For years now, The Ordinary skincare has been taking the world by storm. And for good reason. High-quality skincare at affordable pricing and in chic, minimalistic packaging. What isn’t there to love? Well… there is one thing and I have to say it’s a major bug bearer of mine. The dedication to minimalism on the packaging has left consumers with products that have little instructions and no descriptions for what these products are meant to do. Some of the products sold by The Ordinary have very strong ingredients including acids and retinol, ingredients which when used incorrectly can cause severe damage to your skin. One such product is The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. This product has become viral across TikTok and Instagram, especially amongst teens who are enamored by the vampiric red solution and the purse-friendly price point. A quick scroll through these social channels is enough to have me wince in empathic pain as I watch time and time again, people apply the product incorrectly. But who can really blame those on the bandwagon when the instructions are vague and the description non-existent? If you are looking to purchase this product or have it and don’t know how to use it, keep reading. This is a guide on how to use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.
What is the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution and what does it do?
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a gruesome-looking, bloody red chemical exfoliant that should when used correctly, leave your skin looking radiant and smooth. The combination of glycolic and lactic acids (AHAs) and salicylic acid (BHA) creates a potent solution that acts as a chemical exfoliant to improve skin texture and tone, leaving you with brighter smoother skin.
AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) are two popular ingredients found in skincare. Using these products leaves skin looking smoother, brighter and clearer thanks to the keratolytic and comedolytic nature of the acids, which help remove dead skin. AHAs and BHAs can be an extremely beneficial addition to your skincare routine when used correctly and at the right percentage for your skin.
The AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution has a combined acid concentration of 32% (quick maths). The total acid concentration found in this product can be overly strong for young and inexperienced skin, which is what TikTok teens are quickly figuring out for themselves.
How to use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution?
So how do you use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution? This product’s application is fairly simple but can have hazardous results when applied wrong.
A peeling solution should be used no more than two times a week and as part of your night-time routine, after your cleanser and before your moisturiser. When applying liquid products, it seems to have become a trend to hold the pipette (dropper) directly on your face and let it run down your face. PLEASE do not do this!! There are three reasons not to do this:
1.To have the pipette continuously on your skin can encourage bacteria growth which can cause breakouts.
2.You are using waaaaaay too much product. There is no need to use so much, it’s wasteful and can cause damage to your skin.
3. And most importantly, if you are dripping acids and substances that should not go near sensitive skin, that shit is going to burn if it gets in your eyes!
After cleansing, make sure your skin is dry and apply the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution with clean hands. You should apply to your face and neck as you would a mask, avoiding the sensitive eye area and you should leave it on no longer than 10 minutes. Thinking of that poor boy that left it on for AN HOUR! After 10 minutes, wash off thoroughly with lukewarm water, never hot.
Due to the chemicals in the Peeling Solution, you should never use this product more than twice a week. This may sound like common sense to you and me but I have been seeing too much of this so here it goes… Please, please, PLEASE do not use this product or any AHA/BHA with a dermaroller. By using a dermaroller, you are creating microabrasions on your skin, to then put acid into these small cuts is absolute madness. These products are acids and do not need any help penetrating the skin.
Please be aware that the use of AHAs and BHAs does increase sun sensitivity so it is imperative that you remember to wear SPF especially on the days immediately after use.
Can I use the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution?
AHAs and BHAs are great additions to any skincare routine but only when in the right hands.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a very high concentration of acid, a total of 32%, with a low pH of between 3.5 – 3.7. This all means that this acid solution is not for the faint of heart or sensitive of skin. This peeling solution is really best suited for people that have older skin or have experience using acids. This here lies the issue that many young people are running into – their skin is not equipped for the use of such a strong product. Young skin doesn’t need to use high percentage AHAs or BHAs, these should really only be considered from your late 20s. That isn’t to say that you can’t try out milder acids at lower percentages whilst in your 20s, to find something gentler that doesn’t damage your skin.
If you are like me and have sensitive skin, then you may want to look for a gentler AHA/BHA. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution isn’t suitable for sensitive, peeling or damaged skin. It also shouldn’t be used on sunburnt skin or if you are having an acne flare-up.
If you decide you want to use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, you need to think about how it will react to other products within your skincare routine. This product, under no circumstances, should be used in conjunction with other direct acids ( lactic, glycolic, salicylic, etc), with products containing peptides, nor with any Vitamin C product. This product can be used with retinol and retinoids but personally, I would use these products on alternating evenings. This is just as a personal preference, allowing my skin some breathing space.
I’m by no means a skincare expert but in a digital age when misinformation is strife and people do silly things for clout, I felt it was important to share a detailed guide on how to use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution safely and what it does to your skin.
For younger people, I would encourage you to take viral TikTok trends with a pinch of salt and thoroughly research products you are buying before putting them on your skin, especially products like acids. When you are looking to experiment with AHAs, BHAs or retinol, I highly recommend starting with milder products and build your tolerance for the products.
You may still confused about how to use on how to use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution or want to know how to use other The Ordinary products, if so, Cassandra Bankson has some fantastic videos on her YouTube channel breaking down the most popular The Ordinary products.
If you use an acid or product which enflames your skin, read my post on how to deal with skin after an allergic reaction.
Until next time,
Thank you for writing this! I’ve seen so many TikToks that are dropping this straight on to the face – really stresses me out! x
How could anyone be dumb enough to use something like this with a dermaroller?! I have extremely sensitive skin and I could never use something this strong anyway but my face is tingling just thinking about the pain using it with a dermaroller could cause. Lots of helpful tips in here for people new to using products like this x
I love products from The Ordinary. They work wonders and great price point too. This is a must have.
So this product is a chemical peel you can do at home that removes the top layer of skin?
It’s not as strong as a chemical peel which would be done by a dermatologist or aesthetician which can remove the top layer of skin. This product is meant to help get rid of dead skin which builds but when used incorrectly can be quite damaging.
OMG I can’t believe people are using peeling acid solutions with dermarollers, that is just sheer madness! I hope as many people as possible read your post, it’s really helpful, thank you so much for writing this.
Thank you Lisa! I felt compelled to write it after seeing one to many videos that had me cringing.