BHA TONERS: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Salicylic acid, or BHA, can be an amazing ingredient for those of us fighting breakouts. Unlike AHAs, it has the unique ability to penetrate lipids. This means that it can actually enter the pores and disinfect and break down dead skin cells within. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that is ideal for both rosacea sufferers and for treating particularly inflamed, red spots. You can find salicylic acid treatments in cream or gel formulas, but I quite like it in a liquid formula. It's fast and effective and it doesn't feel like another heavy layer of something to sit under your makeup. I've recently tried a couple of BHA toners and found one to be impressive and another to be far from it. I'll explain why.
Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion
I bought this toner on a whim one day in Sephora. I was lured in by the size of the bottle and I figured “Clinique makes skincare for sensitive skin, right?” Hoho child no. I'll admit, I saw that there was alcohol in the ingredients list, I just didn't think there could be that much. It made my eyes sting when I applied it. It also contains witch hazel, which I find to be a fairly drying ingredient. After using this for a few days my skin was feeling stripped and sensitive. So I went back on the hunt for another BHA toner.
Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution
After scouring the interwebs for a while, I came to the conclusion that it is damn hard to find a BHA toner that doesn't contain alcohol. I did however find a solution in the end and her name is Paula's Choice. I ordered the Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution and a small size of the very popular Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. What impressed me about these toners is their simple ingredients list. They're not packed full of unnecessary, potentially aggravating ingredients such as alcohol or witch hazel. They just have what it takes to get the job done, plus a few soothing ingredients. When I use these toners on my skin they feel like... nothing... and I mean that in the best of ways after using a toner that burns. I also love that the Paula's Choice website breaks down each of their products for users to understand and explains the purpose of each ingredient.
So if you're looking for a toner to treat breakouts, I would definitely recommend looking into Paula's choice. As a final tip, it's best to give yourself 20 minutes after applying your toner before you go in with your moisturizer. It allows your toner more time to settle in and work its magic before diluting it.