Smooth skin, prevent breakouts and add glow with these acid toners

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

When it comes to my skin I'm more a picker than a popper (Caroline Hirons’ descriptions, not mine). If I find even the slightest little bump on my skin, I’ll fiddle with it till it become a full blown breakout. But I don't just stop there. I then pop it before its ready, which (as we all know) inadvertently makes it worse. This is what happened last week, as I rediscovered my love for acid toners. 


You don’t really know how much you need an acid toner till your skin starts misbehaving. But a couple of rainy months, a few breakouts, bumpy texture, and well, you crave a bit of acid to both heal and prevent new breakouts. For the uninitiated, when I say acids I primarily mean salicylic and glycolic. Salicylic acid unclogs your pores and prevents breakouts, while glycolic acid smoothes the skin’s surface. If you find that your skin is sensitive to these two then look for lactic (in Sunday Riley Good Genes) or polyhydroxy acids (in Keracnyl Cream) that are supposed to be gentler. My skin is actually quite hardy, despite years of me thinking that it was sensitive. So salicylic and glycol acids work really well for me. And I swear, over the time I use an acid toner or a peel pad my skin looks smooth and glowing - like a peeled egg, but in the best way possible.

These days I’m using the Pixi Glow Tonic day and night. It contains a miniscule 5% glycol acid, but with aloe vera and witch hazel it really soothes the skin and exfoliates very, very gently. However, three times a week I like to use a strong acid and these days it's the Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel Pads. Strong, and for pads that have so much alcohol, surprisingly gentle. The pads come in two steps - you first have to rub the salicylic acid soaked cotton all over your face and neck. Then you wait for two minutes and then rub the second pad with glycolic, mandelic and lactic acid all over your face. The pads are completely drenched with product so sometimes I cut them into half and apply it all over my face, neck and decolletage. 

Using these two pads has made my skin less oily and more radiant. But I would be lying if I said that these are the only acid toners I ever used. In fact my first ever acid toner was the DDF Glycolic Toning Complex 10%, which was excellent. It prevented blackheads, breakouts and kept my skin looking clear. The only reason I stopped using it was because it was not cruelty free. 


The second experience was with the Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads. These are SO good for people with oily skin as these also contain salicylic and glycolic acids. But if your skin is dry, these could be a bit irritating. 

Next on my list are the Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads - just have a look at these Makeupalley reviews to see what I mean. The only sad part is that none of these products are available (except for Keracnyl) in India. Peter Thomas Roth was available at Sephora India before they stopped stocking them: Come on Sephora get PTR and Dr Dennis Gross to India! However, till that happens you can order yours from or I heard somewhere that if you order less than Rs 10,000 then you don’t need to pay duty. Please comment if I’m right about that.

Oh and one last thing - you need to wear sunscreen EVERY SINGLE DAY if you're using an acid toner.