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The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars (AHA + BHA)

If you are worried about scars, dark spots or uneven skin tone left behind from cystic acne, an at home chemical peel might be for you! The Ordinary make a very effective at home peel that smooths and clears the skin. This post is a guide on how to use The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars.

The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars

The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

What is a Home Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a solution that removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, revealing smoother, clearer skin underneath. The solution normally has a low pH and a mixture of different alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids.

Chemical peels have many benefits including:

  • brightening the skin
  • reducing wrinkles
  • reducing acne scarring
  • unclogging skin pores
  • reducing hyperpigmentation
  • increasing the absorption of your other skincare products
  • smoothing uneven skin

At home chemical peels and exfoliants are popular treatments for people suffering from acne. This is because they don’t only smooth the appearance of old scars, but also unblock the pores and prevent further acne lesions from forming.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a fantastic chemical peel which, when used correctly, is safe to be used at home. Since it has a high concentration of acids however, this product is only recommended for people who have experience with using acids at home. If this isn’t you, check out my other recommendations from The Ordinary for acne scars.

How Does The Ordinary Peeling Solution Work for Acne Scars?

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution contains a mixture of alpha and beta hydroxy acids which work to resurface the top layer of skin. The formula is extremely strong but effective. The ingredients include the following:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Alpha hydroxy acids are natural acids that are sourced from food. The Ordinary Peeling Solution contains:

  • Glycolic acid (found in sugar cane)
  • Lactic acid (found in tomato juice or milk)
  • Tartaric acid (found in grapes)
  • Citric acid (from fruits like lemon)

The primary AHA used in The Ordinary Peeling Solution is Glycolic Acid. Glycolic acid is often used in skincare products due to its effectiveness at reducing whiteheads, blackheads and acne pimples. It helps to reduce pore size and improve the texture and tone of the skin.

Glycolic acid is also very effective at reducing the appearance of acne scars. It exfoliates the skin and smooths over any rough or raised scar tissue. It also helps to lighten dark marks left behind by old acne lesions.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)

Whereas alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble, beta hydroxy acids are oil soluble. This means they are able to penetrate deeper into the skin and more effectively clear the pores of excess sebum or dead skin cells.

The most commonly used beta hydroxy acid, and the one that is found in The Ordinary Peeling Solution, is Salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is often found in acne treatments since it is able to penetrate deeper into the skin than other acids. It works well to clean out blocked pores and prevent blackheads and white heads from forming.

Salicylic acid also works to exfoliate the skin and smooth out any marks left from scars and hyperpigmentation. Good skincare products for acne scars usually have a combination of both alpha and beta hydroxy acids so the skin is exfoliated at different levels.

You can read more information in the following post: Glycolic Acid vs Salicylic Acid for Acne – Which is Better?

Soothing Ingredients

Since The Ordinary Peeling Solution contains a very high concentration of free acids, the formula also contains a number of sooting ingredients to prevent redness or irritation. These ingredients include aloe vera, a crosspolyer form of hyaluronic acid, black carrot, Vitamin B5, and Tasmanian Pepperberry.

Tasmanian Pepperberry is the fruit from the Tasmannia Lanceolata tree which is found in the rainforests of south eastern Australia. The berries have been used by Aboriginal people in Australia for thousands of years to soothe and calm skin discomfort.

Tasmanian Pepperberry contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients which reduce skin redness, inflammation and irritation. It is found in The Ordinary Peeling Solution to help reduce the irritation that is associated with the use of acids.

What Does The Ordinary Peeling Solution do for Acne Scars?

The chemical exfoliants in the solution remove the top layer of dead skin cells revealing brighter, clearer skin underneath. The salicylic acid in the formula also helps to clear pore congestion and provides deeper exfoliation. The result is visible blemishes are reduced, and the skin texture is improved.

As well as smoothing acne scars the solution also reduces the look of fine lines. It works well on different types of acne scars including rolling scars, ice pick scars and boxscar scars. These different types of scars leave different marks on the skin from deep holes or depressions to raised bumps.

The unique combination of acids in The Ordinary Peeling Solution is an effective treatment for all types of scars. It improves the appearance of skin texture, reduces sebum production, and leaves you with smooth skin.

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How to Use The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars

The Ordinary Peeling Solution is a mask that is designed to be used for up to 10 minutes before washing off. If you want to start using the product as part of your skincare routine, it should be used no more than twice a week. This is because the solution is extremely potent. If your skin is not used to acids it would be wise to start slowly and build up.

To use the solution take the following steps:

  1. Clean your face and dry your skin thoroughly
  2. Apply the solution to your skin
  3. Leave for a maximum of 10 minutes
  4. Rinse the product off with lukewarm water

Advice When Using Acids

The Ordinary Peeling Solution is not recommended for people with sensitive skin types. It should not be used on peeling skin and you should avoid the eye area. Also be aware that acids make the skin more sensitive to the sun. For this reason its important to also wear a good broad spectrum sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using The Ordinary Peeling Solution.

Since chemical exfoliants can cause dry skin, be sure to apply a good moisturiser after using this product. With regular use you may notice the dryness reduces as glycolic acid stimulates the production of collagen.

Summary of What to Avoid

  • Do not use more than twice a week
  • Do not apply to peeling skin
  • Avoid the eye area
  • Do not use on sensitive skin
  • Do not go out without sunscreen

FAQs on The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars

Is The Ordinary Peeling Solution supposed to burn?

The Ordinary Peeling Solution may cause mild tingling or stinging but should not burn. It’s a very strong solution, especially if your skin is not used to acids. If you experience any redness, burning, itching, blistering or irritation it is advised that you wash it off immediately.

Is The Ordinary Peeling Solution good for dry skin?

The primary acid in The Ordinary Peeling Solution is glycolic acid, which is known to dry the skin out in the short term. Since glycolic acid is know to stimulate collagen production, if you use the product regularly, the dryness won’t last long. In the meantime invest in a good moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated.

Why is The Ordinary Peeling Solution banned in Australia?

There are several countries where The Ordinary Peeling Solution is not available. They include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Korea. This is because these countries regard the product as pharmaceutical grade and allow it to be used in medical or dermatological clinics only.

Does The Ordinary Peeling Solution make your skin purge?

The acids in The Ordinary Peeling Solution can cause your skin to purge. It’s not recommended that you use The Ordinary Peeling Solution more than twice a week. You may wish to reduce the frequency to once a week or once a fortnight if you experience purging. Once your skin has adjusted to your new skincare routine the side effects from purging will reduce.

Can you see results after 1 peel?

After you first start using The Ordinary Peeling Solution you will notice an improvement in your skin texture almost straight away. It may take several months however for scars to fade completely and for skin to become clearer. If you have oily skin you will notice your skin becomes less oily over time, but this may take several months.

What Other The Ordinary Products Work for Acne Scars?

I have written another post which details the nine products from The Ordinary that I recommend for acne scars. You can view that post here: The Ordinary for Acne Scars: 9 Best Products and How to Use Them.

In this post I write about not only The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution but also:

  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension
  • The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide
  • Granactive retinoid
  • The Glycolic Toning Solution
  • The Ordinary alpha arbutin
  • The Ordinary lactic acid
  • The Ordinary Retinol and Squalane

The Ordinary Peeling Solution is only recommended for people who are experienced with acids, but if you have sensitive skin or aren’t comfortable using acids at home there are other options available. My post on The Ordinary for Acne Scars rounds up my top picks.

Related: Doing Chemical Peels at Home: Everything You Need to Know


Related: How to Build a Skincare Routine Using The Ordinary


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This post was All About The Ordinary Peeling Solution for Acne Scars

Thank you for reading my post about using The Ordinary Peeling Solution for acne scars. The product is an effective solution for smoothing pitted or raised scars for anyone who doesn’t have a sensitive skin type. For best results the solution should be used regularly to achieve clear skin and improve overall skin tone.