Grapefruit Salicylic Acid Toner for Clogged Pores and Splotchy Skin

Grapefruit and salicylic acid are great for keeping pores clog-free and correcting splotchy skin.

I've been using this simple, handmade salicylic acid toner for years and love it. Check out this post to see why and how it works. 

BUT after noticing how freckly and splotchy my skin was after a long, sunny summer, I wanted to see if I could add something to the toner to help even out my skin tone. 

I decided to try grapefruit after reading these study results:
Liposome-encapsulated citrus flavonoids including narirutin, naringin, hesperidin and neohesperidin from grapefruit and bitter orange extracts have shown efficacy in reducing pigmentation, increasing luminosity and brightening skin tone by inhibiting tyrosinase. In a small eight-week study with a twice-daily application of 1% citrus extract complexa, a 9.2% lightening of pigmentation and 5.0% brightening of skin tone in Caucasian facial skin was observed.8 In another study, a 6% complex of vitamin C, zinc pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) and oleuropeinb was applied twice-daily on 20 volunteers directly on pigmentation spots. Results showed a reduction of the pigmented area by 21.2% after 12 weeks of use and the prevention of de novo formation of both melanin and lipofuscin.9 - 
Please visit this page to see references. 

Salicylic acid is most effective for treating acne, but has been used for hyperpigmentation as well. Here's an excellent study. They used a 30% solution for their study, but that is way too strong for daily use. My regular daily toner is a 4% solution, so I decided to try a 10% solution for this batch.

The higher concentration of salicylic acid means a more acidic toner (a lower pH). The acid mantle on your face has a pH between 4.5 and 6.2. A pH of less than 3 is required for true exfoliation to occur. My day to day toner has a pH of around 2.5 to 3.5. I decided to try a lower pH this time to see if that made a difference. 


Note: Many of my readers have been using baking soda to raise the pH. This is fine unless you live in an area with hard water. Hard water causes the baking soda to turn into a film that coats your skin and stays there and is yukky. I use Triethanolamine to raise the pH in my stuff.

How to Make

To make 2 ounces of toner:

  • In a glass bowl, mix together
    • 1.5 teaspoons salicylic acid powder 
    • 3 teaspoons of alcohol
  • Stir until the SA powder dissolves. 
    • If the powder doesn't dissolve completely, add another 1/4 teaspoon of alcohol at a time until it does. Make sure you stir it WELL after each addition. 
  • Raise the temperature of the alcohol/SA mixture
    • nest the bowl in a bigger bowl with hot tap water in it.
    • Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Add about 10 teaspoons of hot water to your blend. 
  • Stir until the SA dissolves.
  • Add a single drop of Triethanolamine at a time until the pH is between 2.0 and 2.5. 

salicylic acid and alcohol

 mix until completely dissolved
mix until the white stuff is completely dissolved.

How to use

Wet a cotton ball with the toner and apply to a clean, slightly damp face. You can put moisturizer on right afterwards (without necessarily waiting for it to dry). I use this in the am and pm every day!

How it worked

So far so good! My skin looks even and is still clog-free. Yay!

You can purchase a starter kit with everything you need for your regimen at Miri

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. First off I want to say you have so much helpful information on your blog. I love it. So I have recently been reading up on cleansing with oil and have been using pumpkin seed oil for the last 2 weeks. I'm seeing some results with it, but am still having some new breakouts. My skin has always been pretty oily, with lots of closed comeodones. It's gotten pretty dry since I started using the pumpkin seed oil. I wear mineral makeup everyday normally, so I had been doing the ocm everyday the last 2 weeks.. Is that too much? I had read on other websites about hemp seed oil, so I had already ordered it when I stumbled upon your blog. So my question is, since I wear makeup daily, should I just cleanse with the hemp oil for 1-2 mins everday, then moisturizer with a couple of drops in it? And maybe do the longer ocm every now and then? And I was reading about the SA toner, so now I'm thinking I need to incorporate that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I am 30 years old and have struggled with this since around 12 years old. I've tried everything under the sun! I'm really hoping this helps!