Litmus Test Replenishing Toner

$35 - 5 fl. oz.
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Skin Care > AHA Exfoliants > AHA
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This toner claims it won't strip, parch, or irritate your skin, but with alcohol as the second ingredient that is absolutely what it will do to your skin, and more! You can add free-radical damage and collagen breakdown to that list because that's what alcohol does, which is a shame, because there is otherwise much to like about this toner.

Although labeled a toner (it has a liquid consistency), this is actually an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) exfoliant. It contains a good amount of the AHAs glycolic and lactic acids at a pH that ensures efficacy. The problem is the amount of alcohol, which makes this impossible to recommend. You'll find superior AHA exfoliants in our Best Products section.

Without the alcohol, this would be highly recommended (at least if the price doesn't bother you). It contains some notable antioxidants and anti-irritants, but given the information proving what a problem alcohol is for your skin means you shouldn't ignore the damage that ingredient can cause (Sources: "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5,; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and

  • Contains an effective amount of the AHAs glycolic and lactic acids, formulated at a pH to ensure they work as exfoliants.
  • Contains some very good antioxidants and anti-irritants.
  • Expensive.
  • Amount of skin-damaging alcohol makes this AHA toner too irritating for all skin types.
  • Inaccurately claims it won't strip skin or leave it feeling parched.

At last, a toner that's good for your skin! Unlike other toners this incredible formulation doesn’t strip, parch or irritate. Cleanses away impurities and leaves skin refreshed yet hydrates, nourishes and protects the skin against free radical damage.

Water, SDA-40B Alcohol, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Allantoin, Oleanolic Acid, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Dimethicone Copolyol, Butylene Glycol, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Carbomer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol

The DERMAdoctor line is the brainchild of Kansas City-based dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin. Dr. Kunin's Web site retails not only the DERMAdoctor brand but several products from other brands, many of which have ties to specific dermatologic concerns (everything from athlete's foot to warts). Many of these specialty products are available from your local drugstore, but Kunin's site provides helpful, mostly reliable information concerning various skin-care concerns.

We wish her own products followed the strength of her advice, but alas, most do not. This is another dermatologist-developed line with plenty of products whose names and claims make you think they're a cosmetic corrective procedure in a bottle (or, in some cases, a jar, which is never a good packaging move). There are some products to pay attention to, though whether you want to strongly consider them or not comes down to how much you feel comfortable spending (DERMAdoctor products aren't cheap).

DERMAdoctor isn't exactly "your prescription for beautiful skin" but Dr. Kunin gets enough right that her line isn't one to gloss over, particularly if you're shopping for sunscreens, AHA products, and facial cleansers. Those with acne should look elsewhere, because DERMAdoctor's products don't have the solution, despite their cute product names.

For more information about DERMAdoctor, call (877) 337-6237 or visit

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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