This post will share how to use The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution safely without burning off your skin.
If there is one product that was grossly misused in 2020, it is The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution.
From Gen Z teenagers experimenting on TikTok to just about any skincare enthusiast over-exfoliating with it.
There seemed to be no end in sight.
But thanks to social media, dermatologists and estheticians, many people have become more responsible with the product.
But that doesn’t mean the product cannot be potentially dangerous to your skin if it is not used correctly.
While a lot of people believe that The Ordinary was quite reckless in making this product easily accessible, I believe that it is part of their philosophy to break all the gatekeeping that happens in the skincare industry.
This product might not give you the result you might get from a facial with a professional, but it is sure as hell close to one on a budget.
This means you must prep your skin as you would for professional treatment.
Now, before I go further into the safety measures and best practices, let me shed some light on the product in question.
First Impressions of The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution
For those unfamiliar with this product, it is a 10-minute Rinse-Off Exfoliating Facial for experienced users of chemical exfoliation.
No, it is not for teenagers or beginners that use facial scrubs. This is a more advanced level entirely.
It is formulated with 30% AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which exfoliates the top layer of your skin and gets rid of dead skin cells) and 2% BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid, which penetrates into your skin to unclog the pores that cause acne).
As you can see, it is a powerhouse product. It is everything you need to give your skin a good exfoliation without requiring supplementary acids.
The 30% AHA comprises Glycolic, Lactic, Tartaric and Citric, while the 2% comprises Salicylic Acid, which is the highest percentage allowed by cosmetic regulations.
These acids are supplemented with Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Leaf Water, Panthenol and Glycerin to combat any dryness and irritation.
While I definitely didn’t experience any dryness, my skin was easily irritated, so bear that in mind.
Recommended Professional Directions for Use
- Patch test prior to use.
- Wash and dry your face completely. Avoid the application of wet use.
- Apply evenly across the face and neck with fingertips. Avoid the eye area.
- Leave it on for no longer than 10 minutes. Less for first-timers.
- Do not leave for longer than 10 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Do not use more than twice a week.
- Avoid contact with the skin when not in use.
- If irritation occurs, stop usage and consult a physician if the need arises.
- Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.
As you can see, The Ordinary is explicit in their instructions.
The problem is people don’t read.
They just gloss over the product directions, assuming they know better.
I would know. I am sometimes guilty.
Now that you have understood the directions for use, how do we ensure we carry out the best practices every time we use this product?
How to Prep Your Skin for The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution (Best Practices)
You might be wondering why this section is necessary. It is because I have seen many people misuse this product and damage their skin in the process.
I’ve seen cases from mild irritations and damaged skin barrier to extreme burns and splotches.
I really don’t want any more people to go through that because it can be avoided. So, I’m sharing the top tips that work for me.
Access your current skincare routine and decide how often you want to use the product.
When you buy your first bottle, the first thing you need to do is to access the current skincare products in your routine.
Do you already use acids?
How often do you use them?
The Ordinary already says you shouldn’t use the Peeling Solution more than twice a week.
Does it make sense to combine this strong product with other acids in your routine?
Am I willing to risk damaging my skin barrier by over-exfoliating?
If you are not sure of the answers to these questions, here’s a tip that should help:
- If you already use other exfoliating acids like Glycolic, Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid in any form in your weekly routine, use The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution once a month.
- If you barely use the above acids in your routine regularly but are not a beginner, and your skin is used to chemical exfoliation, you can use the Peeling Solution once a week.
As you can see, this is a smart way to incorporate the product into your existing routine without causing damage.
If you’re feeling completely intimidated and overwhelmed by The Ordinary skincare I recommend taking Extraordinary Skin With The Ordinary. The Ordinary speed training created by my scientist friend Cheryl Woodman. Cheryl’s helped hundreds of ladies see real-life results, first hand. Click here to find out more about the course and see their reviews.
Pick the day you want to use the product to encourage consistency.
Personally, I use this product on the first weekend of every month.
it is the easiest way for me to remember and be consistent.
Depending on how you are using it, pick a day of the week or month and stick to it.
If your skin is sensitive, avoid all actives prior to the day you use the product.
The first couple of times I used this product, I realized how incredibly strong it is and how much it sensitized my skin.
I have dry dehydrated skin, which is hardly sensitive, but I still have irritations.
To solve this, the week I plan to use the product, I suspend all actives and focus on strengthening my skin’s barrier with hydrating and moisturizing products. (See my favourite products here).
It works like a charm. This meant that the day I finally used the Peeling Solution, I had zero irritations.
So, if you are in this same situation and your skin is sensitive and can’t handle too many actives, try to suspend all actives prior to your Peeling Day.
By actives, I mean serums and exfoliants.
Avoid actives after immediate application to give your skin time to heal.
I’ve seen different scenarios where people continue with their regular Nighttime Skincare routine after using this product.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to treat my skin with tender loving care and not attack it with actives immediately after a strong product like this.
While I definitely can not police the way you choose to use your skin products, this is coming from a place of love and care.
After using the Peeling Solution, the only thing you need to do afterwards is to moisturize. That’s all.
You literally do not need anything. If your skin feels tight or inflamed, you can use a calming product like a Mugwort or Snail Mucin Essence before your moisturizer to calm your skin.
That’s all. Here are a few calming and soothing products you can use:
Personally, I like to finish up with the I’m From Mugwort Mask, which instantly calms my skin down in the shower.
It’s like magic. Almost like I never used that strong product. It leaves zero traces.
Safety Measures to take when using The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution to avoid irritation.
These are some things that we overlook when using this product that sometimes cause irritation.
- After cleansing, make sure you dry your face completely. Any iota of water has the potential to irritate your skin.
- Use three drops for your entire face, focusing on your forehead, right and left cheek. Any more than that is too much.
- Use your fingers for application and avoid over-rubbing. Also, avoid letting the bottle’s dropper touch your face to prevent bacteria from contaminating it.
- For first-timers, start with five minutes and work up to ten minutes. Use your phone or a timer to watch the time. If your skin cannot handle it, wash it off completely. Don’t try to manage the situation. The longer it stings, the worse it can potentially get for your skin.
- If you don’t use the Peeling Solution regularly, take note of the date you opened the bottle, as it can last up to 12 months.
I’ve been using this product for over a year.
I have gone from weekly to monthly uses because I am trying other exfoliating products.
It has now become part of my routine. I’ve also been paying a lot of attention to how people use it, from TikTok to Facebook and Reddit, and the different reactions they have gotten from this product.
Which is what inspired this post in the first place.
The general consensus is that regardless of its controversy, it is still an amazing product that works when used consistently.
So, if you struggle with blemishes, hyperpigmentation or textural irregularities, it will definitely give you that glow you are looking for. I mean, Glycolic Acid is the first ingredient, after all.
Personally, I noticed that I don’t break out for a week straight after using this product.
It clears out all my acne, and the glow just hits differently.
This way, there isn’t any need to use an exfoliating product for a week afterwards.
This is why you don’t need to combine it with any exfoliant. It is powerful on its own.
I hope this post has helped you reassess how you use this product responsibly.
Is this product a staple in your routine? What’s your experience so far?