The Ordinary doesn’t introduce new products that often, but it’s always something special when they do. Their latest launch is no exception: a reformulation of their salicylic acid treatment for blemish-prone skin. Today, I will discuss my initial impressions of the treatment in this The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution review.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution is an alternative for oily and acne-prone skin to the newly reformulated The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (see my review here).
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The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution contains a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, the beta hydroxy acid that dermatologists adore for its ability to treat acne and blackheads and keep pores clear.
The treatment is a water-free product (thus the word anhydrous in the product name) formulated to exfoliate the skin and help decongest pores, brighten dull skin tone and improve the look of blemishes.
Exfoliating acids like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) (i.e., glycolic acid and lactic) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid found in this serum do a great job of improving cell turnover and removing dead skin cells to reveal brighter, fresher skin.
AHAs work on the skin’s surface while salicylic acid, a lipophilic BHA, works on the surface of the skin PLUS, since it is oil-soluble, it reaches into the pore lining to dissolve oil and other debris which can lead to clogged pores. This is why salicylic acid is such a great treatment for acne, and why it can be a good option for those whose skin is oily or acne-prone.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution offers salicylic acid in a squalane base to calm skin irritation that can be associated with the use of BHAs like salicylic acid.
Squalane is a saturated hydrocarbon that occurs naturally in our skin’s sebum in the form of squalene (with an e). It is an emollient, meaning it helps keep the skin hydrated and prevents transepidermal water loss.
One of the best qualities of squalane is its lightweight texture. It sinks into the skin quickly, without leaving a greasy residue behind like some heavier oils can. It’s also non-comedogenic, so along with its lightweight feel, it doesn’t clog pores, making it suitable for those with oily and acne-prone skin. It’s also safe for sensitive skin.
This salicylic acid treatment also contains oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides from sunflower oil, which is an emollient that provides moisturizing benefits.
This serum also contains 4-T-butylcyclohexanol, which per the manufacturer, reduces stinging and burning to relieve irritated skin. This is a welcome ingredient if you are like me and have sensitive skin.
Hydroxymethoxyphenyl decanone is an ingredient that is supposed to offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits as well as increase hyaluronic acid (a humectant that draws in moisture) in the skin.
So, how does this salicylic acid serum perform?
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution Review
I was intrigued with the formula of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution since I’ve never used a salicylic acid product in a squalane base before. Since salicylic acid tends to dry out my skin, I was looking forward to seeing how this squalane-based serum performed.
While my skin has always been sensitive to salicylic acid, I’ve found that using it on targeted areas of my skin works best for me. I use this solution on my T-zone at night (I have combination skin), focusing on my nose and chin.
The first thing I noticed was the lightweight texture of the product. It sinks in quickly and has a weightless feel without leaving any residue.
When I use salicylic acid treatments on my nose to target blackheads, they usually leave my nose dry and flaky. Not this serum. My pores appear smaller, and squalane provides lightweight moisture. I have not experienced any irritation yet either.
If you have combination or oily skin, you might want to save this serum for the evening since it may leave your skin a little too oily during the day under makeup. For dry skin, this serum will provide some welcome moisture.
So far, I am pleased with this new formula to help reduce breakouts and improve the look of enlarged pores, and the fact that I can use it without irritation is a plus. The super low price makes it even more appealing.
How To Use Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution
Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution can be used both AM and PM. You can use it as a targeted treatment or all over your face. Apply after cleansing, toning, and water-based treatments, but before oils and creams.
If you have oily skin you might even be able to use this as your moisturizer since squalane has such great emollient and moisturizing qualities.
Be sure to patch test before using it for the first time on your skin. Do not use it on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin, and avoid the eye contour area.
Beta hydroxy acids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so as the last step of your morning skincare routine, be sure to apply sunscreen that is broad-spectrum with SPF protection of 30 or higher when using this product and for seven days after.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution Conflicts
Do not use The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution with skincare products containing potent actives like other exfoliating acids (i.e., glycolic acid and lactic acid), pure or methylated vitamin C products, retinoids including retinol and benzoyl peroxide.
Also, do not use with peptides, copper peptides, The Ordinary EUK134 0.1%, and The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder.
Where to Buy The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution Alternatives
If salicylic acid works for your skin, but the squalane base of this solution doesn’t work for you, consider The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Masque to improve skin clarity. It’s a rinse-off mask that targets textural irregularities and a dull skin tone.
One of The Ordinary’s best-selling leave-on treatments is their The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum. It combines a high concentration of sebum-balancing niacinamide and zinc. It helps to reduce blemishes, congested pores, and the appearance of redness.
You can also use alpha hydroxy acids to improve skin texture and tone and help to reduce the look of blemishes. The Ordinary has multiple direct acid products, including The Ordinary Glycolic Toning Solution 7%, The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA, and The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10%.
And let’s not forget about retinol. Retinol can increase skin cell turnover, allowing blemish-prone skin to be healthier and more resilient. The Ordinary has six retinol and retinoid options. Please see my guide to The Ordinary retinol and retinoids for more details on these products.
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Final Thoughts on The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution
If you’re looking for an affordable and effective way to get rid of blackheads, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution is a great option. The salicylic acid in the serum works overtime to unclog pores, get rid of blackheads, and reduce acne.
The Bottom Line: If you have ance-prone skin and have been searching for a targeted treatment to reduce blemishes and blackheads, this The Ordinary product is worth trying. With its incredibly low price, it’s hard to beat!
Thanks for reading!