The Salicylic Acid 2%, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (hyaluronic acid) are packaged in frosted, white bottles with a dropper dispenser. The active ingredients don’t need protection from the sunlight which is why they’re not in the dark brown bottles – UV protective packaging – that hold the retinoid, rosehip seed oil and other formulations made by The Ordinary, one of 12 companies under the umbrella of Deciem, The Abnormal Beauty Company. All three serums are clear and have virtually no scent.
Salicylic acid has always been an effective, blemish fighting ingredient that works for me most of the time. Facial moisturizers that contain niacinamide have always caused me severe skin irritation in the form of cystic acne breakouts. My skin does not like oil-controlling face products like those that contain niacinamide. I’ve discovered in recent years that my oily skin actually prefers that I bathe it in plant oils. These pure, cold-pressed plant oils have been my near total acne cure.
The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% serum has been working well to calm down the inflammation I’ve experienced from using their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum just a couple of times. The Salicylic Acid 2% dries down quickly and works great as a spot treatment or all over face serum.
Update: This Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% formulation from The Ordinary has worked well drying out stubborn pimples that the Salicylic Acid 2% won’t budge. While I cannot use this product all over my face, it is a great spot treatment for quickly drying out acne bumps including the one that I believe this product caused during my first days of using it by drying out my skin.
- Salicylic Acid 2% targets blemishes (acne, breakouts) and lackluster skin tone.
- Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is meant to control sebum (oil) production and make pores appear smaller.
I’ve started applying the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA as a spot treatment at night to dark spots. It’s thin, watery and applies smoothly over the salicylic acid and my other serums. I have not experienced skin irritation or breakouts from using the Alpha Arbutin. Long term use of this brightening serum will give me an idea of how well it works lightening a handful of dark spots and areas of hyperpigmentation on my face. I always make sure to wear a sunscreen during the day.
- Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA specifically targets hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
So, to recap, out of this trio, I’m very happy with the Salicylic Acid 2% and I’ll continue to use the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA on my dark spots. I will not continue to use the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% as an all-over, daily face serum. Instead, I’ll use it as an acne spot treatment when I need to in place of the Salicylic Acid 2%.
- Glycolic 7% Toning Solution – glycolic acid is an exfoliator. It smooths out skin texture and targets lackluster tone giving a more clear, radiant look to the skin.
Glycolic acid often dehydrates my skin but this one by The Ordinary contains soothing agents like rose water and Tasmanian Pepperberry, which soothes, purifies and protects sensitive skin. As I’ve already said, I only use this toner a few times a week. So far, it has not irritated my skin. I make sure to wear a SPF during the day.