How to Prepare Your Skin before Using The Ordinary’s AHA BHA Peel: 8 Steps

Before doing The Ordinary’s AHA BHA peeling solution, you’ll want to prepare. This is the highest strength of AHA BHA that you can get OTC, and if you’ve never used this before, this is how you start preparing the skin so you don’t have an adverse reaction.

Ordinary AHA BHA peeling solution - $8


#1) About six weeks before you plan to do the peel, start using a cleanser that has one of the peel’s actives in it. 

For example, you might want to look for a cleanser that has salicylic acid (BHA) and lactic acid (AHA). If you’re going to do a glycolic peel, you might want to look for a cleanser that has glycolic acid in it. Since it’s a cleanser, these ingredients will rinse off in the skin, but it still begins to acclimate your skin to the active ingredients in The Orindary’s AHA BHA peel. 

Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser- $10.99

Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser - $45

#2) This is also the time you’ll want to start using a tyrosinase inhibitor,

Especially if you’re prone to hyperpigmentation, discoloration, or dark spots upon irritation, you’ll want to use one. Hyperpigmentation is your skin's reaction to trauma like the sun, but it could also react to something like a chemical peel that’s too strong or sudden. Start using tyrosinase inhibitors early to stop the pathway of your skin creating too much pigment. This is called tyrosinase inhibition. Really good tyrosinase inhibitors are things like alpha arbutin and hydroquinone (by prescription), although Cassandra wouldn’t suggest hydroquinone before a chemical peel unless your derm recommends it. Vitamin C also works well. You can apply it every day. Using a tyrosinase inhibitor beforehand prevents your skin from producing too much pigment or lasting hyperpigmentation if the peel is a bit irritating for it at first. 

Inkey list Alpha Arbutin - $12.49



The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin - $10


Vitamin C options:

Jumiso Vitamin C - $11.89


Indeed Labs Vitamin C  $19.99


#3) Apply a good sunscreen.

You don’t want to sensitize your skin with sun damage before starting a peel like this. Protect your skin by using a good SPF. This will prevent irritation. 

#4) 2 or 4 weeks before you start the peel, you want to increase preparation by using a similar serum.

Instead of using a cleanser that includes similar ingredients to the peel at lower percentages, you want to use an AHA or BHA in a serum that does the same. For example, you can use a glycolic acid serum or a lactic acid serum. You can use The Ordinary’s Glycolic acid toner (AHA). You want to look for an active ingredient that will stay on the skin. This will increase potential tolerance. Here are a few choices.

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% Vitamin C - $11 

Inkey List EGF Vitamin C - $14.99


Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner - $10

#5) Stop physical and chemical exfoliants one week before you do the peel

So, you want to stop using that exfoliating cleanser and serum. You don’t want to exfoliate right before an exfoliating peel. However, you can keep up with any tyrosinase inhibitors, but make sure you’re not using a chemical exfoliant or anything with grains. 

#6) Make sure you’re not waxing or shaving

Waxing is actually removing that top layer of dead skin, and shaving can be a form of physical exfoliation too. You don’t want to do that before your chemical peel.

#7) 2 days beforehand, patch test.

Get a little bit of the peel, and put it on the inside of your arm or on the back of your ear. This is just to make sure your skin doesn’t have a reaction and that there is no swelling or hives. 

#8) Buy an acid neutralizer

For some people, the peel can sting a bit, and in that case, you can rinse the peel off. Acid neutralizers are water-based sprays used to stop the chemical action of the peeling.