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YourGoodSkin

Active Treatment Tonic

6.70 fl. oz. for $ 8.99
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Active Treatment Tonic is a toner-like liquid from YourGoodSkin that’s said to combat acne, clogged pores and excess oil no matter your skin type. It’s attractively priced, but what’s inside the clear bottle is a mixed bag that’s highly unlikely to help your skin.

On the plus side, Active Treatment Tonic contains some proven hydrating and soothing ingredients, including panthenol and bisabolol (one of the calming components of chamomile).

Unfortunately, this anti-acne toner is front-loaded with denatured alcohol and fragrance, both which can irritate skin, not to mention alcohol’s reputation for drying skin (see More Info for details).

We can’t stress enough how fragrant this is. One of the frustrating things about the YourGoodSkin brand is that their products tend to be loaded with fragrance or fragrance free. There’s no middle ground, although fragrance free is best for the health of everyone’s skin. We take a deeper dive into why strong fragrance is such a problem in the More Info section.

Another issue is that this tonic’s active ingredient (0.5% salicylic acid) is not formulated in the pH range it requires to exfoliate skin and unclog pores. The pH of 5.1 is simply too high, and unless you have very mild acne and few clogged pores you should be using at least 1% salicylic acid, preferably 2%.

The bottom line is that this product stands very little chance of improving what you don’t like about your skin. See our list of best acne products for options that are much more likely to make a noticeable difference.

Pros:
  • Inexpensive.
  • Contains proven hydrating and soothing ingredients.
Cons:
  • Amount of alcohol poses a strong risk of irritating and drying skin.
  • Highly fragrant formula increases the risk of irritation.
  • The pH is too high for the salicylic acid to exfoliate.
  • Unlikely to help improve acne, clogged pores, or oily skin.

More Info:

Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.

When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we’re referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.

When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There’s no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.

The reason they’re included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn’t lead to negative long-term outcomes!

Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin’s protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.

The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.

There are people who challenge us on the information we’ve presented about alcohol’s effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing….” But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.

Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcoholstearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It’s important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.

References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Gently unclogs congested pores, helping combat acne & excess oil. Skin looks clear & feels instantly refreshed.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (0.5%); Inactive Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat., Isoceteth 20, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Dimethicone Propyl PG-Betaine, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Hydroxide, Bisabolol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.

Launched in 2017, YourGoodSkin is the result of an alliance between UK pharmacy mega-brand Boots and American drugstore giant Walgreens. According to company lore, YourGoodSkin is the result of years of development and research involving scientists, dermatologists, and thousands of members of its target audience—women looking for skin care products to address their specific concerns.

In fact, the brand says it surveyed thousands of women and had them test the products before they went to market. This resulted in over 20 products claiming to address a wide range of skin concerns, from dryness to acne.

Consumer testing before finalizing products for launch can deliver some helpful insights and valuable feedback, but a brand’s scientific understanding of what skin needs to improve—and what it doesn’t need—carries even more weight than anecdotal evidence.

YourGoodSkin gets more right than wrong, and it’s certainly a value-priced collection. While there aren’t any true anti-aging powerhouse formulas in the mix, there are some decent moisturizers for those on tighter budgets.

The brand excels at cleansers and makeup removers, with even a couple of top-notch scrubs included; this category is where we recommend directing your time and attention.

The biggest misstep YourGoodSkin makes is in its approach to treating acne and oily skin. Nearly every product designed for these concerns relies heavily on an old-school, irritating approach that includes drying alcohol, fragrance, and even sulfur, all of which can serve to make oily skin and acne worse.

For more information on YourGoodSkin, visit https://www.yourgoodskin.com/.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.