Skin-Care Tips

‘I’m a Dermatologist, and These Are The 10 Best Toners for Oily Skin’

Saanya Ali

Photo: Getty Images/Jamie Grill
As a member of the OSC (Oily Skin Club), there is little I dread more than doing my skincare routine at 7 a.m. and looking like a glazed donut by 10 a.m. on the dot. Krispy Kreme is quaking in their boots. When it comes to preventing the shine, the equation looks a lot like eighth grade algebra. Add a retinol, subtract a thick moisturizer, add an acid, finish with a magnifying powder, and solve for X. That was, until I turned to toners. For any skin type, toners can be one of the most underrated members of your daily routine. They can minimize the appearance of pores, fight acne, remove excess oil, and even help soothe inflammation. According to dermatologist Hadley King, MD, not all toners are created equally, so if you have naturally oily or acne-prone skin, it’s important to look for a toner with salicylic acid or another exfoliating acid and apply it after cleansing and before a serum or moisturizer.

“Salicylic acid is an excellent comedolytic, or pore-clearing, ingredient because it exfoliates the stratum corneum (the surface of the skin) and penetrates into pores to remove sebum. This helps to prevent pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed,” says Dr. King. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). Unlike an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), BHAs are oil soluble rather than water soluble, so they can work on the surface of the skin as well as penetrate into the pores and help reduce blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and milia. BHAs also have anti-inflammatory, skin-calming properties so they are gentle enough even for sensitive skin prone to redness and rosacea.

Looking for the best toner for oily skin? Scroll down for 10 grat picks, according to top dermatologist, Dr. King

1. Alpha-H Liquid Gold Exfoliating Treatment with Glycolic Acid, $48

According to Dr. King, this formulation, which combines 5 percent glycolic acid, along with licorice extract to decrease hyperpigmentation and silk proteins, is great for reducing oiliness and shine while also to hydrating and plumping the skin.

Shop now: Alpha-H Liquid Gold Exfoliating Treatment with Glycolic Acid, $48

2. Isla Beauty Tone Balance Elixir, $50

With rosehip oil, witch hazel, and vitamin E, this balancing toner smells refreshing and is powerful in its hydration and skin texture and firming benefits. It is great to apply under the brand’s serum ($48) and priming moisturizer ($46) for a light, and breathable routine.

Shop now: Isla Beauty Tone Balance Elixir, $50

3. Innbeauty Project Down to Tone Life Changing Toner, $26

This alcohol-free blend of 6 acids (phytic acid, malic acid, gluconolactone, lactic acid, salicylic acid and citric acid) exfoliates, clarifies, and brightens the skin. It also contains niacinamide to improve tone and texture and support the skin barrier to keep moisture locked in.

Shop now: Innbeauty Project Down to Tone Life Changing Toner, $26

4. Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid Toner, $40

This refreshing toner is powered by witch hazel, allantoin and 8 percent glycolic acid, for ultimate exfoliation and excess oil elimination without feeling drying. It will leave your skin feeling soothed and revitalized after just a few uses.

Shop now: Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid Toner, $40

5. AcneFree Witch Hazel Mattifying Toner, $11

This toner includes a great combination of witch hazel, a natural anti-inflammatory and astringent that can help temporarily shrink your pores, glycolic acid and lactic acid to gently exfoliate and remove excess oil, and aloe vera and glycerin, both humectants, which will hydrate and soothe your skin. Talk about a multitasker!

Shop now: AcneFree Witch Hazel Mattifying Toner, $11

6. Mele Even Tone Post Cleanse Tonic, $20

This product is a great choice for melanin-rich skin concerned about dark spots. It contains lactic acid to gently exfoliate and hydrate and vitamin C. It is also free of alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates and mineral oil.

Shop now: Mele Even Tone Post Cleanse Tonic, $20

7. Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner, $28

Great for normal, oily, and combination skin, this alcohol-free toner helps control oils with its 2 percent BHA formula without stripping the skin. The moringa seed extract and moringa water are great for purifying and refreshing the skin by removing impurities caused by pollution while the papaya enzyme gently exfoliates the skin.

Shop now: Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner, $28

8. Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner, $8

Thayers toners use high quality ingredients sourced from nature and are always free of all artificial fragrances, colors, and dyes. The main ingredient is their home-grown witch hazel, which is a flowering plant known for its astringent properties.

Shop now: Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner, $8

9. Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, $20

Formulated in 1964, this toning lotion is great for oiliness and irritation. The camphor is both cooling on the skin and helpful for treating oily and acne-prone skin while the sodium PCA is a high-performance humectant that promotes softness.

Shop now: Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, $20

10. Herla Damask Rose Softening & Calming Toner, $36

This gentle toner smells like roses while it helps restore your skin’s natural pH. It is a great restorative and anti-inflammatory option that calms redness while removing excess oil from the skin.

Shop now: Herla Damask Rose Softening & Calming Toner, $36

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