4 Alternatives For The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link!*

This post will be sharing four alternative products you can use while The Ordinary Salicylic Acid is being reformulated.

I can’t be the only one that is deeply affected by the absence of The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid. It’s been quite a while since the product has been withdrawn from the market. According to Deciem, they are currently in the process of updating the formulation of the product. While I never used it, I think there was an issue with the formulation which explains why it was taken down.

After waiting for a while, it looked like the product was never going to be available so I had to look for alternatives. Otherwise, my face will be left with a mess of acne and blackheads. Trust me, you want to avoid creating more hyper-pigmentation. I know how long it took for me to get rid of the last batch. (Read my experience with The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin.)

4 Alternatives For The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

But what’s so special Salicylic Acid you might be wondering?

Unlike its counterpart AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) exfoliants which have a lot of siblings like Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, and Mandelic Acid, Salicylic Acid (BHA: Beta Hydroxy Acid) is an only child. While there are alternatives to Salicylic Acid, there’s really nothing quite like it. This is why a lot of brands are jumping on the trend to formulate as many products with AHA & BHA as possible.

For those who are clueless about chemical exfoliation lingo; AHAs exfoliate the top layer of your skin. If you’re dealing with textural irregularities, hyperpigmentation or general signs of ageing, you want to choose between Glycolic, Lactic or Mandelic Acid. As a beginner, Mandelic Acid is the most gentle even for sensitive skin.

As you have guessed, BHAs exfoliate the inner layer of your skin which houses all your clogged pores that cause acne. Salicylic Acid, Zinc or Benzoyl Peroxide helped to unclog those pores drastically and control breakouts. So, if you have oily skin, BHA is your friend.

Even for me with dry dehydrated skin, I still breakout which is why I always have a BHA in my stash. You never know when you would wake up to a huge pimple.

Skincare Routine Planner

Here are the alternative products I’ve been using in the absence of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Power Liquid Exfoliant

While The Ordinary Salicylic Acid has been out of stock, Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant has been taking all the well-deserved glory! This product is AMAZING people! The first time I wanted to try it, the price point put me off. So, I bought a sample size and I’ve been using it as a spot treatment since then. Anytime I breakout, during my PM Routine, I use my finger to apply a bit of the product directly on the breakout. When I wake up the next day, the pimple literally disappears. If it’s a huge one, you can actually feel the reduction in size. So, I repeat the same process for a couple of days until it completely disappears. It’s been working for me and I absolutely love it. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you should definitely grab a bottle. It will TRANSFORM your skin!


Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid

After I got my Paula’s Choice exfoliant, I went searching for a cheaper BHA because I reserved it for spot treatment alone. I stumbled on Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid which is my first Korean Skincare exfoliant. Naturally, I decided to give it a try given my history with the brand. The product is formulated with 4% Betain Salicylate which is a low strength variant of Salicylic Acid. Imagine coming from using a strong BHA like Paula’s Choice and settling for a gentler product. Of course, the results wouldn’t be the same. While Paula’s Choice cleared my breakouts overnight, Cosrx takes a few days. Notwithstanding,’ it’s a great product for beginners or anyone with sensitive skin. Plus it is safe to use daily or every other day.


4 Alternatives For The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2%

I had to include my new favourite product on this list because it’s just amazing. I recently finally tried The Ordinary Peeling Solution and I’m loving it. Even though it’s not strictly a BHA, it contains the same percentage of Salicylic Acid as the main product. Which means, it is as effective as well. I use this weekly as part of my Self Care Sunday routine and I love the instant glow I get from it. As I mentioned earlier, I do not have an oily or acne-prone screen but I suffer from occasional breakouts. Anytime I feel like my skin is acting up, I reach out for this and calms it down. It works like a charm. I’d like to add that this product is absolutely NOT for beginners. If you’re new to BHAs and you want to stick to The Ordinary, use the Salicylic Acid Masque which I’ll be explaining shortly.


As you can see, I use all three BHAs every other day, weekly or as a spot treatment and they all complement each other. If I’m breaking out, my PM routine for the week will focus on a BHA. If I’m not, I use an AHA like Glycolic Acid.


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Masque

This product is not included in my routine yet because I haven’t started using it. But I will soon and put up my review. But from what I have gathered, it’s a great beginner-friendly masque that targets clogged pores and absorbs dead skin cells. So, if you are new to chemical exfoliation and you have oily and/or acne-prone skin, this masque should absolutely be in your weekly routine.


In conclusion, I love my BHAs and I cannot do without them. They have been able to keep my breakouts at bay and I couldn’t be happier.

If you want even more suggestions, check out 5 Products To Replace The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution.

What BHAs do you use in your skincare routine?

If you enjoyed this post, please share by pinning this image below.

4 Alternatives For The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.