The Ordinary Acid Skincare Regime for All Skintypes

How to incorporate Deciem’s The Ordinary Acid products into your skincare regime whatever your skin type might be.The Ordinary Acid Skincare Regime Guide pinnable image

The Ordinary by Deciem do a wide range of Acid products- 30% AHA+2% BHA Peeling Solution, Lactic Acid 5%/10%+2% Hyaluronic Acid, Azeleic Acid Suspension 10%, Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%, Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, Salicylic Acid 2% (as well as their Vitamin C products, which is also an acid, I’ll do those another day). They are all less than £7 in price and available from I’ve written before about The Ordinary and how it’s helped my skin, I’m a real fan.

They have different purposes but will generally serve to exfoliate, smooth and brighten the skin. This post is just a guide and everyone’s skin is different. You might find you react to something that is meant to be gentle. Skincare is about finding what works for you and it won’t be the same as the person next to you.

The Ordinary Acid Skincare Regime for All Skintypes- row of dropper bottles
The Ordinary Acid Skincare Regime for All Skintypes

Deciem The Ordinary Acids- What They All Do

The different acids have these different functions-

  • 30% AHA+2% BHA Peeling Solution pH- 3.5- 3.7– contains 30% Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (Glycolic/Lactic/Tartaric/Citric), 2% Beta Hydroxyl Acid (Salicylic Acid), Hyaluronic Acid Crosspolymer, Vitamin B5, Black Carrot and Tasmanian Pepperberry. 30% AHA+2% BHA is designed to be used occasionally. It’s a very strong product and only to be used by experienced AHA users. It’s effects are brightening by exfoliating the top skin cell layer and unclogging pores with the longer acting BHA. Not for the faint hearted, it is a pleasingly bright pink and stings like the devil. Use, at most, once weekly and only leave on for 10 minutes.
  • Lactic Acid 10% or 5% with Hyaluronic Acid 2%-pH- 3.6- 3.8– Lactic Acid is the alps hydroxy acid the skin produces itself to keep its pH 5.5. This means that Lactic Acid  is well tolerated. Less likely to irritate than Glycolic Acid and more hydrating.
  • Azeleic Acid 10% Suspension– pH- 4- 5– Derived from grains, Azeleic Acid has anti inflammatory, antibacterial and melanin inhibiting effects.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%– A powerful antioxidant, Alpha Lipoic Acid may have the ability to lighten skin. It’s a favourite of Dr Nicholas Perricone. There isn’t a vast amount of research of it. This is a very strong solution and should be used with kid gloves, it’s not for daily use. It creates a stinging sensation.
  • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution– pH- 3.5- 3.7– This is an exfoliating toner a la Pixi Glow Tonic (but it’s cheaper). Glycolic Acid is another Alpha Hydroxy Acid and is used for exfoliation. It is a smaller molecule than Lactic Acid and can therefore penetrate further into the skin. It’s effects include wrinkle smoothing , skin brightening and reduction of acne scarring and pigmentation.
  • Salicylic Acid 2% with WitchHazel pH- 3.2-3.5– Salicylic Acid is Beta Hydroxy Acid which dissolves keratin. It unclogs pores essentially.

Which Deciem The Ordinary Acid Product to Choose for Your Skin Type

  • You have dry or sensitive skin– Try The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% to begin with. Lactic Acid is less likely to cause irritation than Glycolic Acid as it doesn’t penetrate as deeply. Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution might be a good option for those with dry skin as it’s low in concentration.
  • You have Aging Skin– Glycolic Acid penetrates deeper into the skin and is more likely to produce visible results in terms of wrinkles and pigmentation. The Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a great addition to skincare if you’re looking to tackle age related changes. If you’re familiar with acids and you’re looking to take things to the next level then try the 30% AHA 2% BHA Peeling Solution.
  • You have Pigmentation Issues– Any AHA will increase cell turnover and improve skin brightness but Azeleic Acid has proven skin lightening effects. Azeleic Acid 5% could be your best bet, it works by inhibiting the DNA synthesis of abnormal melanin producing cells (the cells that give you those nasty brown spots).
  • You have Acne– Azeleic Acid is prescribed as an acne treatment, it has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory effects, so Azeleic Acid 10% is a good choice for acne sufferers. Salicylic Acid also has a good history in acne treatment, it dissolves the plugs of keratin in pores and decongests the skin. The Ordinary are keen to add that these serums are not meant as medicines. Speaking personally I have had huge success in treating my own cystic acne using Lactic Acid 10%. It’s been a life changer, check out my Before and After photos.
  • You are well versed with skincare and you want to try something new– Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that can lighten skin and improve texture. The 5% solution is strong so best used by those who have skin that is used to acids.
  • You have Normal/Young skin with no issues– What are you doing putting acid on your face? Leave that to us old spotties. If you fancy something just to brighten the complexion then Glycolic Acid 7% toner will work nicely.

How to Incorporate The Ordinary Acids Into Your Skincare Regimen

The Ordinary Acid Skincare Regime for All Skintypes- dropper bottle containing red liquid
The Ordinary Acid Skincare Regime for All Skintypes 30% AHA Peeling Solution

This is probably not what you will want to hear, but you do need to know that you must not rush in all guns blazing. You mustn’t apply loads of different acidic products to your face at the same time. You will regret it if you do. There is such a thing as over exfoliation. It’s symptoms can be-

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Increased sun damage
  • Pigmentation caused by the sun damage
  • Thinning of the skin, causing a stretched shiny appearance
  • Wrinkles
  • Dehydration
  • Orange peel appearance
  • Open pores

Frightened yet? These things are most likely some of the things you’re trying to get rid of by using the acids in the first place. It’s possible to end up with skin in worse condition than your original skin if you don’t do things right, and it won’t get better quickly either.

The beauty of The Ordinary is that it offers so much affordable choice in high strength skincare with proven effects. But, this also leads the buyer to purchasing so many of its lovely products, it’s easy to go overboard. The Ordinary themselves have put this advisory on their Acid products-

Note: While Acid can result in quick visible benefits, we generally suggest indirect forms of skin exfoliation in favour of direct forms such as this formula due to potential inflammation and sensitivity associated with acids. Please refer to NIOD’s Non-Acid Acid Precursor for such a reference.

Here are some pointers do that you can introduce The Ordinary Acid products to your skin in the best way, thus avoiding any ill effects-

  • Choose your acid wisely and go for the gentlest product first if you’re new to it.
  • Use on clean skin, after cleansing and toning.
  • The Ordinary recommends using water based products before oils/creams and at most 3 serums at the same time. All the Acid products are water based apart from Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%.
  • The Ordinary advises using Acid products in your evening skincare (apart from Azeleic Acid and Salicylic Acid, which you may use in the morning) as they sensitise your skin to sun.
  • Use sunscreen! Use it every day, even when not using your acids. Some research has found that Glycolic Acid can make skin more light sensitive for weeks after its use.
  • Don’t use other products containing acids. Check your cleanser, moisturiser etc for Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
  • Don’t also physically scrub the skin. Don’t cleanse with a scrub or use a face brush to mechanically exfoliate while using acid products. Acids are more gentle than physical exfoliators, like face scrubs, which can abrade and irritate the skin.
  • If you’re using more than one acid or a Retinoid, don’t use them on the same day. Have an Acid day then a Retinoid day.

Examples of The Ordinary Acid Regimens

Oily or Acne Prone Skin

AM- Cream cleanser, Salicylic Acid, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, your usual moisturiser and sunscreen

PM- Cream cleanser, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Azeleic Acid 10%, 100% Cold Pressed Organic Rosehip oil

You could add Buffet Serum or Matrixyl 10% if wrinkles are also a concern


AM- Cleanser, Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc, moisturiser, sunscreen.

PM- Cleanser, Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.


AM- Cleanser, Buffet, moisturiser and sunscreen

PM- Cleanser, Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, Buffet, 100% Cold Pressed Organic Rosehip oil.

Once a week maximum- 30% AHA+2% BHA Peeling Solution

Dry Skin

AM- A very gentle cleanser (e.g. Cetaphil), Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, Sunscreen

PM- Very gentle cleansing Lactic Acid 5%, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.

Please note that these are only a guide, as I said everyone will respond differently to skincare. I would like to add that I’m not an expert or a dermatologist, just an enthusiastic skincare fan who knows a bit about science.

Just remember- use only one acid product at a time, don’t also use physical scrubs and definitely wear sunscreen. Deciem The Ordinary’s Acid products can make a real difference tot he appearance and texture of skin, they’ve definitely worked for me. You just have to be careful how you incorporate them into your regime.


All the links are affiliate!!!


15 Comments Add yours

  1. Ellie says:

    Recently discovered your blog and love it! I have very dry skin, bought the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, but it leaves my face feeling tight unless I follow with a moisturiser, which then pills, any thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thank you Ellie! know exactly what you mean, I find a lot of the Ordinary serums pill. I can’t wear them under makeup. The only suggestions I can give would be try applying less HA Serum and give it plenty of time to absorb before applying moisturiser. Have you tried the Squaline? that sounds interesting x


      1. Ellie says:

        Thanks! Will check that out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. pauline says:

        I was told that HA serum should be applied on wet skin as then moist better. Spritz the skin with water,tonic etc

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes that’s correct! 😃


  2. Ildi says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post !
    I have oily skin with acne. I was wondering if I use Salicylic Acid with 30% AHA+2% BHA Peeling Solution, would it be too much acid for my skin?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I’m using at the moment and my skin is fine with it (loves it in fact) and mine is also oily and acne prone x


  3. Augusto Guerrero says:

    which cream cleanser would you recommend for oily skin? Could you use the ordinary natural moisturizing factors+HA as moisturizer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use Ultrabland by Lush or Hylamide Low Viscosity Cleaning Ester. Both are bland and non irritating. You could totally use natural factors as a moisturiser, rosehip oil is also great x


  4. Nicole says:

    Just found your blog recently, thank you for answering so many questions! I have just picked up the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Azeleic Acid 10%, and salicylic acid from the Ordinary, and the package has finally arrived! I’m hesitant to layer too many serums on at the same time; when you put on the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, do you wait for the salicylic acid to soak in completely? same question goes for the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Azeleic Acid 10% combo at night time. Any replies are very helpful thank you!


    1. Yes I would wait for the Salicylic Acid and Niacin to absorb fully. Have you checked out the Ordinary Chatroom on Facebook? There is a lot of information there. Thanks for the comment x


  5. Rina says:

    love your post, very helpful! i’ve been using aha/bha toner (each of them are only 0.1%) & followed by 20% vit C serum. i’m suffering with acne, so im thinking to buy The Ordinary Salicylic Acid. But wondering will it be too many acids for my skin? thank u


    1. That is a fair bit of acid Hun. Why don’t you gently introduce the Salicylic Acid to see how your skin responds- try using it on its own one evening to see how it goes. Ease it in and any dryness, Ease back 😃


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