The Best AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) Toners for Different Skin Types – Did you know that if you’re using products with active ingredients on it without prepping your skin beforehand, you may only be getting a fraction of its benefits?
This is especially true if you have an arsenal of serums or creams with active ingredients or other topical products in your routine.
AHA toners work as a booster so your more expensive products can be absorbed much more efficiently into your skin.
They can also help your skin build resistance and condition it to accept higher, more effective concentrations of products.
AHA toners can be the step in your routine that will maximize your skincare to its fullest potential.
- 1 The Benefits of Using AHA Toners
- 2 Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Skin Irritation
- 3 How to Incorporate AHA Toners in Your Skincare Routine
- 4 Editor’s Choice: The Best AHA Toners
- 5 Resources:
The Benefits of Using AHA Toners
- AHA toners prepare your skin to accept active ingredients from your skincare products. They lower your skin’s pH, which is an essential step in helping the rest of your topical products penetrate your skin at a much deeper and faster rate.
- Exfoliates dead skin cells that are blocking your pores as well sweep away any remaining residue that is interfering with your skin’s ability to fully absorb your products. If you use a cotton ball, this process is one of the gentlest ways to incorporate daily physical and chemical exfoliation.
- Increases your skin’s resistance to a higher concentration of acids and other active ingredients by giving your skin daily doses of hydroxy acids. This is especially useful if you’re just starting to incorporate peels into your routine.
- Can be used as your 2-week skin prep before doing any type of chemical exfoliation.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Skin Irritation
AHAs induce shedding of dead skin cells, also known as exfoliation. By doing so, they stimulate the appearance of new skin, resulting in a fresher and younger looks complexion.
Other benefits of AHAs to the skin include:
- helping diminish the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation (acne spots)
- rejuvenates dull, lifeless skin
- smoothens out skin texture
- evens out skin tone
- combat mild acne, blackheads, and whiteheads
- maintain proper moisture levels in the skin
- increases efficacy of other topical products by removing barriers to the skin on a cellular level
The higher the concentration of the acid and the lower the pH (measure of acidity) of the product, the more effective it will be. However, the strength of the formulation is also related to its ability to cause skin irritations.
One way to minimize this is by raising your skin’s tolerance to acids and lowering your skin’s pH levels through AHA toners.
Once the skin is conditioned enough, you can deliver higher concentrations of acids in the form of serums or chemical peels for more dramatic benefits.
How to Incorporate AHA Toners in Your Skincare Routine
Below is a general skincare routine you can follow, applicable for all skin types. If you have several products that you layer, you can insert them between your serums and moisturizers.
One quick rule in layering products: apply them on from the thinnest to the thickest consistency. Make sure to also give them a few minutes to absorb. This technique will make sure that all your products are in full effect and work in synergy.
- AHA Toners – You can use facial cottons to sweep of any excess dirt left by your cleanser. If you do a double cleanse or you’re confident with your cleansing routine, you can just gently tap the toner onto your skin to save product.
- Serums or other corrective products with active ingredients
- Moisturizers – Or products with thicker consistencies and/or are oil-based.
- Sunscreen (AM) or Night Cream (PM) – Sunscreen is crucial if you have exfoliators in your regimen. They help protect your skin from any photosensitivity that AHAs bring.
Our recommendations for the best AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) toners are based on our comprehensive analysis of the product’s formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews. We make an effort to be as objective as possible and give advice in good faith; however, our reviews may still contain conjectures and opinions based on our research and personal experiences.
It’s important to know that as with any product (especially cosmetics), what may be perfect for you may not be right for the next person. So as much as we want to guarantee that these will be everyone’s next holy grail, results can still be affected by individual factors like your current skin condition, the environment you’re in, use of the product, reaction to your other skincare, and so on. For best results, make sure to choose a product that is suited for your skin type and skin issues.
This website is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Product or service details are collected directly from the manufacturer and other reputable sources during the time of this review, and cited in the Resources section. We try to keep on top of new formulations when we can, and update our data accordingly.
At the end of every review, there will be a link for you to check current discounts and other customer reviews on Amazon. These, along with some other links that redirect you to third party sites, are affiliate links where we earn a small commission if you do decide to make a purchase. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you and will help in maintaining the quality of the site.
This website is our passion project, and our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. The choices we make take extensive research (which we actually enjoy because we’re weird and nerdy like that), including data from credible academic papers and user sources available.
Bottom Line: We objectively review a laundry list of top performing products, pick the best ones based on our results, and present them to you with all the key info so you can choose the most suitable one for your skin. If you decide to buy something, we earn a commission that helps cover site costs like hosting, design, research materials, etc. You don’t have to of course, thank you for visiting us nonetheless. 🙂
Editor’s Choice: The Best AHA Toners
We’ve chosen the best aha toners based on formulation, our experiences, specifications, efficacy, value for money, and consumer reviews.
Below is a ‘cheat sheet’ so you can have a quick overview from mildest to strongest acid strength. Click on the ‘Read More’ button for a detailed review of each product.
Make sure to choose a product that is suited for your skin type and skin issues for best results.
Kornhauser, A., Coelho, S. and Hearing, V. (2012). Effects of Cosmetic Formulations Containing Hydroxyacids on Sun-Exposed Skin: Current Applications and Future Developments. Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012, pp.1-6.
Michalun, N. and Michalun, M. (2001). Milady’s skin care and cosmetic ingredients dictionary. 1st ed. Australia: Milady Thomson Learning.
Maier, L. (2014). AHA 2013, Dallas – AHA – Scientific Sessions. Aktuelle Kardiologie, 3(01), pp.2-3.
Moghimipour, E. (2012). Hydroxy Acids, the Most Widely Used Anti-aging Agents. jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products, 6(2), pp.9-10.
VORARAT, S., AROMDEE, C. and PODOKMAI, Y. (2002). Determination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids in Fruits by Capillary Electrophoresis. Analytical Sciences, 18(8), pp.893-896.