The 12 Best Toners for Acne, According to Dermatologists

Toning is somewhat of a polarized step in the skincare community. Some swear by doing it twice a day while others won’t even touch the stuff. I have to say, though, if you deal with acne or enlarged pores, dermatologists say it could be one of the most beneficial things to add to your skincare routine if you’re not doing it already. Using an exfoliating toner can help clear blocked pores, remove dead skin, and regulate oil production. Board-certified dermatologist, Brendan Camp, MD, says, “Look for [a toner] that helps remove residual oil and prevents the formation of blocked pores without drying the skin. In addition, toners that offer antibacterial benefits and exfoliating properties may help treat and prevent new acne blemishes.”

Personally, I fall into the “swear by it” camp. Using an exfoliating toner is one of the key things that helps keep my skin clear. My skin is sensitive so I often use gentle formulas, but board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD, also gave me a little advice on what kind of ingredients to look for in a toner. “Salicylic acid is wonderful in so many ways. It unclogs pores, removes and regulates oil, exfoliates dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, and minimizes the appearance of pores,” she says. “Glycolic acid is another powerhouse ingredient as it helps fade hyperpigmentation left over from acne breakouts. It also brightens the skin and smooths the skin’s texture. Succinic acid is antibacterial and gentle on the skin. It also helps regulate oil production and reduces inflammation.”

For more derm-recommended toners for acne and the formula that I can’t live without, keep reading below.

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