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Toners - Peter Thomas Roth - Glycolic Acid Clarifying Tonic

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rated 4.2(22 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.2
  • 81% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.0
  • Price: $$$

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rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 4/16/2014 3:17:00 PM More reviews by csquared14

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Brown

In acne, I'm pretty sure that there are two camps. There are the people who can only put extremely mild, soothing product on their skin, lest they risk a volcanic erruption. And then there are the people who need to blast the bejeesus out of their face, because the mild stuff is basically the equivalent of spritzing some water on their cysts.

I, for better or worse, am a part of the latter group. If it is akin to chemical warfare, I probably want to try it. I tried being gentle for years, and it just didn't work - I need the big guns. I have had a lot of luck with Mario Badescu, but recently have had a spate of stubborn breakouts that made it clear that I needed to mix things up a little. I've used DDF's glycolic toner in the past, but since that was discontinued, I was pointed towards this Peter Thomas Roth version.

It's not cheap ($40 at Sephora), but the bottle is big. It's very simple packaging - surprising for PTR, who seems to have never met a shiny metallic trim that he doesn't like - and is okay at transporting the liquid to the cotton ball/pad of your choice (ideally, it would have been nice to have something with a bit more control - I find that I usually have some wasted spilled product every time I use it. Not a huge issue, but again, it's not cheap). It's not pretty by any means, but neither is my acne, so I'm not going to complain too much.

And I have to say...this works. It's not marketed specifically as an acne product (more dark spots and fine lines), but 10% glycolic acid is serious business and it definitely does help. My face is softer, smoother, brighter, and much, much clearer. However, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED - I am someone who has done some really idiotic things to her skin, and I am telling you right now that this is not for someone who is very sensitive to discomfort. It's gotten a bit better with time, but I usually have to do paces around my apartment a little bit after putting it on to stop myself from pressing my hands to my face to stop the tingling/burning. Now I, the weirdo, take some sort of sick pleasure in this (it's burning my acne off!) but I would totally understand people who are more sensitive to that sort of thing staying well clear of this product. It's not kind or gentle. I can't say if it causes serious dryness or flaking, because I was not about to take any risks - I follow this up with Mario Badescu's drying cream, and then I put on CeraVe's moisturizing cream, which is quite heavy-duty, liberally (DEFINITELY have your moisturizing game in place before you try this).

Within a week, I noticed my breakouts were clearing away swiftly, coming to a head and then scabbing over. I didn't really experience any purging. More importantly, nothing else seemed to be popping up. Within about a month, my dark spots were fading considerably. I don't really use this for its anti-aging capabilities, so I can't speak to those. I use this every day, at night, after I've washed my face with my Clarisonic. I am probably going to go to every other night in a month or two, since it is pretty harsh and I want to give my skin more of a rest. Per my dermatologist's recommendation, I don't use this in conjunction with a retinol - I really think that it would just be too harsh. I'm still in the clear-out stage of skincare - once my breakouts are totally under control, I'm sure that this will evolve to have a less prominent place in my routine.

I'd highly recommend giving this product a try IF you don't have extremely sensitive skin (I can definitely see this making someone with a more delicate face than mine blotchy or irritated). If you are looking for a fairly strong, heavy-duty toner, I think that it is really worth a try.

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rated 5 of 5 on 12/7/2013 9:39:00 PM More reviews by inkyblaine

Age: 36-43 Skin: Normal, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Straight, Other Eyes: Blue

I was nervous to use this at first due to my sensitive skin issues ( plus rosacea) In any event, I use this 1-2x a week, I'm still ugly but I feel like this has helped my skin. I was looking to make my skin a little less dull, and for whatever reason I have had a few good skin days. So this is a keeper and I plan to try other products from this line.

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rated 5 of 5 on 9/5/2013 3:31:00 PM More reviews by ting2

Age: 30-35 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I love this toner. It stings A LOT, but after using for awhile, my face has become smoother, clearer and more even toned. I have previously used Paula's choice 2% bha liquid and 8% aha gel (separately) with average results. This, imo, is much much better. It really does what it claims to do and the bottle is big-a very good value.

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rated 5 of 5 on 1/26/2013 2:17:00 AM More reviews by beckhamlvr

Age: 25-29 Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Fine Eyes: Hazel

I cannot even begin to say how much I love this toner. I was hesitant because of the price. It seemed expensive but it's completely worth it! It does burn/tingle a bit but not in a painful way. I am prone to hyper pigmentation from exfoliating and with this I have not problem. I actually bought it because of it's exfoliating but have found that it is so much more. I've been using it for a few months and my skin is so smooth, clear and glowing. It has evened out my skin tone so much that I don't need to wear as much foundation and really only need eye concealer. I'm hoping with another few months of continued use I can start wearing tinted moisturizer for everyday. This stuff is really that amazing! I've recommended it to all my friends and highly recommend this!!

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rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 12/3/2012 12:48:00 PM More reviews by verybecca

Age: 36-43 Skin: Oily, Medium, Neutral Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse Eyes: Brown

I have replaced DDF 10% with this, just because I was looking for something similar with better, less toxic ingredients, and this is it. It's just as spendy but I don't have to feel like I'm putting poison (parabens, DMDM hydrantoin) on my face. This formula has a little more 'burn' to it than the DDF did, but it fades within a few minutes. I think my skin is enjoy it, as I think it's actually more effective/stronger than the DDF, somehow, despite the fact that the glycolic concentration is supposed to be the same. I will definitely rebuy.

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rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 11/16/2012 12:01:00 AM More reviews by viennah

Age: 25-29 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm Hair: Red, Wavy, Other Eyes: Hazel

I'm one of the many for whom DDF 10% Glycolic toner was a HG. When it was discontinued, I tried PTR's version in hopes it would be the same, as there were rumors that is was. It turns out, it's not the same. Though they both have 10% Glycolic acid, a very potent AHA, as the main active ingredient, the formula's are not the same and the PTR version has more stuff in it lik chamomile, lactic acid, and aloe. In comparsion, I find PTR to be much more potent and intense, and it stings more. The texture "glides" more on the skin whereas DDF felt more like water. The end result is the same. Overall, I think it's a great product if you are looking for a glycolic toner, but be warned that it is strong and I wouldn't recommend it if you have sensitive skin and/or are new to AHAs, you will need a lower %. It's a great alternative to DDF, but I took off a lippy because if DDF wasn't discontinued I would have prefered DDF.

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rated 5 of 5 on 8/4/2010 9:50:00 PM More reviews by shannongentene

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I used this toner with the PTR salicylic acid cleanser, and was very pleased with the results. During this time I had nearly flawless skin. My esthetician felt like it was drying me out too much, but my breakouts were close to never and my pores (finally!) seemed small. When the bottle was empty, which took several months since it's so large--like all PTR products, I didn't repurchase because Sephora no longer carried it. Ordering online every time seemed like a chore....switched to the DDR AHA toner....not good results. Would definitely repurchase if I found this locally.

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rated 4 of 5 on 11/5/2009 4:55:00 PM More reviews by sperryman

Age: 30-35 Skin: Oily, Fair, Cool Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Blue

This product really made my face smoother and evened out my skin tone. Also makes my face very soft feeling. The down side is that it turns my skin slightly red for about 15 min. after I use it and I also feel a slight stinging sensation for a few min. after application. So I started using only at night and my skin still feels and looks great!! I haven't decided yet if I like this product or DDF Glycolic exfoliating wash better.

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rated 1 of 5 on 9/4/2009 6:40:00 PM More reviews by SuRu

Age: 25-29 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Green

I hate this stuff. Bought it based on good reviews and a recommendation from Sephora. I think maybe its a bit harsh. It goes on with a slight tingle and then made my face a little red. I woke up with super oily skin. Tried it for about two week, whereupon my skin just got more oily. I know some people say this is purging but my face was pretty clear before I started this toner and more oiliness generally means more breakouts. It made me breakout with tiny spots all over my face. Went off it for a month and then tried it again. Same result. It might work well for those who don't use any other BHA or AHA products. My skin found it irritating.

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rated 5 of 5 on 3/8/2009 1:21:00 AM More reviews by rookicass

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Black

So far so good. One of the best toners I've tried so far. It clarifies my skin and make my skin tone more even. The toner is pretty strong, so you have to wait 10 mins to let it sinks in before you put moisturizer on. No breakout from it. The quantity is a lot more than what you've paid. Will repurchase when my skin starts to look dull :) Oh, since it's quite strong, I think you need to use a really good moisturizer to help keep your skin in balance.

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