Clearing Tonic
4 fl. oz. for $19.95
Category:Skin Care > Anti-Acne Products
Last Updated:03.31.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Clearing Tonic is a toner-like exfoliant that contains 1% salicylic acid. Also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA for short, salicylic acid is an anti-acne superstar ingredient. This also contains glycolic acid, an AHA ingredient that can also exfoliate skin and help reduce breakouts, though salicylic acid is preferred for acne. This exfoliant "toner" (or tonic, if you prefer) has a pH of 3.8, so it will function as an exfoliant—great news for those struggling with clogged pores and acne!

Note on the glycolic acid: The company doesn't reveal how much it contains, but we suspect it's around 3–5%.

The light-as-water texture is barely felt and this contains some antioxidant plant extracts that also have anti-inflammatory benefits. Although contains fragrance the scent is subtle, nearly undetectable, and not likely to pose a risk of irritation.

Clearing Tonic's only drawback is the inclusion of witch hazel distillate. As the most concentrated form of this astringent plant, it has a higher alcohol content and is potentially irritating. This ingredient holds Clearing Tonic back from our top rating, but if you're curious about Exposed Skin Care it remains a recommended product for all skin types except sensitive.

  • Exfoliates skin to reduce breakouts and unclog pores.
  • Water-light texture doesn't leave an objectionable finish.
  • Minimal fragrance.
  • Contains antioxidants with anti-irritant potential.
  • Amount of witch hazel distillate is potentially irritating.

The Exposed Clearing Tonic penetrates pores to control blackheads and whiteheads while returning your skin to its natural healthy balance. The tonic also rejuvenates problem skin with essential extracts and prepares your skin for the ExposedTM Acne Treatment Serum.


Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid (1.0%). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Azelaic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Dimethylethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea Extract), Passiflora Edulis Flower (Passion Flower Extract), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Fragrance.

Brand Overview

Strengths: The company provides complete ingredient lists on its site; good cleanser; excellent benzoyl peroxide product; some fragrance-free options (and even the products with fragrant ingredients have minimal scent).

Weaknesses: The facial mask is likely to be very irritating and drying; the Clear Pore Serum cannot exfoliate skin due to its pH level; each kit the company sells contains at least one problematic product, so they’re not as much of a value as they may seem; merely average moisturizer.

Exposed Skincare is a small collection of anti-acne products sold individually or in pre-selected kits that are priced between $50–$95. Based in Seattle and having been around since 2002, it’s only recently that this line has come to our attention, perhaps due to their products being available on mega website Amazon.com. As a line dedicated to clear skin in a sea full of such options (almost all of which have their share of problems, which is hugely disappointing for anyone struggling with breakouts), it’s not surprising Exposed Skincare mentions their mix of “advanced science” with natural ingredients, thus appeasing two popular demands: Consumers want products that work, but most would prefer natural over synthetic ingredients, thinking that natural means better. As we’ve shown time and time again, that’s misguided thinking. There are good and bad natural ingredients as well as good and bad synthetic ingredients. We’re glad that Exposed Skincare utilizes the best from both groups (well, most of the time they do…)

The company’s products are said to be developed by a collaboration between dermatologists, cosmetologists, naturopaths, and chemists, further reinforcing the science + nature angle, which Exposed maintains is what makes their line different (and better) than the rest. Although this anti-acne line has a couple of standout products, just like most lines aimed at those with acne-prone skin, there are more disappointments than great products. This is not a “one and done” line, nor is it a line whose kits we’d encourage you to order.

The issue with the kits is twofold: They cost a lot less than ordering each product individually BUT you also have to take everything in the kit, which means you’re paying for some products whose formulas won’t help acne-prone skin and may, in fact, make it worse! If you’re curious about this line, steer clear of the value-priced kits and instead select individual products we’ve rated well. Of course, you can also skip this line entirely, as despite some good products, it’s not as revolutionary or different as the company would like you to believe.

For more information about Exposed Skincare, call (866) 404-7656 or visit www.exposedskincare.com

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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585630-IIS2 v1.0.0.405 7/30/2015 11:34:58 AM