The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution: Before and After

Today, we bring you our first edition of “does this product actually deliver results” with before and after comparison photos of The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution after using it for two weeks!

The Product

You might have noticed a new trend cropping up on your skincare media feed. Minimalist packaging paired with potent ingredients and low prices has made The Ordinary a recent cult favorite in the skincare world. Meet The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, a blood red peeling mask garnering rave reviews.

The solution comes in a small 30 mL glass vial with a built in dropper, the typical packaging for most of The Ordinary’s popular serums and solutions. Reading the back of the packaging, I noted the warning to those with sensitive skin due to the high concentration of acids in the product. As someone with lightly sensitive skin and not particularly well versed in acid exfoliation, I was a little unnerved by this warning but took it with a grain of salt as I decided to proceed.

What does The Ordinary Peeling Solution do?

At its core, The Ordinary Peeling Solution is an exfoliant that helps remove dead skin cells in your skin for smoother, clearer skin.

There are two types of exfoliants–if you used a St. Ives Apricot Scrub in your yesteryears, that is a physical exfoliant. These products contain physical abrasives (like beads or chunks of ingredients) that exfoliate your skin.

Generally, we recommend chemical exfoliants like this Peeling Solution because they are more gentle than physical abrasives that can irritate your skin (and the environment!).

Application One

The recommended use of this product is no more than twice per week. I decided to start my review process on a Tuesday night. After doing a patch test on the inside of my arm, I moved forward with the facial application. After cleansing, I patted dry and waited until my skin was completely water free (the directions are explicit that the solution should not be applied on wet areas.) Take a look at my skin that Tuesday night before using the mask.

picture of face before using the ordinary peeling solution

During the mask application process, I noticed a light tingling sensation that lasted for the first minute or two. It was not all together uncomfortable. PSA: the ordinary peeling solution does not burn! I’d acquaint it with that “oh it’s working” feeling you get when you apply salicylic acid to a pimple. I followed the recommendations and kept this solution on for 10 minutes. Note: please beware that you will look like Kim Kardashian doing her blood facial when using this product.

I removed the solution by rinsing with cold water. After removal, I noted a bright and light feeling on my skin, like I had banished the dead dull skin on my cheeks. I was so surprised at my skin looking more radiant. Application number one was a success!

picture of face after first application of peeling solution

On Wednesday I let my skin rest.

Application Two

I did my second peeling solution application on Thursday night. I followed the same process I did on Tuesday, but this time, I left the mask on five minutes longer by accident as I waited for my tea to boil. (Oops!) After removal, I was really impressed with the results. My skin felt lighter and looked visibly less textured. 

picture of face after second application of peeling solution

Application Three

This process stayed the same into the second week of the solution. I let my skin rest on Friday and applied Saturday night before bed. I replicated the application on my face as before, this time being more diligent about keeping on the mask for only 10 minutes. Upon wash off, I noticed that the dry pimple on the left side of the bridge of my nose was practically gone. Note that the nights I didn’t use the mask, I switched off between vitamin c serum and clindamycin phosphate formulas, which also boost skin clearing.

I noted that the results after the Saturday application weren’t as intense as the previous. My skin still felt the refreshing qualities of the acid peels.

picture of face after third application of peeling solution

I let my skin rest from the peel Monday and Tuesday.

Application Four

Nothing new here! With less acne from previous application, the final solution process left my skin feeling happy but without very visible change.

picture of face after fourth application of product


 For me, this solution was a win! It did not irritate or burn my skin and delivered visible results, reducing my acne scars, evening out my skin tone, and even nipping some emerging pimples in the bud. It will definitely be making its way into my permanent lineup of favorite products. At $7.20, this is a steal for a powerful product that delivers real results.

picture of face comparing before and after

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does The Ordinary peeling solution burn?

The high concentration of AHAs in the formula can potentially cause a chemical reaction to peel away a layer of skin, resulting in redness, irritation, and broken capillaries. While a slight tingling or discomfort is normal, the peeling solution absolutely should not feel like it’s burning your skin. Make sure that your skin is not in a sensitive state before you use the product, and leave it on no more than 10 minutes. If you experience an intense sensation, rinse off immediately.

What should I do if I experience a chemical burn from The Ordinary’s peeling solution?

Stay calm! For the next few days, eliminate all actives and products except for cleanser and a nourishing, rich moisturizer meant to hydrate. In addition, you can apply pure Aloe Vera gel to the affected area, which will help alleviate and soothe your skin.

How many times a week or often should I use the Ordinary peeling solution?

When you are first starting out, you should use it no more than 1-2x a week to make sure your skin builds tolerance and reduce irritation. If you find that your skin is not reacting poorly, you can work up to 3-4 times per week. Just make sure you start slow and listen to your skin!

What should I use before The Ordinary peeling solution?

Nothing! Make sure your face is clean, though. Ensure your face is properly cleansed and completely dry before applying the peeling solution.

What should I use after The Ordinary peeling Solution?

A serum and moisturizer. Make sure to hydrate your skin after using The Ordinary Peeling Solution. To reduce chances of irritation, apply a hydrating serum with Hyaluronic acid, like The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hydrating Lotion. The Ordinary Buffet serum is a great option, too, if you have drier or aging skin–check out our before & after review here.

In addition, apply a moisturizer that will replenish your skin and protect against moisture loss. We recommend CeraVe Pm Facial Moisturizing Lotion, ILLIYOON Amore Pacific Ceramide Ato Concentrate, or The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Ha.

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show
    up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to
    say excellent blog!

  2. Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your site is extremely
    helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  3. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this
    helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hi I use it after 2nd day I use market aloe vera gel to moisturize my skin.but I m surprised my skin turn into red its burn and I just wash my face with ice water .is aleovera safe after use ordinary aha bha ??

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