Best Drugstore Toner for Acne – Which Toner Is Best for Acne?

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

Adding a toner to your skincare routine can benefit your acne prone skin. Tones help to rebalance the skin and remove oils and excess debris, which can have a huge impact on those with acne-prone skin. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to drop a ton of money on a designer brand, you may be searching for the best drugstore toner for acne. Fortunately for you, there are a number of excellent options out there that will help to keep your acne-prone skin healthy and minimize breakouts. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite drugstore toners.

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Neutrogena Oil- and Alcohol-Free Facial Toner, Hypoallergenic Skin-Purifying Face Toner to Cleanse, Recondition and Purify Skin, Non-Comedogenic, Quick-Absorbing, 8.5 fl. oz

Is Toner Good for Acne Prone Skin?

You may ask whether toner is good for those with acne prone skin.  Most skin and beauty experts agree that toner can be a very beneficial addition to an acne skincare routine.

One of the benefits of toner is that it helps remove impurities, such as bacteria, dirt, and oil from the skin.  Even after cleansing, some impurities are often left behind on the skin, and using toner can help further cleanse your skin.  This can be a huge benefit for those with acne prone skin because a buildup of oil or impurities in the pores can lead to acne breakouts.  Removing these impurities can help keep your skin free of breakouts.

Some toners can also help those dealing with dark spots from acne.  The glycolic acid found in some toners helps to increase the speed at which acne dark spots fade.  Unfortunately, however, toner won’t help remove deeper acne scars.  You’ll need to seek out a professional treatment and discuss options with a dermatologist.

Choosing the Best Drugstore Toner

While there are many drugstore toners out there, not all of them are suitable for use on acne prone skin.  There are a few different things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a drugstore toner for acne.

One of your primary goals when choosing a toner is to find one that will help to regulate the production of oil and sebum by the skin.  To find a toner that meets this criteria, you’ll want to pay close attention to the ingredient list.

Two key ingredients you can look for are AHAs and BHAs.  These exfoliants work to remove dead skin cells and other debris from the pores.  This will help minimize future acne breakouts.

Vitamin C and vitamin B3 are two other ingredients that can be beneficial for those with acne prone skin.  These are skin-brighteners, which can help improve your complexion and give your skin a healthy glow.

Lastly, when shopping for a drugstore toner for your acne prone skin, make sure to select one that is formulated with non-comedogenic ingredients.  Non-comedogenic skincare products are formulated with ingredients that won’t clog the pores.  This is essential for those with oil and acne prone skin, since you want to make sure your pores remain clean.  Clogged pores will increase acne breakouts.

Best Drugstore Toner for Acne-Prone Skin

Are you ready to learn more about our top picks for the best drugstore toner for acne prone skin?  Keep reading, then you’ll be ready to make a decision about which toner is the best fit for your skin and preferences.

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What is the best toner for acne prone skin? – Thayers Witch Hazel Facial Toner

THAYERS Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula, 12 oz
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  • Alcohol-free formula
  • Hydrates and soothes skin
  • Balances skin’s pH
  • Balances oily skin and minimizes pores
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Cruelty-free

When you’re searching for the best drugstore toner for acne, you’ll certainly want to consider this Witch Hazel Facial Toner from Thayers.  The toner is made using witch hazel grown on a local farm in Connecticut.  It also includes certified organic aloe vera along with nearly all (98%) natural ingredients.  The result?  An alcohol-free toner that is gentle on the skin.

When you add this toner to your routine, it can help balance your skin’s pH level and restore the moisture barrier.  It is an optimal option for those with oily skin and acne, as it also helps to balance the oils in the skin and make pores appear smaller.  The non-comedogenic formula is cruelty-free and has also been tested by dermatologists.

What Users are Saying

This is one of the most highly-rated and popular toners out there.  So, needless to say, you’ll hear a lot of positive things about it when you talk to individuals who have used it on their skin.  Users with acne have shared that they love how gentle this toner is and how well it helped to clear up their acne, reduce redness, and minimize breakouts.

However, some users didn’t have such a great experience when they tried this drugstore toner.  A few noted that it irritated their sensitive skin, while others shared that it wasn’t effective in helping clear their acne.

Best Drugstore Toner for Oily Acne Prone Skin – Proactive Revitalizing Toner

Proactiv Hydrating Facial Toner for Sensitive Skin - Alochol Free Toner for Face Care - Pore Tightening Glycolic Acid and Witch Hazel Formula - Acne Toner to Balance Skin and Remove Impurities, 6 oz.
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  • Alcohol-free formula
  • Removes impurities from the skin
  • Balances pH
  • Tightens pores
  • Blocks future acne breakouts
  • Formulated with botanical extracts to reduce oil and inflammation

If you have been dealing with acne for a while, you’ve probably heard of Proactive.  What you may not know, however, is that they also make a toner.

The Proactive Revitalizing Toner is designed for use by individuals of any age who are dealing with acne.  It is formulated to help clear the skin of impurities while also balancing the pH.  The alcohol-free formula also allows your skin to maintain its moisture levels to keep it from getting too dried out.

With the aloe, allantoin, witch hazel, chamomile and other botanical extracts, you’ll also notice that this toner is quite effective at reducing excess oil on the skin and minimizing the appearance of your pores.

What Users are Saying

A lot of users swear by this toner for acne from Proactive.  Many have shared how well it works on removing impurities and oil from their skin to minimize acne breakouts.  Some users have shared that they can’t find any other toners that match the performance this product delivers.

However, according to some users, this toner may burn or irritate your skin if you have open acne wounds.

Best Drugstore Toner for Sensitive Acne Prone Skin – Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner

Neutrogena Oil- and Alcohol-Free Facial Toner, Hypoallergenic Skin-Purifying Face Toner to Cleanse, Recondition and Purify Skin, Non-Comedogenic, Quick-Absorbing, 8.5 fl. oz
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  • Alcohol- and oil-free formula
  • Gentle, yet effective, formula
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Refreshes skin

If you’re dealing with sensitive acne-prone skin, finding the right toner can be a challenge.  We think you may like the Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner.  The hypoallergenic formula is ideal for those with sensitive skin.

With non-alcohol or oil, the toner is able to work gently to remove impurities from the skin.  It will leave your skin feeling refreshed and clean, but won’t strip away the skin’s natural moisture.

You can also check out Neutrogena’s face washes for oily and acne prone skin!

What Users are Saying

According to one user, this toner is “magic in a bottle.”  Happy customers have shared how much it has helped to reduce redness on their skin without leaving it feeling too dry.  Users also love the consistency of the toner and that a little goes a long way.

However, some individuals noted that the toner has a fragrance and weren’t very happy with that for a hypoallergenic product designed for sensitive skin.

Best Drugstore Toner for Dry Acne Prone Skin – CeraVe Hydrating Toner

CeraVe Hydrating Toner for Face Non-Alcoholic with Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and Ceramides for Sensitive Dry Skin, Fragrance-Free Non Comedogenic, Full Size, 6.8 Fl Oz
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  • Removes impurities from skin
  • Balances pH
  • Smooths skin
  • Seals in moisture
  • Alcohol-free and non-drying
  • Formulated with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide
  • Allergy-tested and safe for sensitive skin

This CeraVe Hydrating Toner is another top choice you’ll want to consider, especially if you have dry acne-prone skin.  The formula includes hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that work together to help deliver moisture to the skin, leaving it soft and healthy.  The alcohol-free formula also won’t dry out your skin, unlike some other toners.  This formula is also oil-free and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. 

As with all other CeraVe products, the toner’s formula also includes three essential ceramides that work to restore the skin’s natural barrier.

What Users are Saying

Most users absolutely love this toner.  Some have shared that it works as well, if not better, than other more expensive brands they have tried.  It is such a popular choice because of how well it hydrates the skin and leaves it feeling smooth and soft.

Sadly, not all users were as happy with their decision to try the toner.  Some shared that they didn’t notice any real improvements in their skin after trying it.

Best Drugstore Toner for Combination Acne Prone Skin – Paula’s Choice Pore-Reducing Toner

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner for Combination and Oily Skin, Minimizes Large Pores, 6.4 Fluid Ounce Bottle
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  • Shrinks pores
  • Reduces blackheads
  • Leaves skin smooth and soft
  • Evens skin tone
  • Removes impurities from skin
  • Designed for use with combination and oily skin types

If you have combination skin, we think you’ll like the Pore-Reducing Toner from Paula’s Choice.  This formula, which is specifically designed for combination and oily skin types, works to shrink pores and reduce blackheads to leave skin clear and smooth.  The formula also includes antioxidants that work to balance your skin tone.

What Users are Saying

If you chat with users who have tried this product, many will tell you that it is an essential part of their skincare routine.  Individuals have shared how effective the toner has been at helping to shrink their enlarged pores and that they love how clear and smooth it leaves the skin.

Unfortunately, some users didn’t have such a positive experience with the toner and shared that it irritated their skin or caused them to break out.

Toner for Dark Spots and Acne Scars – Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner

Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner for Dry and Sensitive Skin |Alcohol Free Facial Toner that Brightens and Soothes |Formulated with Glycolic Acid & Grapefruit Extract| 8 FL OZ
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  • Glycolic acid to fade dark spots
  • Softens fine lines and wrinkles
  • Accelerates skin cell turnover
  • Designed for morning and evening use following cleansing
  • Balances and brightens skin

Finally, if you’re dealing with dark spots or acne scars, you might want to try the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner.  The glycolic acid in the formula works to accelerate skin turnover, helping dark spots fade more quickly.  This formula also delivers anti-aging benefits and can help soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Plus, with the grapefruit and aloe in the formula, you’ll notice that your skin feels refreshed and balanced.

What Users are Saying

The vast majority of users are really pleased with the results this toner delivered.  Many have shared how much smoother and even their skin feels, while others noted that the toner worked wonders at helping to fade their dark spots.  In fact, some users even shared that their skin was noticeably better after just the first few uses. 

However, not all customers were pleased that they decided to purchase the toner.  Some found that the toner was too drying for their skin, while others shared that they did not notice any benefits or changes to their skin after incorporating the toner into their routine for a few weeks.

What Does Toner Do?

Toner is a water-based skincare product with a liquid-y consistency.  Compared to older versions of toner that are very drying due to their high alcohol concentrations, the toners you’ll find on the market now are formulated with skin-friendly ingredients designed to brighten skin, soothe skin, and deliver anti-aging benefits. 

Toners help remove dirt and debris from the skin, but they are also designed to refresh the skin after the cleansing step in a skincare routine.

Toners offer a range of benefits for skin.  These include:

  • Balancing the skin’s pH after cleansing
  • Removing makeup, dirt, bacteria, dust, and other impurities
  • Allowing the other skincare products in your routine to penetrate more deeply into the skin
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Why to Use a Toner on Acne Prone Skin

If you have acne prone skin, and you’re not using a toner yet, it may be time to start.  Toner offers a number of benefits to those with acne prone skin.

First, toner removes impurities from your skin that may be left behind ever after cleansing.  These impurities can include oil, dirt, bacteria, dust, and pollen.  As you are likely aware, when your pores become clogged, it can lead to an acne breakout.  Since toner helps to remove these impurities, it can minimize the change of a breakout occurring.

Another benefit of adding toner to your routine if you have acne prone skin is that it may work to fade some of the dark spots on your face caused by acne.  Some toner formulas include glycolic acid, which is the key ingredient to help fade acne spots and blemishes.

Toner also helps to balance the skin’s pH.  With a balanced pH, your skin’s barrier is able to do a better job at keeping bacteria and moisture out, thus limiting those unwanted breakouts.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner for Dry and Sensitive Skin |Alcohol Free Facial Toner that Brightens and Soothes |Formulated with Glycolic Acid & Grapefruit Extract| 8 FL OZ

How to Apply Toner to Acne Prone Skin

Toner should be applied to your face after cleansing.  To apply toner to your skin, wet a cotton round with the solution.  Use the cotton round to blot your skin, taking care to apply the toner to all the different parts of your face.

Watch how your skin reacts to using toner.  Depending on the specific formula of the toner you choose and your skin type, you may want to apply it between once and twice a day.

Additional Tips For Managing Acne-Prone Skin

Choosing one of the toners shared above can help your skin.  Keeping up with a proper skincare routine for your acne prone skin is also important.

Here are a few other tips and suggestions to help you take care of your skin:

  • Choose a gentle cleanser designed for oily and acne prone skin.
  • Don’t scrub your skin when you’re dealing with an acne breakout.
  • Use a chemical exfoliant, rather than a physical scrub, to prevent irritating your skin and causing more breakouts.
  • Always choose non-comedogenic makeup products.
  • Clean your makeup brushes regularly.
  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible to prevent introducing dirt and debris that could exacerbate your acne.
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Making the Decision: Which Drugstore Toner Will You Try?

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn more about our top picks for the best drugstore toner for acne, it is time for you to make a decision.  Which toner do you think is the right fit for the specific needs of your skin?  Are you excited to give it a try and see the benefits it can deliver?  Don’t delay in placing your order!

Learn more about taking care of acne prone skin with these related posts on our blog:


Is toner bad for acne prone skin?

As long as you don’t choose an alcohol-based toner, using toner will not be bad for your acne-prone skin.  Toners help to remove impurities from the skin and pores, and they may even help to fade dark spots from acne.

Is toner good for acne skin?

Yes, toners with the right ingredients can be very good for acne prone skin.  They can help remove dirt, oil, and debris to keep the pores clean, can leave the skin brighter and feeling refreshed, and can sometimes help to fade dark spots.

By Ellis James

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  1. This looks like very good products you recommended. I just love taking care of my skin and being sensitive I feel less is more and nourishment is very important. Thank you for sharing. Have a great week.

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