Is a Toner Bad For Your Skin?

Toner helps eliminate any residue or impurities left behind after cleansing your skin, as well as balance its pH levels, control oil production and minimize shine.

Problematic toners often contain ingredients that do more damage than good; in some cases they even contain photosensitizing chemicals that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, leading to sunburn and skin damage.


Alcohol’s devastating impact on human bodies has long been established, from cancer risks and liver disease to cardiovascular issues and skin irritations. Regular and abusive alcohol consumption has the ability to make your skin worse, particularly with frequent drinking of certain types of alcoholic beverages – this may accentuate fine lines and wrinkles, dull and blotchy complexion, uneven tone and worsen preexisting conditions like rosacea or psoriasis worse.

Drinking alcohol can have negative side-effects on skin health; dilatation of blood vessels can result in redness or flushing, as well as increasing broken capillaries on its surface, leading to reddening or flushing and eventually even permanent uneven complexions. Furthermore, alcohol consumption may aggravate preexisting conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff on scalp, itchy patches of greasy and flaky skin elsewhere on body) among others.

Heavy drinking has the ability to undermine immune function, making you more susceptible to infections. This may occur either directly by weakening your immune system directly, or indirectly by depriving the body of essential vitamins such as Vitamin C and Zinc which provide essential immunity-building elements.

People genetically predisposed to developing melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) may increase their risk by drinking heavily or consuming alcohol-containing products like bourbon, red wine and beer. Alcohol also interferes with your body’s natural ability to repair DNA damage caused by sunlight exposure and can impair how quickly your DNA repairs.

Today’s toners contain non-alcohol ingredients designed to address various skin concerns. If you have combination or oily skin, look for one with ingredients designed to reduce enlarged pores while eliminating extra oil while leaving behind moisturization for soft and supple skin. For acne-prone skin, look for toners with pore cleansing ingredients and low concentrations of salicylic acid or beta-hydroxy acids; while those with normal, dry or sensitive skin should select one that soothes and replenishes them. These advanced formulas are gentle yet effective and help your face appear refreshed and healthier. For the best results, combine your toner with high quality serum and moisturizer – this will ensure that your skin gets all of its required nourishment to stay healthy and look its best.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid, extracted from willow tree bark, is an extremely effective beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). Known for its role in treating acne, salicylic acid penetrates skin pores to dissolve oils that clog them, helping remove dead skin cells that lead to blackheads and whiteheads clogging follicles – one of the few BHAs which unclog follicles without irritating or inflaming pores – making salicylic acid one of the only BHAs capable of unclogging pores without irritation follicular dissection.

Oil of oregano can be especially helpful in fighting mild acne, like blackheads and whiteheads. Because it penetrates deeply into the skin, it penetrates deep to break down proteins that hold oil and dead skin cells together while fighting acne-causing bacteria that overproduce and inflame your face.

Commonly found in skincare products sold over-the-counter, vitamin E is often present in serums, face washes and spot treatments. If your skin is particularly dry or sensitive however, applying vitamin E could result in some temporary irritation or even stinging upon application.

As with any new ingredient, before including salicylic acid products into your routine it is wise to conduct a patch test in order to assess if your skin can tolerate them. If tingling or dryness develop, that may indicate your skin has experienced adverse reaction to treatment and it is best to seek alternative methods of relief.

Salicylic acid, a popular acne medication, may also help fade post-acne marks by inhibiting inflammation-driven hyperpigmentation. Make the most of this remarkable ingredient with our Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, featuring salicylic acid, Activated C, and white birch extract for improved appearance of dark spots caused by acne, sun damage or other pigment issues. Just keep in mind that children and teenagers should only use salicylic acid when directed by a physician due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, an potentially lethal illness affecting liver and brain tissue. Furthermore, taking aspirin while using salicylic acid could increase bleeding during and post surgical or medical procedures and is therefore not advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Today’s toners offer gentler alternatives than their predecessors, which target different skin types with gentle formulas and have soothing or balancing properties to even out skin tone, soothe redness or fight signs of aging – for instance oily skin may benefit from using one which reduces excess oils while shrinking pores while dry or sensitive skin types could benefit from being moisturized with ingredients like witch hazel or chamomile.

According to their formulation, toners can range from those designed with astringent properties for tightening pores and reducing oil, to soothing and skin-protective formulas packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients and other helpful compounds – each designed to restore skin’s natural pH balance while clearing away makeup, dirt or impurities left by cleansing alone.

Many toners contain an assortment of natural botanicals, essential oils and plant extracts known for their skin-nourishing benefits – these ingredients may include natural botanicals such as vitamins or essential fatty acids that provide additional hydration or soothing. These natural extracts may have various beneficial properties which work to hydrate, soothe or balance the skin depending on what effect they have.

Synthetic fragrances found in many beauty products pose a great danger, with research showing them to be one of the primary causes of cosmetic contact dermatitis – like poison ivy or rash in its severity. Furthermore, many chemicals used as fragrance are hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, neurotoxins or carcinogens and should therefore not be put near our skin or bodies.

Though fragrance can be harmful for our skin, many of us still use perfume and other scented personal care items. One way to limit exposure and use unscented products instead is conducting a patch test before applying new ones directly. Or consider toners that contain mild natural perfume-like ingredients; otherwise choose toners without fragrance altogether and look for formulas which use only essential oils or plant extracts as fragrance source.

Other Ingredients

A toner is a skin care product designed to remove makeup, dirt and oil from your face. Depending on its ingredients, toners may also provide additional hydrating, soothing or astringent benefits. Most toners come in liquid form that you apply using either your hands or cotton rounds (reusable options should be preferred) after cleansing but prior to serum and moisturizer application.

Toners are often used to prepare the skin before treatments or spot treatments are applied, though its ingredients can make a toner more versatile than its name implies. Some contain witch hazel or other natural astringents to combat blemishes while others contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids for exfoliation; and still others contain humectants like glycerine or hyaluronic acid which help hydrate and plump up the complexion.

Though often forgotten when choosing cleansers and moisturizers, toners can offer impressive benefits despite their often-overlooked status. The key is finding one without irritating ingredients and with an appropriate concentration for your skin type; one containing too much alcohol might dry out your complexion while too many acids or astringents could create an imbalanced pH balance that causes breakouts or dryness.

Good news! There are numerous plant-based, organic toners out there that provide all the same benefits of drugstore versions without drying alcohol and harsh chemicals – taking time and care in selecting an excellent toner can have amazing results.

If you have sensitive skin, opt for a toner containing soothing ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile extracts to calm and comfort. For oily skin types, look for one with alpha/beta hydroxy acids like lactic acid or salicylic acid to exfoliate and prevent excess oil production; while for dry complexions humectant-infused toners can provide moisture replenishment.