How to Improve Acne: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Review

There are countless products in the beauty industry that claim to treat acne, pimples, blackheads and other skin-related issues. One of them is The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% solution which was recommended to me by A Makeup Junkie. I’ve been using it for about two months and I wanted to share my review!

How to combat acne, how to get rid of acne using the ordinary salicylic acid 2% solution

Product Description

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid is a chemical exfoliant which is intended to treat acne and blemishes and enhance skin clarity and texture.

It comes in a simple white package typical of The Ordinary’s products. The bottle itself is 30ml (there is also a 15 ml size), small and transparent with a dropper cap. The liquid is transparent and little amounts cover a large surface area. When rubbed in, it lathers and becomes white. If used sparingly once a day, the 30ml solution can last as long as 2 months.


How to apply The Ordinary Salicylic Acid

  • Wash face thoroughly with a cleanser and dry with a clean cloth
  • Wait 10 minutes to ensure that your face dries well. Do not touch any surfaces during that wait time
  • Drop 2 or 3 drops on fingers and pat gently on your face. Alternatively, drop directly on the spots. Do not rub. This is a strong acid.
  • Wait for it to sink in before applying other products.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Review

My skin has being suffering from intense acne problems for years. It seems that the instant I hit puberty, my skin became really bad and it worsened as I grew older. I was badly in need of something to clear my face and when The Ordinary’s salicylic acid was recommended to me, I was so happy to start using it!

I’ve being using the acid nearly every day for about two months and I have really seen a difference. The blackheads that plagued my face for so long are nearly gone and my face has a more even tone now. Also, the bumps and pimples have really reduced and my face is much smoother. I avoid touching my face as much as possible (dirt and all) but I love what I feel when I do touch it!

However, my face is still suffering badly from really tiny spots and they seem like they’re never leaving. My pores are also big and make my face appear rougher than it actually is when examined more closely. Since salicylic acid isn’t intended to reduce pore size, I’m okay with that but I wish it was working on the tiny spots.


chemical exfoliant for acne. products to treat acne. the ordinary salicylic acid 2% solution review


Points to Note About the Exfoliant

  • Try test patches first! I mentioned this in my post on top skincare tips for smooth skin and it’s very important. This is a 2% acid and it may be too strong for your skin. Test it on your arm first.
  • Don’t use too much. In the directions for use I listed above, I mentioned using 2-3 drops for the entire face. This is really important. Apply this acid sparingly
  • Don’t use more than twice a day and even better, don’t use more than once in a day.
  • Don’t use on peeling skin.
  • If you want to add this product to your routine, incorporate it gradually.

Pros of using The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

  • The acid is great for acne-prone skin to reduce blemishes and spots
  • It’s an amazing product for those with oily skin because it dries out the skin a bit.
  • Using it in your skincare routine before applying makeup will help your makeup (especially the foundation) stay on.



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Cons of Using the Acid

  • The acid dries out the skin which is great for oily skin but bad for dry skin. I won’t recommend it so much if you have dry or combination skin. It may lead to your skin flaking
  • It’s also not good for sensitive skin. Trust me on this. I’ve read quite a few horror stories involving burns and breakouts. Not good. At all.
  • According to the manufacturers, it can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Don’t forget your sunscreen when you use it!
  • You may experience some purging at first when pimples come to the surface and it looks like you’ve broken out. Wait 2 weeks and if the problem persists, discontinue use.

Do I Recommend?

Yes, I do but only if you don’t have sensitive skin. I’m not sure about the effects on dry skin but the effects on sensitive skin have proven to be very bad and very numerous. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% solution is a really great exfoliant to use if you have acne-prone or blemish-prone skin. It works really well to clear your skin and if you have oily skin, it’s the perfect product for you!


Related Post:


Have you used this product before? What do you think of it? What do you use to treat your acne (if you have)

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11 thoughts on “How to Improve Acne: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Review

  1. bookishowlette says:


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    Liked by 1 person

  2. f00dventures says:

    This was a great review! You literally answered just about any question I would have had about this product. I do wonder if it works on areas? My face has actually calmed down a lot with breakouts which I am thankful for but my shoulders break out like crazy. It makes me really self conscious and embarrassed to wear tanks in the summertime. I’m even nervous about wearing my wedding dress because it is sleeveless. May be worth trying in my shoulders just to see what it would do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taiwo says:

      Thank you so much Kirsten! I’m glad you like this post ❤ Yes, it works well for areas. Some people even advise to apply it only on affected areas. You need to know what type of skin you have and decide if it will work for you. Also, it takes some time to see results. Congrats on your engagement!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. f00dventures says:

        ok great, i will def consider looking into this then! and thank you! i’ve actually been engaged for almost 8 years, dating for 13. prob not getting married anytime soon which i’m actually grateful for because it gives me time to figure out how to get rid of these breakouts on my shoulders lol

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sophie Coombs says:

    I may have to pick this up and use it on my chin! I bought the lactic acid from The Ordinary last week and I’ve already noticed a difference in the general texture of my skin. Beauty Bay has a great A-Z guideline of what products do what from The Ordinary, so maybe you could find something there to help with your other issues!

    Love, Soph x


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