The Ordinary is well known for its affordable and effective single-ingredient skincare products. Their ‘does what it says on the tin’ approach to skincare has won the brand millions of avid fans worldwide and helped to further educate beauty obsessives about the uses and benefits of key ingredients like salicylic acid and niacinamide. But admittedly, with over fifty products to chosoe from, it can be hard to know which are best to use for your skin type.
If you regularly experience breakouts, spots, and congestion, then these are the best The Ordinary products for acne-prone skin.
1. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Niacinamide has multiple benefits for acne-prone skin because it functions in a number of different ways. The ingredient works to both reduce the appearance of enlarged pores (it reduces sebum production which prevents debris from clogging up) and strengthen the skin barrier (which strengthens the skin barrier to prevent bacteria from getting in and causing breakouts).
2. The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + Beta Glucan
When your skin is breakout prone, sometimes the last thing you want to do is smother on a rich, creamy moisturiser. Instead, experts recommend opting for lighter gel-textured formulas, which still effectively hydrate skin, but without clogging pores. This light, soothing moisturiser absorbs fast, and provides moisture without leaving a greasy residue.
4. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
Salicylic acid is a BHA (also a chemical exfoliant) which acts a little differently to AHAs as it’s oil-soluble. This means it can penetrate deeper into skin and breakdown excess oil and sebum that’s clogging pores. Salicylic acid also works as an anti-inflammatory, so helps to reduce inflamed pimples. It’s especially beneficial for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules, so use this mask when you have a bad breakout to quickly treat active blemishes.
5. The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
Mandelic acid is an AHA (a chemical exfoliant) which gently exfoliates the upper layers of the skin to remove dead skin cells. In doing so, it can help to keep pores clear of buildup and to smooth rough skin texture. What’s more, when used consistently, it will also help to fade the appearance of any post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the red marks left behind after breakouts). Plus, unlike stronger AHAs like glycolic and lactic acids, mandelic acid is very gentle so is less likely to irritate acne-prone skin.
6. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Because salicylic acid is one of the most effective ingredients for targeting breakouts and congestion, it’s often found in targeted spot treatments as it can quickly reduce the size and appearance of a spot in just a few hours. Apply this clear gel to individual spots to instantly soothe and calm them – it will quickly help to take down the swelling and redness.
7. The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
Moisturising acne-prone skin might not be high on your agenda, but it’s an essential step to achieving clearer skin in the long-run. Hydrated skin is healthy skin, and healthy skin can function better when it comes to preventing and healing breakouts. Squalane is naturally found in the skin so it’s an oil you can trust to do its thing (soothing, moisturising, and strengthening skin) without clogging pores or causing irritation.
9. The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane
You might associate retinol with being an anti-aging ingredient, but it actually has amazing benefits for acne-prone skin, too. Retinol works from the inside-out, encouraging cell turnover in the lower layers of skin and reducing sebum production to stop breakouts from forming. Some retinols can be irritating and can cause dryness and increased skin sensitivity, but as this one is suspended in squalane and is a low percentage, you’re much less likely to experience these issues.
10. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Azelaic acid is another good all-rounder. It has anti-bacterial properties (which fend off bacteria from pores), it reduces the production of keratin (a protein which can block pores), it addresses inflammation, so breakouts are less sore and inflamed. On top of all that, it encourages skin cell turnover, which helps to prevent breakouts from leaving red marks.