The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a potent chemical exfoliant that targets multiple skin concerns. While it’s only intended for advanced users of acid exfoliation, the peel is fast-acting, affordable, and leaves your face smooth, glowy, and soft.
But what about afterward? What do you use to care for your newly exfoliated skin? In this post, we’ll discuss what to use after The Ordinary Peeling Solution to ensure that your skin is nourished and your results are long-lasting.
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What to Use After The Ordinary Peeling Solution
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a highly concentrated wash-off chemical peel and masque that contains 30% alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in the form of glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid. It also contains 2% beta hydroxy acid (BHA) in the form of salicylic acid.
The water-based peel has a dark red color and the texture of a serum. It exfoliates both the surface of the skin (AHAs) and deeper into the pores (BHA) and sweeps away dead skin cells to brighten the skin, and even out skin tone. It also targets clogged pores to decrease pore congestion, blemishes, and acne. With continued use, the peel improves the look of fine lines and skin texture for improved skin radiance and clarity.
The best thing you can do for your skin after exfoliating with this peel is to nourish it. Nourishing ingredients include hydrating serums, moisturizers, and plant oils that will help repair and strengthen the skin barrier. (A weakened skin barrier can lead to dry, red, and irritated skin.)
After using The Ordinary Peeling Solution, your face may feel sensitive and irritated from the very high concentration of AHAs and BHAs in the formula, so you want to be sure to treat your skin with soothing after-peel skincare care products like the ones below.
The order of product application is as follows:
- -> The Ordinary Peeling Solution (on clean skin)
- -> Hydrating Serum
- -> Replenishing Moisturizer
- -> Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) AM routine only
Consider following The Ordinary Peeling Solution with a hydrating and plumping hyaluronic acid product. Don’t be afraid of the word “acid” when it comes to hyaluronic acid because this active is all about replenishing hydration.
With continued use, hyaluronic acid even helps to improve the look of wrinkles and fine lines on photoaged skin.
You can find many hyaluronic acid (HA) serums on the market that are affordable and effective.
If you want to stick with The Ordinary brand of products, apply a few drops of their Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 after the peel. This hyaluronic acid serum contains ultra-pure, vegan hyaluronic acid at low-, medium- and high-molecular weights, along with a next-generation HA crosspolymer and vitamin B5 to hydrate the skin at multiple levels.
There are many other affordable hyaluronic acid serums, such as Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid Serum draws moisture to the skin with a lightweight formula that works well under other skincare and makeup products.
La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum is an anti-aging serum that targets wrinkles and fine lines with pure hyaluronic acid, madecassoside, and vitamin B5 (panthenol). The serum locks in moisture and replenishes the skin.
Madecassoside is a compound from the medicinal Centella Asiatica plant and is a soothing and reparative active. It also blocks inflammation from UV rays and inhibits melanin (pigment) production, which is ideal for those who deal with hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
My favorite of all hyaluronic acid serums, The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid, ideal for aging and mature skin, contains 2% Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Acid to work in multiple layers of the skin. Matrixyl 3000 peptide targets wrinkles and skin roughness to improve skin tone and elasticity. This is the least sticky hyaluronic acid serum that I’ve tried.
Whether or not you choose to incorporate a hydrating serum into your skincare routine after The Ordinary peel, be sure to follow The Ordinary Peeling Solution with a gentle and soothing moisturizer. Even oily skin needs moisture, so it is important that you don’t skip this step regardless of your skin type.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA immediately hydrates the skin and supports a healthy skin barrier with ingredients like 11 amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, and hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate).
Amino acids are the building blocks of skin proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep your skin firm and elastic. They hydrate, provide moisture and help strengthen the skin barrier.
Other moisturizer options include CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, an oil-free night moisturizer enriched with niacinamide to calm the skin, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and CeraVe’s proprietary three essential ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier. Perfect for normal to oily skin, this non-comedogenic moisturizer is extremely lightweight and won’t clog pores or cause acne flare-ups.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer provides up to 48 hours of hydration with its lightweight cream texture. It contains a high concentration of La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water, rich in protective antioxidants and soothing ingredients. Niacinamide calms the skin, and Ceramide-3 supports a healthy skin barrier. This moisturizer is suitable for sensitive skin and provides immediate moisturizing comfort.
If your skin needs extra moisture, you can also consider incorporating face oil in addition to your moisturizer or use face oil instead of a moisturizer. The Ordinary recommends their 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and moisturizing fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid, which has anti-inflammatory benefits and supports the skin barrier.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is also recommended by The Ordinary for after the peel as a gentle, nourishing oil that deeply hydrates the skin. It protects against inflammation and oxidative stress from UV rays.
Rosehip oil is favorite of those with oily and acne-prone skin because it is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores, which can worsen blemishes, breakouts, and acne. It is also rich in linoleic acid, a fatty acid that has been shown to be present in lower amounts in acne patients.
Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen – SPF 30 or Higher
Alpha hydroxy acids make your skin more sensitive to UV damage, so always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 every day. The Ordinary does a great job at making affordable sunscreen available to us all and offers two mineral sunscreen formulas, one with SPF 15 and one with SPF 30.
The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants is an excellent choice for its high mineral-based (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) SPF 30 protection as well as a Bio-Active Antioxidant Network to scavenge and neutralize damaging free radicals, plus purified Tasmanian pepperberry to reduce irritation.
It also contains a Bio-Sugar Complex for short and long-term hydration, skin-identical lipids to prevent transepidermal water loss, and a Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative full of flavanones, anthocyanins, and minerals, that can soothe skin almost immediately.
For dry skin, consider Olay Regenerist Mineral Sunscreen Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30. This mineral sunscreen hydrates the skin while offering mineral sunscreen protection of SPF 30 in the form of 17.5% zinc oxide. It is enriched with skin barrier repairing niacinamide (vitamin B-3) and Olay’s skin firming Amino Peptide (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4) in a hydrating but non-greasy formula.
Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face SPF 50 BB Cream (shown above in Fair to Light Skin Tones) is excellent for combination and oily skin types, as it leaves an oil-free matte finish. It contains 4% titanium dioxide and 4% zinc oxide. It’s tinted to offset any white cast that often comes along with mineral sunscreen. The sunscreen also contains Kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae, botanicals that are rich in skin-protective antioxidants.
The Ordinary Peeling Solution Conflicts
Regardless of which products you use after The Ordinary Peeling Solution, it is important that you avoid using potent actives with the peel, like other exfoliating acids (i.e., glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid), pure or ethylated Vitamin C, retinoids including retinol, copper peptides, The Ordinary EUK134 0.1%, peptides, The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder and benzoyl peroxide.
Can You Use Niacinamide After The Ordinary Peeling Solution?
Since The Ordinary Peeling Solution has a pH of 3.50 – 3.70, and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% has a pH of 5.50 – 6.50, using them together may decrease the effectiveness of the products, so your best bet would be using niacinamide in the morning and the peel at night or using them on different days.
If you really want to use them in the same skincare routine, wait about 30 minutes after the peel to allow your skin’s pH level to normalize before applying the niacinamide serum.
NOTE: Per The Ordinary’s recommendation, you should not use The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder with the peel. Also, be sure that your niacinamide serum does not contain any other conflicting actives like the ones mentioned above.
How To Use The Ordinary Peeling Solution
Please see this post on How To Use The Ordinary Peeling Solution for more details on applying the peel. Please note that this peel is for advanced users of acid exfoliation, and those with sensitive skin should not use it. Be sure to patch test before using this product for the first time.
NOTE: Alpha hydroxy acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so when using the peel, sunscreen is a must and for seven days after! Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Alternatives to The Ordinary Peeling Solution
The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution is one of the most popular products from The Ordinary because it delivers results but can be too harsh for some skin types. Here are some alternatives if you have sensitive skin or cannot tolerate the peel.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA (or the 10% concentration depending on your skin tolerance) are AHA serums that are less irritating on the skin than The Ordinary Peeling Solution but still offer anti-aging benefits, as they will brighten dull skin, smooth fine lines, and wrinkles and improve the look of uneven skin tone. Lactic acid products are especially good for dry skin types, as it has moisturizing benefits.
Another option is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. It contains 7% glycolic acid to brighten, smooth, and refine your skin, all without being too irritating. If you have sensitive or dry skin, even the 7% concentration may be too strong for you, so be sure to patch test before using it for the first time.
Related Post: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Review
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA contains 10% mandelic acid and is enriched with a type of hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, that provides long-lasting moisture.
Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid derived from bitter almonds. It has a larger molecule size than glycolic acid or lactic acid, making it gentler on dry, sensitive skin while still providing the benefits of chemical exfoliation.
Mandelic acid also has benefits when it comes to treating acne. It has antibacterial properties that can help reduce oiliness and shine.
The Benefits of Using AHA or BHA Exfoliants
Both alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are chemical exfoliants that can brighten your skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, unclog your pores to decrease acne breakouts, and improve your skin’s texture.
Generally, AHAs are best for dry skin, and BHAs are best for oily skin, but this isn’t always the case, as everyone’s skin is unique.
AHAs work by loosening the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together on the surface of your skin to reveal brighter, smoother, more radiant skin underneath. They also increase cell turnover to fade discoloration, dark spots, and acne scars from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and improve the texture of your skin.
BHAs like salicylic acid work by lifting away dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and also penetrating deep into the pore lining to dissolve oil, dirt, and debris to unclog them. BHAs are a favorite of those with oily and acne-prone skin since they can help reduce pore congestion in addition to the signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
Final Thoughts on What To Use After The Ordinary Peeling Solution
If you have oily or acne-prone skin and don’t have sensitive skin, The Ordinary Peeling Solution is a potent resurfacing skin care product that will reveal brighter, smoother skin. After just one use, you will notice a more radiant complexion and improved skin texture.
Following with a soothing serum, replenishing moisturizer, and SPF during the day will help to protect and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier.
Either way, sunscreen is absolutely necessary when using AHAs or BHAs! It’s even more important if you use The Ordinary Peeling Solution because your skin will be extra photosensitive after using such a potent formula.
Thanks for reading!