Using Toner for Acne

Using Toner for Acne

Toners are often overlooked as luxury skincare products that can be eliminated from your daily routine if you are on a budget. But the truth is that a skin toner is an essential product for acne prone skin. These products can help balance your skin and reduce pore-clogging dirt, debris, and makeup that your cleanser may be leaving behind. Plus, toners help remove excess oils and balance your skin's pH, an incredibly important aspect of preventing breakouts [1]. And as an added benefit, a toner helps to replenish any hydration lost during cleansing while prepping the skin to better absorb all the active ingredients found in serums, oils, and moisturizers. That’s a lot of critical work for a luxury item.

In fact, Kate Somerville Skin Care Expert and esthetician to the stars, Kelly Viavattine recommends that all her clients struggling with acne prone skin implement a facial toner into their daily regimen. She told us that “when you have acne, you want to use products that are going to treat your skin, and toners do that.” Because certain skin toners can be gentle, she recommends using them once or even twice daily, depending on your skin type.

How to Choose the Right Toner

A lot of people think that facial toners are harsh and they dry out the skin, but as we just explained, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you have had bad experiences with toners, you might not be using the right kind for your skin type.

  • Oily Skin - The goal here is to keep unwanted shine in check and remove excess oil from the face. In this case, try topical astringents, which will tighten pores and help reduce lingering oils that cleansing missed. As an added bonus, the salicylic acid in toner will help remove any bacteria that could cause breakouts.


  • Combination Skin - Most commonly marked by an oily T-zone, those with combination skin can benefit from using a similar oil-absorbing toner along your forehead, nose, and chin. However, you must be careful to avoid any dry areas on your face. For those areas, a mild and moisturizing toner water can help to gently hydrate your skin without adding excess oils.


  • Dry Skin – Stay away from drying astringents and choose more hydrating waters or toning lotions. These products can help to hydrate and soothe dry skin before even applying your moisturizer. Water mists can also be perfect for setting makeup.


  • Sensitive Skin - Similar to dry skin, you will want to avoid any acne toners that would dry out or irritate your face and look for something lighter that will help moisturize. Those with sensitive skin might also benefit from using a toner with specific ingredients that can help calm the skin.


You might have to try a few different toners to find the best fit for you and your skin, but adding in a toner is an important step in your skincare regimen. Pay attention to the ingredients - if there is a high alcohol content in a skin toner, then it is most likely an astringent made for oily skin types, whereas your skin may prefer an alcohol-free toner. In the end, finding a toner that is great for your skin and that helps you feel your best will be worth the search.

Once you have selected your perfect toner, how you choose to apply the product to your face is up to you. Some people prefer to use a cotton ball or a cotton pad to gently apply toner while others feel that spraying or even patting it onto your face is a better practice [2].  Try out different toners and methods of application to see what works best for you. Your esthetician can also help give advice and take into account the unique aspects of your skin to improve your skin care routine.



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