DIY Acne Fighting Toner

There I was, sitting on my bed crying, feeling stuck, and frustrated. I was feeling sorry for myself and not knowing where to go… I just knew I had to make a change.

You see I had managed to get through the teen years without acne, but WHAM —  my early 20’s started and I was hit with adult acne. In hindsight I am thankful for the six month breakout because it lead me on a journey back to health, wellness, real food, and holistic medicine. However, at the time I felt defeated and hopeless. After wallowing in my misery for a bit I decided to make a real change from the inside out.

My first step was to learn all that I could about acne; I scoured the internet and various books, reading for hundreds of hours. I soon discovered that the root of acne is gut related and that I also needed to stop the toxic soup of mainstream makeup and skincare products I was using.

I decided to go back to the basics, return to #lifefromscratch like my parents had raised me, but I had gotten so far removed from in college.

So, I found myself throwing away hundreds of dollars in makeup, creams, and washes and turning to simple, wholesome, minimal ingredient skincare products. I changed my diet by banishing processed food and eating whole, real organic foods in its place. I knew healing my leaky gut was key to healthy glowing acne free skin. I also did a cleanse and started on a few key supplements.

Within two weeks I began to notice a difference in my skin and my energy levels. The overly sensitive, dry but somehow also oily skin I had known was becoming soft and hydrated with fewer breakouts and less congestion. Time continued to be good to me and within approximately three months I was clear skinned and felt healthy and vibrant. I was stoked.

My skincare routine was simple…

…a black soap to wash my face, a homemade toner to balance my skin, and a light coat of jojoba oil to finish.

No more $50 lotions and trips to the beauty counters. The toner was a result of many tweakings to a basic base of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). I first started with only ACV, which worked wonderfully, but when I experimented with adding a few additional ingredients, I was even more pleased. The acne fighting toner became a staple for me and I’d even spritz it on my face throughout the day. Eventually, when my skin oil levels normalized I didn’t even use a moisturizer after the toner. I found it a perfect way to provide my skin with nutrients but still let it breathe and balance itself.

Now that my acne is long behind me I don’t use this toner everyday. However, when I do notice my skin getting a bit congested I grab this trusty concoction, use it for a few days and away any trouble areas go.

What’s In It?

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider is a great treatment for acne. It works directly against the p. acnes bacteria as well as tightens pores and balances oils levels. Balancing oil levels on acnegenic skin is key as it’s the way the skin is able to protect itself, and therefore ward off further infections. ACV is also loaded with enzymes and vitamins to directly nourish the skin. I would always choose Bragg’s brand, it is far superior to others. I once tried another brand and found it was not as effective and left my skin dry.

Witch Hazel: This hydrosol contains tannins which are astringent and disinfecting, a double whammy for acne. It is also very powerful at reducing swelling and calming the irritated skin. I noticed my skin feeling more hydrated once I added the witch hazel to the toner.

Lavender Oil: This essential oil is anti-inflammatory, soothing, calming, and anti-bacterial. Its anti-inflammatory compounds are able to reduce the typical irritated inflamed acne type skin. This means less redness, pain, and itchiness. Also, lavender essential oil is directly effective at killing p. acne bacteria.

Jojoba Oil: Quite similar to our own sebum, this oil is great for soothing irritations and providing a bit of moisture. Jojoba oil is important for acnegenic skin to get proper amounts of moisture, otherwise the problem exacerbates and acne worsens.

DIY Acne Fighting Toner
Serves: Yields 1 oz or 30 mL, feel free to double or triple the batch as you will go though it quite fast using it twice a day. This toner keeps for 12 mo.
  • 1 Tbs Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (find it here)
  • 1 Tbs Witch Hazel (alcohol and fragrance-free like this)
  • 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (like this)
  • 5 drops Jojoba Oil (learn more about carrier oils here, and find our favorite jojoba oil here)
  1. Mix all ingredients on a small light protective spray bottle.
  2. Shake gently to disperse the oils.
  3. Store in a cool dark place….hello medicine cabinet.
  4. Use on clean skin at least twice a day. Shake gently before each use and either spray directly on skin or apply to a cotton pad and then to your face.
  5. Finish with a light moisturizer if necessary.

I hope you enjoy this toner and share it with your loved ones that have acne.

The path to recovery can be long and disheartening but with a holistic approach the body will being to heal the root cause of most skin problems–  an imbalanced and unhealthy gut. Diet and supplements are a large portion of acne treatment but simple, gentle, and soothing skincare also play an integral roll in banishing it forever.

Comments 15

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    2. Suzy! I must have been half asleep when I gave you the correct link last time as I am sure you saw it was for deodorant not soap. Here is the correct link now, I promise 🙂

      BTW it is called Dr. Woods Shea Vision Black Soap, and as you can see from the review it is wonderful stuff, I use it for everything.
      Take care!

  1. Please can you tell me if I can use almond oil, coconut oil or olive oil in place of Jojoba oil? Will it still have same excellent effects??
    Thank you

    1. Post

      Oh no! Acne prone skin can be very sensitive sometimes. I would figure out which of the four ingredients are causing the irritation. The ACV may be the culprit if she has open lesions, as it can sting broken skin. You could try diluting in a 2:1 ratio with the witch hazel and see if that reduces it.

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  3. Hi there,

    I have tried to make this DIY toner, and I noticed that the scent of the ACV is overwhelming.. is it okay to dilute it with water? or would that interfere with the ingredients?

    Thank you !

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      Hi Suh!

      Thank you for making my Toner. Yes, you are right the AVC is a very strong smell. On me at least it fades after about 15 minutes post application. Did you notice the smell faded on you?
      You could dilute it with water if need be, I am not sure how much that would do for the smell though as even just a small amount of AVC can leave a pretty strong scent. Also, it might not work as well because it is diluted, but I assume it would be better than nothing though. Really the key to this toner is the ACV so I would hesitate diluting it too much.

      Hope this helps and thanks for being a Scratch Mommy!


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