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Top 8 The Ordinary Products for Treating Acne

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What I’ve done when I was battling acne was building my skincare routine around The Ordinary brand. And it was a mega clever choice! TBH, I’ve done this besides my trip to the derm, which ended with a prescripted gel with benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin (Duac) and the monthly facials. I’m mentioning this because, above all, acne is a medical-grade skin condition, and it takes more than a skincare routine to get rid of it. However, The Ordinary has some great products for acne you can build your routine around and is probably one of the best brands you can use in your battle! Why? Because the brand takes a medical-grade approach focusing on single-ingredient products that deliver targeted results. Besides, nothing costs more than $25. I’m sure if you have never used The Ordinary products before, you’ll turn into a fan after reading this!

Why should you use The Ordinary products?

OK, so why did I choose The Ordinary to fight acne, and I suggest you do it too? Pretty simple, The Ordinary focuses on one or two ingredients per product, having concentrated formulas with lab-made and plant-derived ingredients, no fragrances, no mineral oil, mercury, oxybenzone, parabens, or sulfates. Yay! All their products have simple and effective formulas with high-end ingredients, everything at an affordable price; hence, the enthusiasm. Plus, they never test on animals, having all products made in Canada. From A-listers, beauty gurus, influencers, estheticians, everyone praises The Ordinary products. 

Another reason to use The Ordinary is that they have all the arsenal you need to deal with each skin concern, including acne. They’ve got targeted anti-acne products from cleansers and toners to serums, masks, and chemical peels with which you can build your entire skincare routine. And guess what? The Ordinary products for acne are really good, and they actually can help reduce breakouts and improve your overall skin appearance. Of course, you have to know which products to use and how to use them. That’s why you are here, right? 


The best The Ordinary products for acne

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
Cleanser for Acne

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

Start your routine by removing impurities with this cleanser. While it dissolves makeup and dirt, the squalane-base gives it nourishing properties so that your skin won’t dry out and produce even more sebum. Squalane is a lightweight oil-derivative that gets easily absorbed in the skin without the greasy feeling. Rest assured, squalane doesn’t clog pores, and the product is non-comedogenic anyway. Rub this cleanser between your palms for 10 seconds to help it undergo its textural change and slather it on your face. Your skin is ready for the next step.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Toner for Acne

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Using a toner is not a mandatory step, yet it’s much better if you do than if you don’t. I already talked about what toner does to your skin, but as a short recap, toner preps the skin for the next steps while giving it specific properties — depending on the ingredients in it. In this case, glycolic acid (GA), which is actually an acne-fighting acid. When it enters in contact with the skin, GA breaks dead skin cells, creating a peeling effect and exfoliating the skin. Not only it makes skin appear smoother and even, but it unclogs pores, eliminating dead skin cells and excess oil. And this toner has 7% of it! Rest assured, to counteract the possible irritations associated with acid use, The Ordinary added to this toner Tasmanian pepperberry derivative, amino acids, ginseng root, aloe vera, and rose water. And it’s oil-free!

Serum for Acne

The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc

Serum time! I literally love this serum, and so does my skin — I found it to be one of the best The Ordinary products for acne. With 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc, it helps regulate excess sebum and diminish acne. Zinc can kill acne-causing bacteria, has antioxidant properties that help you get rid of free radicals, reduces inflammatory reactions, and helps other ingredients absorb into the skin. Niacinamide is super effective in treating inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne and balance sebum, actually being one of the most tolerated OTCs for acne. It also does wonders at getting rid of hyperpigmentation and dark spots left by acne. Show your skin some little extra TLC with this oil-free serum, absolutely fabulous!

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Moisturizer
Moisturizer for Acne

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

This oil-free moisturizer might be what your acne-prone skin needs since it’s made with 10% azelaic acid in a feathery cream-gel formula. It works to diminish blemishes, uneven texture, brightening, and protecting the skin. Azelaic is well-known among people who struggle with acne (myself included!) due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. When applied regularly, azelaic acid can clear acne-causing bacteria from your pores, preventing future breakouts. More than that, azelaic acid is a gentle element that encourages cell turnover so that your skin heals quicker and minimizes acne scars. Briefly, azelaic acid is an antibacterial antioxidant that decongests clogged pores. 

As you already know (I hope!), the last step in your AM skincare routine is SPF.

For your PM routine, use these products by The Ordinary with acne-fighting ingredients. After cleansing and toning your skin, it’s time you layer the serum. And since while sleeping the skin dries out more, you’d want something to quench it. If you don’t, you’ll wake up with thirsty skin that’ll secrete more oil to replenish that moisture loss. 

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5
HA Moisturizer

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Hence, the MVP for hydrating the skin is hyaluronic acid — absolutely safe for acne. Hyaluronic acid seals in and replenishes moisture, making your skin look fresh, plump, and brighter. Its moisturizing properties deliver the needed hydration, counteracting the drying effects of acne-fighting ingredients that usually tend to strip the skin moisture. This will lessen the chances of skin irritation. The other hero in this serum is B5, another wonder element for acne. Besides balancing sebum production and improving the skin barrier, it reduces the effects of skin irritation and inflammation — this study shows it.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid in Squalane
Retinol Serum

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane 

Optionally, you can alternate your HA + B5 serum with this one. Infused with granactive retinoid — a highly advanced form of retinoid — and squalane, it works to keep the skin hydrated. In plus, the tiny molecules of retinol penetrate the dermis, stimulating collagen and elastin production. In turn, it helps reduce pores’ appearance, acne, and scars.

Besides your twice-daily skincare routine, there’s the weekly skincare regimen. By that, I mean mask and peeling. The Ordinary actually has two awesome products for acne-prone skin intended for weekly use.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Mask
Mask for acne

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

It’s impossible you haven’t heard of salicylic acid if you struggle with breakouts. This BHA is oil-soluble, aka it penetrates into the pores, unclogging them. This is how it helps inflamed pimples and pustules go away. Its powers? Exfoliating, revitalizing, healing, and bacteria-fighter. The mask is also infused with charcoal and kaolin — another two key ingredients that fight acne with their deep cleansing abilities. Use this mask once weekly, and you’ll notice your skin refreshed and clear in time.

The Ordinary Peeling
Peeling for Acne

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

I was a bit skeptical about using this peeling on my skin (afraid of irritation), but with so many people praising it, I turned myself to give it a try. Now, I proudly say: it was one of the best additions to my skincare routine! The Ordinary Peeling Solution is made with the trifecta of acids (glycolic, lactic, and salicylic), all great for acne. Plus, tartaric acid, another AHA that exfoliates the skin, unclogs pores and fights blemishes. Just 10 minutes weekly is enough to get rid of the old skin cells and replace them with fresher, renewed ones. It truly works! Expect to sting and ting a bit, but that’s normal, it’ll go away within 5 minutes or so. However, if your skin is on the sensitive side, or you just have had a peeling, or your skin is compromised, don’t use it. Otherwise, go for it.

Acne-treating ingredients in The Ordinary products

  1. Glycolic acid: Studies found that glycolic acid kills acne bacteria, plus it has antibacterial properties that can clear up breakouts and scarring caused by acne.
  2. Salicylic acid: Research has shown that salicylic acid can effectively prevent acne by limiting the proliferation of the P. acnes bacteria.
  3. Niacinamide: It’s effective in treating inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne and balance sebum. 
  4. Azelaic acid: It does more than just fight acne. Azelaic acid can eliminate bacteria that cause the infection, as well as reduce inflammation and redness. In addition, it can help speed up skin cell turnover rate, which in turn helps even out skin tone while fighting off any unwanted blemishes.
  5. Retinol:  It controls acne by reducing sebum production. Besides, its exfoliation effect promotes clear and radiant skin. 
  6. Zinc: It can decrease oil production and can protect against bacterial infection and inflammation.

A comprehensive The Ordinary routine for acne

What to apply in the morning:

  1. Cleanser: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
  2. Toner: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
  3. Serum: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 
  4. Moisturizer: The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
  5. Sunscreen

What to apply at night:

  1. Cleanser: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser 
  2. Toner: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
  3. Serum: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane 
  4. Moisturizer: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

What to apply weekly:

  1. Mask: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
  2. Peeling: The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Quick question

  1. What are the best The Ordinary products for acne?

    If I have to choose, I'd say the best The Ordinary products for acne are Niacinamide + Zinc, Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, Salicylic Acid 2% Masque and AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. You can do your full anti-acne routine with only these four products, and most likely, you'll finally be able to get rid of breakouts.

  2. Are The Ordinary products good for acne?

    The Ordinary is good for everything and, in particular, for acne. Their formulas are simple, so they are unlikely to cause irritations or other complications, and focus on just a few key ingredients. Their acne-fighting ingredients include large concentrations of tried-and-true formulas that fight against all forms of this skin condition — and they've got plenty on offer!

The takeaway

Congrats! You’ve just built an excellent skincare routine for acne using only The Ordinary products, which includes all the ingredients your skin needs. Stick to it, and the results can appear quicker than you expected.

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