation. This is a gentle yet effective solution for improving dullness, pores, acne, skin tone, blackheads, and hyperpigmentation.
11. Simplified Skin Glycolic Acid Toner
This Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA toner has been formulated to remove excess dirt, traces of oil, and makeup. Simplified Skin Glycolic Acid Toner also works to correct and balance the pH of your skin without alcohol and parabens to avoid irritation, redness, and breakouts. This toner rejuvenates, re-balances, nourishes, and hydrates skin to reduce dullness, fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. It is ideal for all skin types including acne-prone, oily, dry, and combination skin and it helps to shrink the pores and promote even skin tone and texture.
Formulated with 8% Glycolic Acid, this facial toner gently exfoliates your skin to remove the layer of dead cells from the complexion. This product is cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, alcohol- free, and gluten-free.
12. TruSkin Daily Facial Super Toner
This anti-aging toner is formulated to leave skin looking refreshed, refined, and just really healthy as it lifts away impurities as a wave of actives veils skin with potent beautifying ingredients. TruSkin’s Daily Facial Super Toner is packed with peptides, glycolic acid, witch hazel, and antioxidants.
Their collagen-focused formula has been supercharged with nutrients that push your skin’s reset button. There are few ingredients that facilitate a do-over as well as peptides.
They’ve locked in Matrixyl 3000, a mega-powerful peptide blend that’s revered for reviving key proteins and rebuilding firm, smooth complexions.
TruSkin also included “nature’s beauty mineral”, MSM, which easily lives up to its name, as well as its reputation for strengthening the skin. While MSM and Matrixyl 3000 target skin’s structure, good old Vitamin C leads a band of beautifiers in taking down swelling and leveling up tone.
Glycolic acid specializes in sloughing away lackluster layers to instantly refresh and lead the way for maximum product absorption. Packed with de-puffing and mattifying properties, witch hazel diminishes the appearance of pores while aloe soothes and hydrates the skin.
13. Clean & Clear Brightening Lemon Juice Facial Toner
Clean & Clear’s Brightening Lemon Juice Facial Toner is designed to be alcohol-free and works to cleanse skin without over-drying for bright, clear, happy skin. This toner is specially formulated with lemon extract and Vitamin C to brighten and tone the skin while removing impurities.
This one may not be suitable for sensitive skin as the acid found in citrus could be irritating.
14. THAYERS Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula
This natural botanical skin toner is designed to cleanse, tone, and moisturize with the essence of cucumber, witch hazel extract, and filet of aloe vera. Witch hazel is a proprietary extract and contains 195% more tannins than Thayers competitors. It tightens pores, controls acne and oil production, and reduces redness and inflammation. These beneficial tannins include mild antioxidant properties that reduce irritation, balance skin pH, clear the skin.
Witch Hazel’s strong antioxidant and astringent properties make it one of, if not the most effective natural cleansers and acne treatments available. Applying Witch Hazel to the skin reduces excess oil buildup and bacteria growth, heals infections, reduces redness and inflammation, and can even halt the development of blackheads and whiteheads.
A highlight of their proprietary formula is the filet of Aloe Vera. Widely-known as one of nature’s best non-greasy skin moisturizers, Aloe is also nutrient-rich. It contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, giving it excellent skin-brightening and anti-aging qualities.
15. BE PLAIN Chamomile pH-Balanced Toner
A gentle toner, Be Plain is enriched with 80.6% Chamomile flower extract in order to nourish the skin, reduce irritation, and prevent breakouts. This product is designed to match the pH of healthy skin in order to comfortably restore the skin to its natural pH state and provide long-lasting hydration.
Be Plain is committed to using only sustainable ingredients and materials that are harmless to the body and to mother nature and benefit the health of both your skin and mind.
French Chamomile Flower Extract contains superior regenerative properties that soothe the skin, clear out acne, lighten discoloration and improve the skin’s natural glow while Centella Asiatica Extract helps to strengthen and calm the skin, speed up healing and prevent future scarring and blemishes without drying out or irritating the skin.
Joan S. Wilson is a lifelong makeup and skincare enthusiast. She used to work as a makeup artist for 5 years. Joan is always curious and wants to learn more when it comes to makeup and skincare. She tries her best to make other people’s skin health better. This is why Joan is so passionate about writing articles on beauty topics. She always looks for products that are high-quality, dermatologist-tested, and does that it says on the label. In every article, she shares her knowledge to make your life healthier and happier!