The 3 Best Products from The Ordinary for Acne

Let’s talk about the three best products from The Ordinary for acne. As we all know, acne is not only frustrating, but it can be very expensive to treat. Firstly, esthetics clinics are not accessible to everyone, and on top of that, sometimes you have to go through multiple products to find something that works. We know this can add up. So, let’s break down the best products from The Ordinary for acne. We’re also going to cover how they work. 

What product from The Ordinary helps with oil control? 


One of the key components of acne is having overactive sebaceous oil units or pilosebaceous units. However, you can definitely have acne-prone and dry skin. Many skin types have oily surfaces but deeper layers that are dry. But most commonly, people deal with oil getting in trapped in the skin. When this happens, it’s easy for acne bacteria to consume the oil and create waste products, thus, creating a pimple. 

Acne is caused by cutibacterium acnes. It lives inside of our pores, and in low amounts, it’s actually supposed to be there. But when there’s too much oil due to things like hormonal changes, the bacteria consume the oil even more, creating more waste products and inflammation. So, one of the best products from The Ordinary for combating oil and inflammation is the zinc and niacinamide serum.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 30ml -$10.80 

This is wonderful for redness and inflammation due to acne. A lot of people who struggle with acne have redness or dilated capillaries. More simply, they have tiny blood vessels close to the skin’s surface that tends to get red, flushed, or flare. But, the zinc and niacinamide serum is fantastic for calming that down. This serum is also wonderful for Cassandra’s T-zone, her most oily area. So, for those who have acne characterized by redness, this may help. 

And as tested in medical studies, oral zinc may be helpful for acne as well. Please don’t eat this serum though…

You can use this day or night, and you can use it after your cleanser, toner, and before your moisturizer. While using this product, one thing people have noticed is purging. This basically means the skin is getting used to something new, and it’s adjusting. So, it starts to break out a bit before it gets better. Purging should never last more than 2 or 3 weeks. Afterward, it should calm down. If you’ve been using this for 28 days, and your skin continues to purge, you’re not purging; you’re breaking out. 

Luckily though, most skin types can use this product. If you do have dry and acne-prone skin, only use it at night and or underneath a moisturizer. Furthermore, try not to mix it with a high-potency vitamin C since combining the two can be sensitizing. 

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion -$11.70

Retinoids or vitamin A's are a family of acne treatments, and there are different classes of them. The granactive retinoid is a gentler form, and it’s not a pure retinoid. So, it’s less irritating than many others. 

Because of its molecular size, it penetrates into the skin nicely. Once the retinoid serum enters the skin, it works by helping the skin to regulate its cell renewal factor. 

Basically, retinoids speed up the creation of cells in the bottom layer of your epidermis. Therefore, it also speeds up how quickly the skin cells at the top are pushed off or exfoliated. 

Given that one of the main issues with acne is clogged skin, this is wonderful for acne-prone skin. With breakouts, a lot of times skin cells at the top don’t get removed or sloughed off as normally as they should. This causes the bacteria and the oil to interact. As a result, a small, inflammatory area underneath the skin is created. And once your immune system kicks in and tries to protect you, this causes a breakout. 

Luckily, retinoids can be used to mitigate the effects of this immune response. Vitamin A is often used in acne prescriptions, and they can be very powerful. So, if you're looking for a much less intense option, this might be helpful. 

This product goes on like a milky serum, and you can use this during the day or night. But if you use it during the day, make sure you're wearing an SPF because retinoids can make your skin sensitive to light.

Which retinoid is best for treating acne?

There are two stronger types of vitamin A, retinoic acid and retinaldehyde. Retinoic acid is the purest form of vitamin A and retinaldehyde is the second purest form. These ingredients can change the way your skin functions by binding to certain receptors in your skin. Retinoic acid and retinaldehyde can give your skin new instructions on operating more efficiently (i.e increasing how quickly your skin exfoliates). Because The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid is also in the vitamin A family, we can deduce that the product would have similar effects. However, we can’t say for sure that the granactive retinoid will function this way because the product was not tested in a study like this. Still, for around $15, this retinoid is one of Cassandra’s favorites, and almost every skin type can use it. Just remember to use that SPF. And if you are a little more prone to dryness, consider mixing it in with a moisturizer. 

The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peel / Peeling Solution -$9.50

This is one of Cassandra’s favorites. It has alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acid. These different acids help to exfoliate the skin and reduce build-up. Although it’s a great product, some people can only leave this product on for 2-3 minutes as opposed to 10. Because the AHA molecules are so tiny, they’re able to penetrate very deeply into the skin and stimulate it to work better. This peel penetrates through the skin’s oil, gets down into the pilosebaceous unit, and helps the top layers of your skin exfoliate. 

What are the ingredients in The Ordinary’sAHA 30% BHA 2% Peel / Peeling Solution?

This has 2% salicylic acid, which is FDA-approved to treat acne. 2% is the highest you can get over the counter. Salicylic acid is oil soluble so it’s a great product for oily skin. There are also studies showing that salicylic acid can be anti-inflammatory when applied topically. 

This is very helpful because once again, immune cells are sent in response to the thriving cutibacterium. However, this is an inflammatory response, and inflammation is responsible for a lot of the pain associated with acne. Fortunately, there’s a chance that this peel could help.

How do you use The Ordinary’s AHA/BHA peel?

When using this, you only want to start by following the manufacturer’s directions. Only use it about once a week. Cassandra would recommend using it at night, and then, washing it off completely in the shower with cool water, an acid neutralizer, or with a product that has a higher pH. Here we explain how to apply this mask in the safest way.