Toners have evolved from the 1980s. These toners had an alcohol base and could feel drying.
I recommend avoiding alcohol based toners as these are much too drying and often conflict with other things we do recommend using such as retinol based products or other acne fighting agents.
For what it’s worth, the origin of toners was to pH balance the skin and help remove excess oil. Cleansers have evolved effectively to address these concerns without the need of a toner.
Modern day toners tend to have different ingredients to target different concerns. For example, several contain rosewater. This is an age old ingredient that has anti acne and anti aging properties. I do not always see it in European and American products but it is often found in Asia.
Green tea extracts are also found in some for the antioxidant properties these extracts have.
Chamomile is seen is some and thought to have calming qualities.
And, some do have salicylic acid for acne. However, if someone is choosing a toner for this I would caution to make sure you are not overdoing it with the acne products. I worry that some of my new acne patients come in telling me that they are using an acne cleanser, an acne toner, an acne spot treatment, an acne moisturizer and acne makeup. Chances are- you need to see your dermatologist for a more precise treatment regimen!