There are two types of skin exfoliation; physical, like with spinning face brushes, rough washcloths and gritty cleansers, and chemical, as in with acids. The best acid toners (or in other words, chemical exfoliants) can unclog pores, clear acne, remove dead skin, excess oil, leftover dirt, and makeup, and refine skin tone and texture.
Now, just because acid toners aren’t as scary as they sound doesn’t mean they're all good for all skin types. If you have sensitive skin, for instance, you might want to avoid formulas made for oily skin or acne-prone skin which tend to have stronger concentrations of acid. Similarly, you should opt to use an acid toner just three times a week or even once a week instead of every day until your skin adjusts to the strength of the ingredients. Remember, however, in the long term chemical exfoliation is still more gentle (and arguably more effective) than rough physical exfoliation which can cause micro tears in your skin regardless of your skin type.
After you’ve chosen the right toner for your skin type and skin concerns from the list below, cleanse your face with a gentle face wash or micellar water. In order to be most effective, a chemical exfoliating toner — or any toner for that matter — should be applied to clean skin with a cotton ball, pad, towel or soft cloth. To finish, use a moisturizer that contains SPF since acid toners will make your skin cells more vulnerable to sun and environmental damage. Happy toning!
1Best For Acne-Prone Skin: A Gentle, Clarifying Toner That Clears And Prevents Acne
If you have an ongoing, stubborn breakout or are generally acne-prone, La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Clarifying Solution Facial Toner will help you get and stay clear. Featuring both glycolic acid, which works to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells from the skin's surface, and this formula's star ingredient, salicylic acid, which penetrates deeper to clear pore-clogging debris, blackheads, whiteheads, and acne blemishes. The formula is also free from oil, fragrance, and paraben, and dermatologist tested to be suitable for sensitive skin.
2Best For Oily Skin: A Glycolic Acid Toner That Unclogs Pores And Reduces Excess Oil
The best acid toners for oily skin contain glycolic acid, and NeoStrata’s Oily Skin Solution doesn't skimp on it. Featuring 8 percent glycolic acid, this toner effectively removes excess oil, and sebum, clears clogged pores and removes the outermost layer of dead cells to reveal smoother, fresher skin.
3Best For Combination Skin: A Vegan Acid Toner With Vitamin A That Evens Out Skin Tone And Texture
Even though it’s only around $10, Derma E’s skin-softening, vegan glycolic acid toner is a top-of-the-line exfoliator that — with the help of vitamin A — boosts your skin cell turnover to reveal brighter, more even skin. The alcohol-free formula, also removes impurities, reduces the appears of pores, and rebalance pH. It's best suited for oily and combination skin types.
4Best For Sensitive Skin: A Hydrating, pH-Balancing Toner With Hyaluronic Acid
Most acid toner focus on exfoliation but Hada Labo’s Rohto Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion, which contains hyaluronic acid, penetrates the skin to increase its water content and prevent it from looking dull, dry or overworked. Of the toners on this list, this one is the safest and most effective for sensitive skin.
5Best For Refining Pores: A Pumpkin Wine-Based Toner Toner With Active Amino Acids
With lactic and citric acids to gently exfoliate and refine skin plus essential oils, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and other advanced ingredients, PCA SKIN’s Nutrient Toner is the best acid toner to minimize the appearance of pores and give you seriously glowing skin. The pumpkin wine-based formula is suitable for oily, dry, normal, and combination skin types.
6Great For All Skin Types: An Easy-To-Use, Everyday Acid Toner
If you want a toner that’s gentle enough for everyday use on all skin types but strong enough to effectively exfoliate, tone, and brighten skin, look no further than these First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. The pre-soaked pads are easy to use and contain just the right amount of lactic and glycolic acids for one treatment. It also contains lemon peel to further skin, Indian gooseberry extract to help tone, and licorice root, feverfew, and white tea extract to help stave off environmental aggressors.
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