The Ordinary Acids
Incorporating acids into your skincare routine can make a significant difference in addressing various skin concerns. One of the brands that stand out in the market for acids is The Ordinary. Their diverse range of products offers something for everyone, regardless of whether you prefer gentle exfoliation or require a more potent solution.
As we delve into this comprehensive guide on The Ordinary acids, we will explore vital information about these powerful exfoliants, focusing on which one is suitable for your skin type and addressing specific skin issues. It’s essential to remember that you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the benefits of The Ordinary’s acids. However, understanding the distinctions between their products will aid in determining the best choices for your unique needs and preferences.
Acids in Skincare
A Few Thoughts on Acid Usage
When it comes to skincare, exfoliating acids are essential for addressing various skin concerns. They work by removing dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, helping to diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and oiliness.
The most frequently encountered acids in skincare are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs can be further categorized into several types, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid. These acids exfoliate the skin’s surface, promoting brighter and smoother skin. On the other hand, BHAs, including salicylic acid, are especially effective in treating blackheads, breakouts, and acne-prone skin.
In addition, other acids like azelaic acid provide a milder exfoliating action. They can assist in reducing the appearance of redness, rosacea, and dark spots.
|AHAs||Glycolic, Lactic, Mandelic||Surface exfoliation, brighter, smoother skin|
|BHAs||Salicylic||Treating blackheads, breakouts, acne-prone skin|
|Others||Azelaic||Reducing redness, rosacea, dark spots, milder action|
As I try new skincare products, it’s crucial to patch test new acid products and gradually incorporate acids into a skincare routine. This cautious approach helps to prevent irritation and ensures safe usage. Another important reminder is that acids can increase skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Therefore, it’s essential to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when using acids as part of a skincare routine.
The Ordinary Acids
|Direct Acids||Exfoliating, addresses various skin concerns|
In the Ordinary’s product line, I found that their direct acids are exfoliating acids which tackle a range of skin issues.
AHAs: Alpha Hydroxy Acids
AHAs, known as alpha hydroxy acids, are water-soluble agents that help exfoliate the skin’s surface layer, resulting in a brighter and more even complexion. They can lessen the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enhance skin texture and tone.
The Ordinary has an array of AHA products, with glycolic acid being a key component. Take a look at this informative table summarizing their offerings:
|Toner with 7% glycolic acid||Glycolic acid||Exfoliates skin, reduces blemishes, brightens complexion|
|Additional Ingredients||Amino acids||Soothes skin|
|Aloe vera||Lessens irritation from exfoliating acids|
|Tasmanian pepperberry extract||Calms skin|
Glycolic acid, the smallest AHA molecule, effectively exfoliates the skin and boosts cell turnover, which helps reduce signs of aging. Its small size allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin, addressing various concerns. However, glycolic acid may irritate and dry skin more than other AHAs due to its molecular size, so it’s crucial to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it.
I have written a comprehensive guide on How To Use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid and a complete The Ordinary Glycolic Acid review for those interested in diving deeper into the topic.
Lactic Acid by The Ordinary
The Ordinary’s 5% Lactic Acid + HA
As a milder option, The Ordinary’s 5% Lactic Acid + HA is perfect for those new to lactic acid or exfoliating acids. It offers gentle, yet effective exfoliation. This serum also includes Tasmannia lanceolata fruit/leaf extract for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate potential irritation. Additionally, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, a type of hyaluronic acid, moisturizes and provides hydration with its distinct cross-linked molecular structure that forms a protective mesh barrier on the skin.
The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid + HA
For those with more resilient skin seeking a deeper lactic acid exfoliation, The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid + HA is a more potent option. This serum exfoliates the skin surface with 10% lactic acid, helping diminish the appearance of wrinkles and lines for a brighter, smoother, and fresher complexion. Like the 5% version, this serum also contains Tasmanian pepperberry extract for its anti-inflammatory benefits and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer for enhanced water-binding capacity compared to regular hyaluronic acid. The 10% concentration may be utilized for more intense exfoliation but should only be used if your skin has adapted to the lower 5% lactic acid concentration.
|Feature||The Ordinary’s 5% Lactic Acid + HA||The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid + HA|
|Concentration||5% Lactic Acid||10% Lactic Acid|
|Target Audience||Beginners and/or sensitive skin||Those accustomed to lactic acid usage|
|Anti-inflammatory Ingredient||Tasmannia lanceolata fruit/leaf extract||Tasmanian pepperberry extract|
|Hydration||Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer||Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer|
Mandelic acid, a gentle AHA, effectively addresses dullness and uneven skin tone and can even help with mild acne and breakouts. Its antibacterial properties make it a great solution for individuals with congested skin. Moreover, it shows potential for mitigating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, potentially making it a superb choice for those with PIH-based acne scars.
|Aspect||Mandelic Acid Benefit|
|Acne||Reduces mild acne and breakouts due to antibacterial properties|
|Dullness||Revitalizes dull skin, promoting a radiant complexion|
|Uneven Skin Tone||Evens out skin pigmentation and tone|
|Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation||Supports PIH-based acne scar improvement|
Considering mandelic acid 10% can provide these benefits while remaining gentle on the skin, it can be an excellent option for those seeking to improve their skin’s appearance and manage acne-related issues.
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
Mandelic Acid 10% + HA by The Ordinary offers a gentle exfoliating experience, designed to improve skin texture, brightness, and overall clarity. With 10% mandelic acid, the formula is meant for all skin types and is especially suited for those new to exfoliating acids. The larger molecular size allows for a slower, more even absorption into the skin. Additionally, the serum includes Tasmanian pepperberry extract for reducing potential irritation and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer for prolonged hydration.
|10% Mandelic Acid||Exfoliation|
|Tasmanian Pepperberry||Reduces Irritation|
|Sodium Hyaluronate||Extended Hydration|
For those interested in comparing other exfoliating acids, I recommend reading about The Ordinary Lactic Acid vs Mandelic Acid.
BHA: Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid)
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), specifically salicylic acid, are an excellent choice for those dealing with blemishes or acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid 2% solutions effectively exfoliate, clarify, soothe, and brighten the skin. Below is a summary of the effects and properties of BHAs, specifically salicylic acid.
|Exfoliates||Oil-soluble, penetrates pores||2%|
|Clarifies, smooths, brightens||Breaks down oil, dead skin cells, and debris|
|Soothes irritated skin||Fights inflammation|
|Reduces pore appearance||Improves skin clarity|
BHAs, like salicylic acid, are oil-soluble and can penetrate deeply into pores to break down excess oil, dead skin cells, and debris that contribute to breakouts. The 2% salicylic acid concentration in a water-based formula is ideal for targeting oily skin and acne, improving skin clarity for a refined complexion and minimizing the appearance of pores. That makes this serum suitable even for teenagers with mild to moderate acne.
In addition to its exfoliating properties, salicylic acid effectively calms redness and reduces the appearance of uneven skin tone and textural irregularities. The incorporation of squalane in the serum also ensures it remains moisturizing while hydrating polyglycerides help offset any potential dryness resulting from exfoliation. Squalane has a lightweight texture and is non-comedogenic, so it won’t obstruct pores.
This makes serums containing salicylic acid 2% solution particularly advantageous for dry skin types experiencing acne and pore congestion. The gradual release of salicylic acid allows for a more balanced distribution of the active ingredient, which helps reduce the potential for irritation.
The Extraordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Mask Solution
The Salicylic Acid 2% Masque is an exceptional blend of charcoal and clay, designed to help declutter pores, minimize blemishes, and enhance skin clarity. As a rinse-off treatment, it includes 2% salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin, eliminating excess oil, unclogging pores, and reducing blemishes efficiently.
|Charcoal Powder||Absorbs excess sebum and impurities|
|Kaolin Clay||Purifies pores by removing cloggers|
|4-T-Butylcyclohexanol||Decreases potential irritation|
With its effective formula, the mask is suitable as a weekly or bi-weekly treatment perfect for those with blemish-prone skin. Applying it for no longer than 10 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water will yield the best results.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Designed for those accustomed to exfoliating acids and not having sensitive skin, The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a powerful combination of AHAs and BHAs, which assists in skin exfoliation, blemish reduction, pore refinement, and overall skin texture enhancement.
The solution consists of 30% alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids, and 2% beta hydroxy acid (BHA), namely salicylic acid. Due to the high concentration of direct acids, I emphasize that this peeling solution should only be used if your skin can handle such levels of acids (unfortunately, mine cannot).
Additionally, the peel comprises Tasmanian pepperberry extract, which aids in minimizing irritation caused by the acids. Hyaluronic acid crosspolymer in the solution contributes to skin hydration and plumpness. Furthermore, black carrot extract, rich in antioxidants, provides protection against environmental stressors.
Here’s a summary table of the components and their benefits:
|AHAs (30%)||Exfoliation, skin texture improvement|
|BHA (2%)||Blemish reduction, pore refinement|
|Tasmanian Pepperberry||Irritation reduction|
|Hyaluronic Crosspolymer||Skin hydration and plumpness|
|Black Carrot Extract||Antioxidant protection|
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution should be used once or twice a week at most and should be rinsed off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes. Remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 when using this treatment, as it may sensitize your skin to sun exposure.
Azelaic acid, a distinctive dicarboxylic acid, adeptly addresses redness, inflammation, and pigmentation issues like dark spots. As a trusted solution for prevalent skin concerns such as acne and rosacea, it remains a popular choice for many individuals.
|Benefits||Reduces redness, inflammation, and pigmentation issues|
|Skin Concerns||Acne, Rosacea|
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Dealing with redness and uneven skin tone can be frustrating, but with the Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, I’ve found a solution that tackles these issues effectively. This cream-like formula not only addresses dullness and textural irregularities but also works wonders on patchy skin.
Comprising 10% azelaic acid, this suspension harnesses the power of a naturally occurring acid found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It works diligently to minimize redness, unclog pores, and exfoliate my skin.
Additionally, azelaic acid is known to be less irritating than other direct acids like glycolic and lactic acid, making it perfect for sensitive skin types like mine that may not tolerate stronger acids well.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is gentle enough for me to use twice a day as part of my skincare routine. Check out my detailed Ordinary azelaic acid review for more information.
|Topic||The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%|
|Primary Ingredient||10% Azelaic Acid|
|Key Benefits||Reduction in redness, unclogged pores, exfoliation, improved skin texture|
|Suitable Skin Type||Sensitive skin|
|Usage||Twice daily in skincare routine|
The Remarkable Moisturizing Power: Hyaluronic Acid
As someone who knows acids in skincare, hyaluronic acid (HA) is unique due to its non-exfoliating nature. Instead, it focuses on hydrating and plumping the skin. Naturally found in our skin, this molecule has a strong affinity for water, attracting and retaining up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
Thanks to its sponge-like behavior, HA improves the skin’s hydration levels and helps smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, enhancing the overall appearance.
The Unique Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Formula
This exceptional serum comprises multiple hyaluronic acid forms along with vitamin B5, aiming to hydrate and maintain moisture within the skin. Let me dive into the components and their functions for a better understanding:
|Low-, medium-, and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid||Reaches different skin layers for long-lasting hydration|
|Next-generation HA crosspolymer||Complements the hydrating effects of other hyaluronic acids|
|Vitamin B5 (panthenol)||Binds moisture and calms the skin|
According to clinical studies, using this serum consistently brings about noticeable improvements. Within a week, it enhances hydration, fortifies your skin barrier, and after four weeks, you’ll observe the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines diminishing.
It’s essential to note that hyaluronic acid is NOT AN EXFOLIATING ACID, making it suitable for most skin types, including sensitive skin. I can confidently say that the Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is gentle enough for everyday use, whether in the morning and/or evening.
The Ordinary Acid Conflicts
Direct acids from The Ordinary can be incompatible with certain products, affecting both their efficacy and potentially causing irritation. Mixing exfoliating acids with products having a higher pH can lead to negative reactions.
Additionally, mixing these acids with retinoids can aggravate the skin. Hence, it is crucial to avoid using direct acids with the following substances to prevent conflicts:
|The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1%|
|Other Direct Acids||Including exfoliants|
|Pure/Ethylated Vitamin C||May cause redness and irritation|
|Retinoids (Retinol)||Can irritate the skin|
For an in-depth guide on combining The Ordinary products, I have a post on The Ordinary conflicts, complete with a PDF download covering all product incompatibilities.
Addressing Specific Skin Concerns with Ordinary Acids
I found that using the right Ordinary acids can effectively address my unique skin concerns. The Ordinary offers a variety of acids to tackle issues like redness, breakouts, and enlarged pores.
|Skin Concern||Morning Routine||Evening Routine|
|All Skin Types||– Cleanse|
– Prep with B5
– Natural Moisturizing Factors
|Sensitive Skin||– Cleanse|
– Anhydrous oils
– Pores treatment
– Seal skin barrier
By following this guide, I’ve experienced the benefits of a tailored skincare routine for my specific skin concerns. This has helped me to maintain healthy, unbroken skin and to lock in those benefits.
Easing Redness and Rosacea
Incorporating azelaic acid can help to alleviate redness and enhance skin tone, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and calm irritated skin. One product I recommend for incorporating azelaic acid is The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.
|Azelaic Acid Benefits & Recommendations|
|Reduces redness||Anti-inflammatory properties|
|Improves skin tone||Calms irritated skin|
|Product Recommendation||The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%|
Battling Acne and Clogged Pores
Acne and clogged pores can be quite troublesome. The Ordinary offers a variety of products to help. Salicylic acid, for instance, is an excellent ingredient for combating acne. It exfoliates the skin and clears pores – a perfect solution for blackheads and debris.
|The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution||Oily, acne-prone skin||Reduces breakouts, exfoliates, unclogs pores|
|The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution||Dry, acne-prone skin||Reduces breakouts, exfoliates, unclogs pores|
In conclusion, these products from The Ordinary can effectively tackle acne problems and congested pores, ensuring healthier-looking skin.
I find that using exfoliating acids, particularly AHAs like glycolic acid, effectively reduces acne scars by accelerating cell turnover and promoting collagen production. This results in a smoother, more even skin texture. Here are a couple of products I recommend:
|The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution||Glycolic Acid||Daily Use||Beginners|
|The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution||AHA and BHA||1-2x/week||Advanced Acid Users Only|
Dullness and Textural Irregularities
To address dullness and texture irregularities in the skin, both AHAs and BHAs are effective. AHAs, which include lactic and glycolic acids, gently exfoliate the top layers of skin to reduce dullness. On the other hand, BHAs like salicylic acid also offer exfoliation benefits but are more suitable for oily skin types, as they penetrate deeper into the pores.
Below, I present a table showcasing the different products you can try:
|Product||Active Ingredient||Skin Type|
|The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution||Glycolic Acid (AHA)||All|
|The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA||Lactic Acid (AHA)||All|
|The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque||Salicylic Acid (BHA)||Oily|
|The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%||Azelaic Acid||All|
Wrinkles & Fine Lines
Wrinkles and fine lines are common signs of aging. Fortunately, using AHAs like lactic acid can help improve the appearance of these concerns by promoting cell turnover and stimulating collagen production for more youthful-looking and brighter skin.
|Recommended Products||Ideal For|
|The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%||Regular Skin|
|The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%||Sensitive Skin|
Dealing with Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
I often recommend exfoliating acids for lightening hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It’s important to pick an acid suitable for your skin type and tolerance. For sensitive skin, a gentler option like mandelic acid is ideal. Here’s a table comparing some products I suggest trying:
|Product||Main Ingredients||Suitable for|
|The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution||Glycolic Acid||Most skin types|
|The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution||AHA 30%, BHA 2%||Mature skin, high tolerance|
|The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA 2%||Mandelic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid||Sensitive skin|
These products, when used consistently, can help achieve a more even skin tone, brighten a lacklustre complexion, and improve overall radiance.
Dehydration and Dryness
I have found that using The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is excellent for addressing dry skin and maintaining hydration, as hyaluronic acid acts as a powerful humectant that attracts moisture.
|Dry Skin||Dryness||Hydration||Moisturizing Factors|
|Lack of moisture||Uncomfortable tightness||Essential for health||Improve skin’s barrier|
|Flaky appearance||Usually temporary||Promotes plumpness||Aids in skin repair|
|Itchiness||Can affect all skin types||Needed for elasticity||Include hyaluronic acid|
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do I pick the suitable The Ordinary acid for my skin type?
First, identify your skin concerns and type. For dry or sensitive skin, a milder acid like lactic acid is recommended. For oily or acne-prone skin, consider an oil-soluble acid such as salicylic acid.
Can I combine The Ordinary acids with other skincare ingredients?
While certain ingredients can be safely mixed, it’s crucial to follow The Ordinary’s Regimen Guide to ensure the effectiveness and safety of your routine. Be sure to patch test and monitor your skin’s reaction.
What is the recommended frequency for using The Ordinary peeling solution?
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution should be used no more than twice a week, preferably in the evenings. Overusing the solution can cause skin irritation and sensitivity.
How is hyaluronic acid distinct from direct acids?
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that provides hydration to the skin, unlike exfoliating acids. It works by attracting and retaining moisture in the skin, keeping it hydrated and plump.
Are there any ingredients to avoid mixing with hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is compatible with most skincare ingredients since it mainly focuses on hydration and doesn’t exfoliate the skin.
Is it safe to use The Ordinary glycolic acid and lactic acid together?
Combining glycolic acid and lactic acid is not recommended as the mixture may be too strong for the skin. Use these acids together only if they are present in the same product.
How does The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Masque compare to its Salicylic Acid 2% Solution?
Both products contain salicylic acid, but the masque is designed as a rinse-off treatment to be used 1-2 times a week. It contains charcoal and clays for deep cleansing. The solution is a daily treatment targeting blemishes and unclogging pores.
Which The Ordinary acid is suitable for beginners?
The appropriate beginner acid depends on skin type. Lactic acid (5% concentration) is a good option for dry skin, while Mandelic acid is recommended for oily skin.
|Choosing the right The Ordinary acid||Determine skin concerns and type|
|Mixing The Ordinary acids with other skincare ingredients||Follow The Ordinary’s Regimen Guide and patch test|
|The Ordinary peeling solution frequency||Use no more than twice a week|
|Hyaluronic acid vs. direct acids||Focuses on hydration, not exfoliation|
|Ingredients not to mix with hyaluronic acid||Most other skincare ingredients are safe to mix|
|Using glycolic acid and lactic acid together||Not recommended, unless present in the same product|
|Salicylic Acid 2% Masque vs. Salicylic Acid 2% Solution||Masque: 1-2 times a week, deep cleansing; Solution: daily treatment targeting blemishes and unclogging pores|
|The Ordinary beginner acid||Lactic acid for dry skin, Mandelic acid for oily skin|
The Bottom Line
|Skin Concerns||Recommended Acid||Example Product|
|Acne||Salicylic Acid||The Ordinary Salicylic 2%|
|Hyperpigmentation||Glycolic Acid||Alpha Skincare 10% Gel|
|Fine Lines||Lactic Acid||The Ordinary Lactic 5%|
As I explore different acids, I always start with a patch test and monitor my skin’s reaction. I make sure to use a gentle cleanser such as The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, and I always follow up with a nourishing moisturizer to maintain my skin’s natural hydration. Additionally, sunscreen is a must to protect my skin!
Ultimately, I’ve found that patience and consistency are essential to achieving the best results in skincare.