Does Toner Help Acne? Here’s What Your Toner Can Do for You

Share this:

Toners are a secret weapon against dirt and buildup on your face. Therefore, if you are looking to achieve smooth, clean skin, you can incorporate the use of toner in your skincare routine. Since it helps to remove dirt from the skin, you may be wondering, does toner help acne?

Using a toner may help to reduce your acne breakouts. What a toner does is unclog your pores by removing the oil and dirt build-up that’s blocking them. This is one way to reduce breakouts—as breakouts happen as a result of dirt blocking the pores. 

So if your cleanser doesn’t effectively get rid of all the dirt on your skin, you can use a toner to double cleanse your skin. This way, all the dirt lingering on your skin will be removed. Read ahead to find out how toner can help your acne and acne scars.

Does Toner Help With Acne?

Toner helps to improve minor breakouts and scars, but using it without the support of any other product cannot eliminate persistent acne breakouts. 

A toner may be able to eliminate a few mild blemishes and breakouts here and there, as long as it contains anti-acne ingredients. Products containing ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide will help keep pores clean and prevent acne breakouts. 

Toner is an excellent treatment against occasional bumps and blemishes. However, if you have more than a few regular acne such as blackheads, toner alone is not enough to cleanse your skin. They are not strong enough to get rid of stubborn or stubborn acne. 

The type of toner you use determines the result you get—which is why there is a toner for every skin type. For your oily and acne-prone skin, the goal is to keep unwanted shine away by removing excess oil from your skin. 

In this case, find a topical toner that will help to tighten the pores and reduce the rate at which your sebaceous gland secretes oil into your pores. Using one that contains salicylic acid can help to get rid of acne-causing bacteria in the pores.

However, keep in mind that over-the-counter toner removes very little breakout. Also, it is important to avoid toners that contain anti-acne ingredients when you are already using a prescribed acne treatment. 

Using too many treatments at a time can cause your skin to become dry, flaky, and inflamed. Look for a non-medicinal toner that contains ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin. 

Be sure to consult a dermatologist before using a toner with your acne treatment. 

Can a Toner Fade Acne Spots and Scars?

Depending on the ingredients, some toners may help eliminate the dark spots left by acne after the wound has healed. Look for products that contain glycolic acid to help accelerate the fading of dark acne scars. 

However, toner does not help with real acne scars. Depressed acne scars are more difficult to treat and cannot be improved with toner or other over-the-counter skincare products. 

There are specialized acne scar remedies that can help smooth out these acne scars. So ask your dermatologist what works best for your skin.

Is Toner Good for Cystic Acne?

Using a toner that contains antibacterial properties such as salicylic acid can help to treat cystic acne. When you apply it to the skin, It will help to remove dirt, dead skin cells, oil as well as bacteria.

Cystic acne develops when there is a buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria clogging the pores. It develops from deep within the skin to below the surface of the skin. Cystic acne is often painful and it appears as white or red bumps on the skin. 

This is the most common type of acne and is most likely to leave a scar when it is finally gone.

Does Toner Make Acne Worse?

When you start using toners that contain high concentrations of anti-acne ingredients, you may experience a purge. This happens with every other acne treatment as well but doesn’t happen to everyone. 

This is the phase where your acne may appear worse than it was before you started using the treatment. There is no reason to be scared as it is just the toner working to help your acne. This phase usually lasts for days or a maximum of 2 weeks. 

If your acne keeps getting worse after several weeks of use, it may be due to an ingredient in the product rather than a purge. Toners can exacerbate acne, and if you have moderate to severe inflammatory acne or cystic acne, you may be stung or stung when applied.

Does Toner Help Blackheads and Whiteheads?

Blackheads, also known as open acne, occur when the pores are clogged with a mixture of sebum (oil) and dead skin cells. Although the pores are blocked, the top of the pores remains open. This leads to the characteristic black color that appears on the surface of the skin. 

Blackheads can be treated easily because the pores are open and easily permeable for the toner to treat. The toner will easily penetrate your skin to release the buildup blocking the pores.

Whitehead is a more difficult form of acne to treat. Like blackheads, it also happens due to the mixture of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells clogging the pores. But unlike blackheads, the top of the pores are closed off—making it look like a small bump attached to the skin. 

Toners that contain salicylic acid may be able to help you clear whiteheads. 

Does Witch Hazel Toner Help Acne?

According to the board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, “Witch hazel is a plant extract that contains tannins—which contains both antioxidant and astringent properties to fight acne.”

 If your skin is stable with your current acne control routine, but you still feel like you have frequent outbreaks, or your skin feels particularly greasy, witch hazel is your medicine. It may be a worthwhile addition to the shelves, he says. 

Witch hazel toner is an effective treatment for acne-related inflammation. Toners with high tannin levels are especially useful for people who have oily skin and are prone to acne. Incorporating witch hazel toner into your daily skincare routine is easy. 

It contains properties that have a drying effect on the skin and this will help to remove excess oils from the skin, says Dr. Zeichner. A pimple begins as a clogged pore, often due to excess sebum(oil) production. 

Using witch hazel to remove that oil from your face and halt breakouts before they have a chance to form or develop. Witch hazel tannins have antibacterial properties which can reduce the growth of bacteria on the skin and reduce potential rashes.

Finally, witch hazel’s anti-inflammatory properties can temporarily relieve the appearance of reddish skin by calming the area, narrowing blood vessels, reducing pores, and reducing redness.

Does Glycolic Acid Toner Help Acne?

Glycolic acid is the most commonly used AHA for acne due to its small molecular size and water solubility. As a result, it penetrates the skin better than other acids.  

When used as a toner, it removes dead skin cells and cleanses clogged pores. Over time, this also leads to a brighter complexion. Glycolic acid toner is a useful step in daily life when treating skin problems such as acne, scars, and hyperpigmentation. 

Bacteria are a known trigger for the development of acne, which worsens the skin and causes red and painful acne. Glycolic acid has been shown to have antibacterial effects when used in the treatment of acne. It reduces the risk of pimples and infections. 

When you apply glycolic acid to your skin, it breaks the bond between the outer layer of skin cells, including dead skin cells, and the next layer of skin cells. This creates a peeling effect that makes the skin look smoother and more even. 

If you have acne, the advantage of glycolic acid is that the peeling action reduces the clogging of the “bacteria” in the pores. Less clogged pores will make your skin cleaner and usually less acne. 

According to a study, glycolic acid has antibacterial and antioxidant properties and can also help improve the appearance of the skin if acne is present. 

The development of severe acne often leads to scarring of the skin. Glycolic acid has keratolytic properties. That is, it can destroy the outer layers of the skin and reduce the thickness of the scar tissue.

Glycolic acid can also thicken the skin by stimulating the growth of collagen. This will also help to improve the appearance of acne scars on your skin. 

Does Tea Tree Toner Help Acne?

Tea tree oil will help to treat acne because it contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It helps to soothe redness, swelling, and inflammation on the skin. It may help to prevent as well as remove acne scars. 

A review of 35 different studies on the use of modern acne treatments revealed that there’s some evidence to confirm the claim that using tea tree oil works for acne. 

A study found that tea tree oil contains both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help with treating inflammatory acne cases, such as pimples.

Another study looked at using tea tree oil and resveratrol as protection against sun damage. Even though it is unrelated, researchers found that participants had less oil and bacteria on their skin, as well as smaller pores. This means that tea tree oil could potentially improve acne.

In a study, tea tree oil was tested on the faces of the participants twice daily for 12 weeks. Researchers confirmed at the end of the study that tea tree oil can significantly improve mild to moderate acne without causing any side effects. 

Another study also found that combining aloe vera, propolis, and tea tree oil can help to reduce acne breakouts.

It is important to do a patch test to confirm the safety of using diluted tea tree oil on your skin. Once you have done this, you can use it up to two times daily if your skin is up for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can toner help back acne?

Yes, it can. Using toner that contains ingredients that work against acne will help to reduce your back acne. 

Choose a toner that contains ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, tea tree oil, aloe vera, and so on. 

Can witch hazel toner make acne worse?

Yes, it can. If you use too much witch hazel toner, your skin is liable to get more acne breakouts.

Too much witch hazel toner can dry out your skin and lead to worse acne breakouts on your skin.

Is it okay to use toner every day?

Yes, it is. You can use your toner ever, as often as twice daily. However, this depends on the active ingredient in the toner, the level of concentration, and your skin type. 

Using a high concentration of acids or peels in a toner daily can irritate your skin. Make sure your skin can tolerate frequent use before you start doing it.


Toners can help to treat acne breakouts on the skin. All you need to do is get one that contains anti-acne ingredients to help you fight and destroy acne-causing bacteria. 

Toners that contain BHAs, AHAs, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and so on are good at unclogging the pores to free them from dirt and dead skin cells buildup. This will help greatly to reduce and prevent acne breakouts on your skin.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Serum101 for more enlightening guides on what your skincare products can do for you.