Soothe your skin with a DIY toner for acne! Using an anti-acne face toner in your beauty routine can help to balance the pH level of your skin, minimize pores, prevent and reduce acne, and refresh the skin. This skincare tutorial shows how to make and use an easy homemade acne toner recipe.
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DIY Toner for Acne
While skincare products like moisturizer, cleansers or face mask are pretty self-explanatory, the use of toners can be a little uncertain. A toner is that one skincare product that you may already use in your skincare routine but know very little about.
The use of toners is sometimes debated. Some people frown upon it for being too astringent and incredibly drying. Others believe it’s one of the secrets for glowing skin.
This is because some toners exfoliate, some even out the skin tone, some remove makeup, some hydrate your skin, and some even do all of the above. A “toner” can simply mean a range of skincare products that have different uses and serve various purposes for your skin!
Another thing that makes people question why do people use toners is the bad reputation this skincare product received, thanks to the harsh alcohol-based solutions that used to be manufactured in the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
But, this DIY tea tree toner will bring your skin back to its natural acidic state, increase hydration, fight impurities, and help to absorb your other skincare products more efficiently.
This DIY toner for acne was first published in May 2018. I have updated the tea tree toner with new information, better pictures, and an improved formula in April 2020.
Benefits of DIY Toner for Acne
What is a good toner for acne-prone skin? This anti acne toner recipe is helpful for people with oily skin or acne problems. If you are wondering what this toner for acne prone can do for your skin, here are some key benefits of this homemade skincare product:
Toners restore your skin’s pH balance
The moisturizing ingredients in the toner are essential as they help in restoring your skin’s pH balance. The natural state of our skin is acidic, usually with a pH balance of 5.5 (on a scale of 0-14). But factors such as makeup, sebum production, and pollution can affect your skin’s pH balance.
When your skin’s the skin is not at a balanced pH, it needs to work overtime to attain the normal levels, which can result dryness followed by excessive oil production, and eventually, acne.
Here, the toner can help as most of them regain the skin’s natural pH level. Thus, by applying toners directly to the skin, you help it in maintaining a proper pH balance!
Facial toners refresh your skin
Toners are stocked with ingredients like aloe vera extract, amino acids, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and hydrosols that hydrate skin instead of throwing off the moisture.
Face toners form a protective layer
Face toners help close open pores in your skin and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, preventing impurities and other environmental contaminants from getting into the skin.
Toners aid the skin in retaining moisture
Some toners are hydrating in nature. The hydrating properties of this skincare product help increase the absorption of moisture. So, the next time you apply moisture over a toner, your skin will soak it up!
The more moisturized your skin is, the healthier it appears.
Toners help in removing makeup
Toner can help naturally clean your skin and remove make up residue, dirt, and other impurities. While you still want to use a mild facial cleanser, you can easily remove makeup residue and excess oil from your face by using a toner.
Ingredients for DIY Face Toner for Acne
I formulated this homemade toner for acne and scars withhigh-quality ingredients like tea tree hydrosol, d-panthenol, and niacinamide. But why are these materials being used in our DIY acne toner?
Here is why these ingredients are beneficial to your skin and how they help make a toner that fights acne and protects your skin:
Tea tree hydrosol
Tea tree hydrosol is a byproduct of the distillation of tea tree essential oil. It still contains a small percentage of tea tree oil, which is known as the best oil for acne. You won’t face problems like sensitization or burns while using tea tree hydrosol on your skin as it’s milder than the essential oil.
The hydrosol is also a great astringent that you can use to tone, firm and tighten skin, and shrink large pores and reduce excess oils.
It reduces inflammation and swelling by sabotaging the immune responses that cause tissues to get inflamed.
The calming anti-inflammatory benefits of eucalyptus hydrosol is excellent for skin conditions that are inflammatory in nature, like dermatitis, acne, and eczema.
Lactic acid is needed to adjust the pH of the toner, which in turn also balance your skin’s pH. The material is part of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Lactic acid has a mild peeling effect. It removes the topmost cells, revives dull, uneven skin and restores your natural glow.
Preservative Eco (Geogard ECT)
A broad-spectrum preservative for aqueous formulations and emulsions, Preservative Eco, is highly effective with a wide pH range of 3.0 to 8.0.
You can incorporate this incredible product into various leave-on and rinse-off personal care and cosmetic products for broad preservation.
Since this tea tree toner contains hydrosols, using a preservative isn’t optional.
The following ingredients are optional but recommended because they will enhance the effectiveness of your DIY acne toner drastically. Feel free to add all or pick just 1 or 2 for your toner recipe.
Sea salt (oily skin only)
Sea salt contains many skin-friendly minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. These minerals help to fight acne-causing bacteria. Sea salt also helps to balance out sebum production and control excess oil.
Only add sea salt if you have very oily skin and need a little drying action. Salt is too drying for any other skin type, especially dry and sensitive skin.
Being an active form of Vitamin B3+, niacinamide is great for limiting the overproduction of sebum and reducing the symptoms of acne. It’s also known for improve acne scars and skin blemishes. If your goal is to reduce acne scars, then niacinamide is great to have in a DIY toner for acne scars.
D-Panthenol (provitamin B5,) has anti-acne and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reducing the risks of acne scars and blemishes.
It also helps repair the skin’s protective barrier, which leads to a smoother and fresher appearance of the face along with reduction in wrinkles and fine lines.
Aloe vera 10x concentrate
The clear gel inside aloe vera leaves is typically used to soothe skin that has been going through irritation or burns. But, some people also use aloe vera for acne treatment. The antibacterial properties of aloe make the product practical for topical use to treat acne.
It does not add oil to the skin or clog any pores, which makes glycerin an excellent emollient and skin-softener for people who have acne-prone skin. Of course, any skin type can use products that contain glycerin to hydrate the skin.
How to make DIY toner for acne
Follow these simple steps to create your own DIY face toner for acne:
- Step 1: Mix liquids. Add the tea tree hydrosol, eucalyptus hydrosol, and aloe vera 10x concentrate into a glass beaker or mixing bowl. Give the liquids a quick stir to combine.
- Step 2: Dissolve actives. Next, add the glycerin, D-panthenol, niacinamide, and sea salt (if using). Mix until the niacinamide and salt have dissolved, and the glycerin is well incorporated. The toner mixture will look milky.
- Step 3: Adjust pH. Adjust the pH of the homemade toner by adding lactic acid. 12 drops should be sufficient to lower the pH to the 4.5 to 5 range.
- Step 4: Preserve. Add the preservative. Give the mixture a good stir to combine everything.
- Step 5: Store. Transfer the toner into a cosmetic bottle for storage. Optionally, decorate the bottle with the free printable toner label.
How to use a homemade toner for acne-prone skin
The best thing about this homemade toner for acne is its usage. It is far easier to use than any skincare task like exfoliation or jade rolling!
The first step is to soak a cotton pad with your DIY acne toner and swipe it over your entire face, neck, and chest. Remember, a toner is to be used after you have washed your face and before applying serum or moisturizer. I love these reusable cotton pads.
You can also skip the cotton pad and apply it directly by putting a few drops of toner into your palms and pressing them into your face.
You can use the homemade toner for the face in the morning and at night. Although if it is causing skin dryness or irritation, try using it once a day or every other day.
Storage and shelf life
How to store homemade tea tree face toner
Simply keep your homemade tea tree face toner in a cool, dry place for example a cupboard or bathroom cabinet. Make sure the DIY face toner isn’t exposed to direct sunlight or near any heat sources.
How long does anti acne toner last?
Since the homemade toner recipe contains a preservative, the shelf life is 4 to 5 months. Without the preservative, the face toner will only be good for a few days and you must check your product carefully for any signs of spoilage like mold or a change in smell.
DIY Anti Acne Toner FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions that hopefully answer some frequently asked questions about this DIY toner for acne-prone skin:
What is a facial toner?
A facial toner is a quick-penetrating liquid that provides your skin with a swift hit of hydration and helps to remove dead cells off the surface of your skin.
In the case of this homemade toner for acne-prone skin, the ingredients include glycerin, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories! The result: soft, plump, and glowing skin.
What does a toner do?
Depending on active ingredients in the toner, it can boost hydration levels of your skin, chemically exfoliate dead skin, control oil, and restore the skin’s pH balance.
It removes bits of dirt and oil left behind by the cleanser and makes the skin soft, smooth, and hydrated. Its pH balance restoration properties help prepare the skin for better absorption of the following skincare products like moisturizer or serum.
Other than that, toners can also include ingredients like D-panthenol, benzoyl peroxide, and tea tree hydrosol that can help fight acne-causing bacteria.
Are toners good for acne?
Toner is an excellent skincare product if you’re suffering from acne-prone skin. It can help freshen the skin, remove impurities and dead cells, form a protective layer on your skin, and restore its pH balance.
Do toners cause pimples?
Yes, they do, but only if they contain alcohol because alcohol dries out the skin and, in turn, increases the skin’s sebum/oil production.
Toners with 60%-70% of alcohol can cause pimples. The alcohol found in these toners is a significant trigger for rosacea, increasing the risk of breakouts on sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Regular use of toners with high alcohol level can leave the skin inflamed, irritated, and vulnerable to environmental damage. This damage can later cause the formation of pimples and other skin disruptions.
Toners with only 2%-3% of alcohol and alcohol-free toners (like this one) are far better. These toners improve small-scale breakouts and blemishes. Similarly, our DIY Toner for acne helps keep pores clear and prevent blackheads and pimples from forming on your skin.
Does this homemade toner burn the skin?
This homemade toner for acne does not burn your skin because of the sole reason that it doesn’t contain alcohol. It is formed purely with ingredients like tea tree hydrosol, glycerin, and aloe vera that are gentle on your skin.
Tip: Perform a patch test before adding this toner to your routine and see if your skin is reactive to any of the ingredients used.
Can Toner remove pimples?
Yes, toner can help keep the pores in your skin clear and prevent blackheads and pimple. But it does depend on the type of pimples to know for sure if toner can help.
A toner can be ineffective in cases where it’s hormonal acne, puberty or stress-related skin problems. However, a toner can help soothe irritated and dried-out skin.
Can apple cider vinegar be used as a toner?
No, pure apple cider vinegar cannot be used as a toner because of its highly acidic nature. It can be too harsh on your skin and cause irritation.
Some good bacteria are essential to keep the skin healthy. But the usage of large concentrations of ACV can easily strip away this good bacteria and cause irritation. In conclusion, ACV shouldn’t be used as a toner.
Does the toner remove acne scars?
Yes, toners can help in removing acne scars, but only to some degree. Depending on your skin, D-Panthenol and niacinamide can help improve the appearance of acne scars.
But depressed, pitted scars are more difficult to treat and cannot be improved with toners or any other nonprescription skin care products.
So please have realistic expectations as no homemade skincare or beauty products can offer the same results as dermatologists’ treatments do.
How to print the label
Print the label on DIN A4 or letter size self-adhesive or sticker paper and cut out along the grey outline. Adhere the label to your bottle or spritz bottle. The label comes in different sizes, giving you more options when choosing a bottle or container.
We recommend printing the labels on self-adhesive vinyl sheets. Vinyl sheets are water-resistant and will ensure the label stays pretty, and the colours don’t come off when exposed to water or humidity.
Vinyl sheets can be found in printing shops or online. They are available for inkjet as well as for laser printers and can be used in the same way as regular printing paper. I used Photo Paper Direct’s A4 Inkjet Creative Vinyl Stickers Matt to print our labels.
Free Printable Facial Toner Label
Click on the button to download free printable homemade anti acne toner labels and decorate your bottle or container!