You know, as a combination, acne-prone skinned gal, I've tried my fair share of AHAs & BHAs and some might even call me an acid addict (no, not THAT kind of acid), so I was completely taken by surprise at how much I like this Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner ($18 for 8 oz
/ larger sizes available); it has actually made a big difference in my skin within the two months I've been using it!
The Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner is alcohol-free and contains 2% glycolic acid, as well as grapefruit extract to exfoliate, stimulate and help reduce acne discoloration. It's recommended for dry, sensitive and congested skin, but it works great on my combination skin - I've actually started avoiding products aimed at oily/ combo skin as I find them a bit too harsh and drying on me. The ingredients list is short and sweet too, which is a huge plus; and I find the price point very reasonable, especially if you're looking for an exfoliating toner that can deliver similar results to Biologique Recherche P50, Apha-H Liquid Gold or Clarins White Plus HP Gentle Renewing Brightening Peel.
As you can see, the packaging is simple and fuss-free; I quite like the little leak-free 'spout' on the cap as it helps to avoid wasting the product; 5-7 drops is all I need for my whole face, and I've used up about 1/3 of the product in the two months I've had it. I use this after cleansing my face in the evening by wiping a cotton round satured with product all over my face, neck and chest, and then I follow up with a serum and face oil. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated, but slightly tacky to the touch; it goes away though if you'd prefer to use it under make-up.
Although it's recommended to use twice daily, I found that once is plenty for me - I do get a bit of stinging and redness after application, and using it too often causes my skin to peel and feel dry. But, once you straighten out the kinks - the results are worth it. After discontinuing oral antibiotics early this year, I experienced a bad bout of cystic acne, mostly on my chin, jawline but also on my cheeks. My dermatologist tried to treat it with another oral medication as well as retinoids; however, after six months of waiting for them to do anything, I got frustrated and stopped the prescriptions. In mid-September, armed with a $10 birthday gift certificate from Mario Badescu, I decided to try this toner - and since then, my cystic acne has diminished tremendously; I pretty much only break out around that time of the month now. I've also noticed less congestion overall (I suffer from a lot of small, flesh toned under-the-skin bumps) and a decrease in sebum production. Granted, I can't be sure it all boils down to this toner; maybe my organism started to tackle the acne on its own, or my hormones changed slightly. But now, I do know this: my skin likes chemical exfoliants, glycolic slightly more so than the salicylic, it likes regular, every day exfoliation, and using an exfoliating toner is much easier than a cream or a gel.
*EDIT*: After using this toner for about 7 months and nearly finishing the bottle, I believe my skin is now too sensitive to be using it on the regular basis. My skin might have changed from when I first started using the product, but now it seems to burn a bit too much, and causes quite a lot of redness. I also once accidentally overused it and came out in an eczema-like rash on my cheekbones and on top of the lips. So please proceed with extreme caution and if your skin is sensitive, maybe opt for a different exfoliant.
If there's one thing I could change about this toner, I could probably do without the grapefruit extract; I suspect I may be allergic to citrus essential oils in general, so next I may try the Paula's Choice liquid AHA exfoliants. Do you use an exfoliating toner in your routine? Or are there other exfoliators that you prefer?
I'm generally a fan of gentle physical exfoliation. My dehydrated skin + prescription tretinoin seem to make me predisposed to the flakies. But I've been very interested in the P50, but I see this can be a nice alternative! Hmm! Thanks for the great information. I might end up checking this out.ReplyDelete
I stopped my tretinoin for the time being - I think my skin was freaking out too much, and believe it or not, it did very little for my acne. I'd probably spring for the P50 some time to test it out but for now, this is fantastic!Delete
I am a fan of glycolic acid! My facial soap is from my derma and has 5% glycolic acid in it. I use it twice a day and it hasn't dried my skin out at all :) I'm glad to know that this MB toner works great, too! I'm tempted to check it out! Thanks for the heads up on this product and for the great review :)ReplyDelete
WOW! This sounds kind of amazing! I love using glycolics, but sometimes they break me out, but in the end the results are worth it I say! glad you found something that works for you!ReplyDelete
I haven't tried anything from this brand before, and I have yet to try glycolic acid. I'm curios how my skin will like it. Thanks for this review! I should take a look at this :-)ReplyDelete
glycolic acid is such an old school ingredient but nothing works better than this for effective exfoliation.ReplyDelete
have you tried Exuviance line? indeed glycolic acid could be harsh sometimes. i think exuviance uses PHA for the similar effects, and i have enjoyed this line. they are bit sticky and fragranced, though. :)
I've never tried Exuviance, thanks for the recommendation! I've seen some products with PHA recently, seems like it's gaining popularity now :)Delete
I really need to try this one, I struggle to find a glycolic acid toner that isn't also full of alcohol (which dries me out), and Alpha H Liquid Gold isn't really a toner you can use daily. This seems like the perfect thing for me!ReplyDelete
Glycolics always worked much better for me as well! I've tried a DDF toner that worked similarly to this, and REN AHA Concentrate worked wonders in conjunction with gentle physical exfoliation. I tried MB products a loooooong time ago and didn't like the ones I ordered, but I just might give them a second look now!ReplyDelete
Ugh. I used to suffer from cystic acne too, so I feel your pain :( Glad to hear it's clearing up though! I like chemical exfoliants too. I use the DDF toner that Liz is talking about in her comment. I really like it! I also liked the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum, but I used it up and haven't repurchased it yet.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the review. Toning is very important specially before going to sleep.
This burnt my face! Now every other product I put on after it stings. Luckily I only had a sample. But ouch! Do not like.ReplyDelete
The more I used it, it began causing irritation on my skin as well - but I loved it when I first started using it. Hope your skin gets back to normal soon! <3Delete