It was in September 2012, I think, that I began using apple cider vinegar as toner after I read several online articles and anecdotes hailing it as a good toner for oily skin. I wanted to go natural without breaking the bank, so I bought a bottle of the vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar restores the natural acidic barrier of the skin, which is stripped off when we use cleansers that are usually alkaline. For this reason, the skin does not feel the need to overproduce sebum in order to compensate for the rupture of the barrier.
While I was using apple cider vinegar as toner, I did notice that my skin was less oily than usual. Three to four hours after washing my face at night, my face is usually an oil slick; I use two blotting sheets before going to bed in order to get rid of the annoying shine. With apple cider vinegar, there was only a hint of dewiness before I hit the sack.
What made me stop using the vinegar as a toner after a month was an out-of-town trip. Apple cider vinegar smells bad, like fermenting sweaty socks, so I was embarrassed to use it in somebody else’s house. Besides, I couldn’t very well pack a whole glass bottle of vinegar. Imagine the stench if it managed to shatter inside my bag. Ugh! I don’t think you can ever get used to the smell, although of course with time, it’s tolerable.
The most compelling reason for me to stop using apple cider vinegar, however, was that I broke out terribly shortly after I stopped using it. You see, unlike conventional toners, the vinegar didn’t remove leftover makeup and stuff. Since I wasn’t as conscientious then as I am now about removing makeup before washing my face, residue began to build up, resulting in horrible acne after a month. I broke out everywhere besides the center of my face. I’d been enjoying nearly clear skin, then suddenly the pimples came back with a vengeance. Even my chest, which had been clear for a long time, wasn’t spared. Now I’m still suffering from the scars those pimples left. It’s a horrible experience.
So I switched to my old toner brand, Eskinol. Like most conventional toners, it contains alcohol. It doesn’t dry my skin out, though; I have oily skin and I moisturize religiously. Nowadays, I’m using this big-ass bottle of Eskinol Pimple Fighting Facial Deep Cleanser.
It contains salicylic acid and tea tree oil, which are good (or should I say bad?) for pimples. I certainly feel cleaner with a traditional toner. It has a cool minty feel on my skin, and I can actually see dirt and makeup residue on the cotton ball I wipe my face with. Yes, I still break out (probably will till I’m old and wrinkly), but the pimples come in small numbers, not as an army.
So no, I don’t recommend apple cider vinegar as a toner! There are equally effective and far better-smelling ones in the market. Just be careful to choose according to your skin type.