You may be able to tell from the name that The Ordinary’s newest release is a soothing product due to the ingredient aloe in the title. But The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution is much more than that.
If you deal with those pesky acne scars that take forever to fade away, this serum could be ideal for your skin.
I purchased a bottle through the O. Lab (sign up for early access to new The Ordinary products) to see how it performs.
I will share my thoughts and experience with the serum in this The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution review.
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The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution is a lightweight water-based serum formulated for acne-prone skin.
It helps to reduce the look of acne scars (post-acne marks) thanks to ingredients that reduce the look of uneven skin tone and texture.
The serum also shrinks the appearance of pores while moisturizing and strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier.
Ingredients like aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder soothe and moisturize your skin, while N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) helps reduce uneven skin tone.
The serum also uses peptide technology to improve textural irregularities.
The Ordinary’s testing on 31 participants twice a day for eight weeks showed:
- A reduction in the appearance of post-acne marks
- A reduction in the appearance of irritation-induced redness
- A reduction in the appearance of pores
- An improvement in the look of uneven skin tone and feel of uneven skin texture
- A strengthened skin barrier function and increased skin hydration
The serum is formulated at a pH of 5.0-6.0 and is alcohol-free, oil-free, silicone-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
While ideal for blemish-prone skin, this The Ordinary serum for dark spots is also excellent for dry skin or easily irritated skin.
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution Key Ingredients
Glycerin: A hydrating and moisturizing active that helps draw water into the outer layer of skin.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder: Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe is an active ingredient that helps calm the skin and reduce redness. It’s a humectant that moisturizes your skin too.
N-Acetyl Glucosamine: A naturally occurring amino-saccharide in our skin that is a natural moisturizing factor.
It helps reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by preventing melanin (pigment) production and can also help with wrinkles.
Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4: Also known as Matrixyl, this five amino acid peptide helps improve the appearance of textural irregularities and signs of aging. (This is the peptide found in many Olay peptide products.)
This manufacturer-sponsored 12-week study found an improvement in wrinkles on photoaged skin.
Sodium Lactate: A humectant that helps draw moisture into the skin. It also helps regulate pH levels.
Lactic Acid: This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) helps gently exfoliate the skin and lift away dead skin cells, reducing the look of pores and improving skin texture.
Lactic acid also has moisturizing properties, making it an excellent choice for dry skin.
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution Review
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution has an extremely lightweight, almost water-like texture.
It dries quickly and feels weightless on my skin. Makeup and other skincare products apply easily on top, which is a huge plus.
I’ve been dealing with redness on my nose and forehead from recent breakouts and have been using this serum for the past month.
I’m already noticing a reduction in the redness, and my skin, especially on my forehead, feels more hydrated.
I think the serum has great potential to help with irritation and redness from acne. So far, the best benefits (for my skin) are the serum’s lightweight texture and gentle formula.
Some other serums and creams for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are thick and don’t play well with other skincare and makeup products, but this serum feels weightless on my skin.
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution Drawbacks
The serum has a few conflicts (see below) that may make it tricky to use with other potent actives.
The serum is gentle on the skin, so it may take longer to see results compared to other more potent actives.
How To Use The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution
Apply Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution after cleansing and toning in the treatment step of your skincare routine in the morning and/or evening.
Shake well before using. If you use it in the morning, apply it to your face 15 to 20 minutes before UV exposure.
In general, serums should be applied from thinnest to thickest consistency. Since the serum is so lightweight, the serum should usually be applied before most other serums, lotions, and creams.
Be sure to patch test this and any new skincare product before trying it for the first time to avoid an adverse initial reaction.
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution Conflicts
Since the serum contains a peptide, you should avoid using it in the same routine with products containing direct acids, pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid or ethylated ascorbic acid), and The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%.
The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution Alternatives
The Ordinary offers several additional products to help with acne scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Please note that when using AHAs and BHAs, it is important to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily to avoid sun sensitivity.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% contains 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc to improve smoothness, strengthen the skin barrier, and brighten uneven skin tone.
Niacinamide is an excellent preventative for acne scars, as it helps balance sebum (oil) production in the skin, brightens discoloration, and offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
The lightweight water-based serum is perfect for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin types.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% (see my review here)targets many of the same concerns that Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution does with 10% azelaic acid: uneven skin tone, redness, and textural irregularities.
A natural antioxidant found in grains, azelaic acid tends to be less irritating than other exfoliating acids, like glycolic acid or lactic acid.
This clinical study found that a 15% azelaic acid gel effectively treated hyperpigmentation due to acne.
Please note that The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% has a thick cream-like texture, which feels heavier on the skin than Aloe 2% + NAG 2%.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
For a more potent exfoliating treatment, The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution provides a deeper exfoliation to improve skin texture, uneven skin tone, and clear pore congestion.
It contains a 30% concentration of AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid) and a 2% concentration of BHA in the form of salicylic acid.
The Ordinary recommends this product only if you are an experienced user of acid exfoliation because it is a very potent treatment. This peel is not intended for sensitive skin. (It’s too strong for my skin.)
Please note that The Ordinary’s AHA/BHA peel is a weekly or bi-weekly rinse-off treatment, while Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution can be used twice daily.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) toner that contains 7% glycolic acid, the smallest AHA molecule, which penetrates quickly into the skin and provides a chemical exfoliation on the skin’s surface.
It helps to reduce visible signs of aging, improve skin texture and tone, and evens out uneven skin tone.
The toner also contains botanical extracts such as Tasmanian Pepperberry, ginseng root, and aloe vera to soothe and calm the skin.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Serums
If you want to treat acne before acne scars even get a chance to form, The Ordinary has two salicylic acid serums that will help unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and prevent future breakouts.
The main difference between the two is that each is better suited to the following acne-prone skin types:
- The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (water-based) => is better for oily skin
- The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution (squalane-based) => is better for dry skin and BHA beginners
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is a lightweight water-based serum that contains a 2% concentration of salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, so it can penetrate deeply into the pores to clear out buildup, reduce inflammation, and control acne blemishes.
In addition to its anti-acne properties, salicylic acid helps to exfoliate the skin and brighten dullness.
See my complete review here.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution helps reduce textural irregularities, redness, and uneven skin tone while targeting comedones.
The serum contains a 2% concentration of salicylic acid (to target acne and excess oil), suspended in a lightweight squalane-based solution.
Squalane is an emollient that helps to further moisturize the skin and lock in hydration.
The squalane base and supporting hydrating polyglycerides release salicylic acid over time for a gentler yet effective exfoliation.
The water-free serum is suitable for all skin types and especially for beginner users of exfoliating acids.
For more details on these products and more The Ordinary products that improve the look of acne scars, check out my post on the best The Ordinary products for acne scars.
The Bottom Line
If you have blemish prone skin and deal with pigmentation, discoloration, and dark spots left after acne has healed, and want to try an affordable serum to treat them, The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution is worth a try.
It’s lightweight and comfortable on the skin. Just be sure to give it some time to work and avoid using it with exfoliating acids, resveratrol, and pure vitamin C products.
Read more The Ordinary reviews:
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides Review
- The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane Review
- The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5 Review
- The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Eye Serum Review
- The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone Review
- The Ordinary Glycolipid Cream Cleanser Review
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan Review
Thanks for reading!