My Complete Before and After Guide on The Ordinary‘s Peeling Solution

If you‘re considering The Ordinary‘s Peeling Solution to improve your skin, you likely have a lot of questions. As someone who has now used this intensive chemical exfoliant for over 6 weeks, I‘ve compiled all my in-depth research into this complete guide.

Today we‘ll explore:

  • What it is
  • Key ingredients
  • How to use properly
  • Before and after photos from real people
  • My first-hand review documenting if it worked for my skin
  • Additional background info and studies
  • FAQs

Let‘s start by understanding exactly what this popular peel actually is.

What Is The Ordinary Peeling Solution?

The Ordinary Peeling Solution is a highly concentrated facial chemical exfoliant that contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Some of the key ingredients include:

  • Glycolic acid: Powerful AHA exfoliant
  • Lactic acid: Hydrating AHA
  • Salicylic acid: BHA that clears pores
  • Tartaric acid: AHA that brightens

These acids work together to intensely exfoliate dead skin cells, stimulate new cell turnover and reveal fresher skin. Used 1-2 times weekly, it claims to improve:

✔️ Texture
✔️ Tone
✔️ Breakouts
✔️ Fine lines/wrinkles
✔️ Dullness

However, with such a high concentration of acids, you must educate yourself on proper use and precautions before applying this peel to avoid irritation!

Next, let‘s analyze some before and after photos from real people who tried The Ordinary Peel.

Before and After Photo Analysis

Before purchasing The Ordinary Peeling Solution, I scoured hundreds of before and after photos online to set realistic expectations.

Below I‘ll share some of the most impressive transformations I found along with my expert analysis identifying exactly what skin improvements happened with use over time.

Example 1

Images from

BEFORE: This 41 year old female has noticeable fine lines on forehead/eyes, uneven tone and rough bumpy texture.
AFTER: After using 2x weekly for 6 weeks, fines lines appear slightly diminished. Skin tone looks more even, bright and poreless in texture.

Example 2

Images from

BEFORE: This user is struggling with acne scars all over cheeks, uneven skin tone and various pigmentation.
AFTER: Following 3 months consistent use, acne scars are far less noticeable. Skin looks very smooth, fresh and radiant.

Example 3

Images from Reddit user: Dezzilithy

BEFORE: This user has mild/moderate inflammatory acne concentrated on cheeks, resulting in redness and scarring. There are also some dark spots across nose/forehead.
AFTER: After 1 month using this peel solution 2x weekly, almost all inflammatory acne is cleared minus some remnants of pigmentation. Skin looks calmer, brighter and glowier.

After analyzing dozens of examples, the two most common improvements seem to be enhanced radiance/smoothness followed by fading acne scarring and pigmentation. Fine lines and tone also showed decent improvement.

Now that we‘ve explored some real before and afters, let‘s get into how to actually use this peel properly.

In-Depth Usage Guide: How To Use The Ordinary Peel

If you want to safely reap good results from The Ordinary Peeling Solution without wrecking your face, following precise usage instructions is critical.

Here is my complete step-by-step routine:

Prep Work

Before ever using The Ordinary peel, you must…

  • Patch test: Apply small amount on cheek or neck for 10 mins then rinse. Check for excessive redness/irritation in the following 48 hours before using on your face.
  • Avoid eye area, wounds: The high acid concentration makes those areas too sensitive. Carefully apply around eyes/mouth instead.
  • Start slowly: Begin by only leaving on for 3-5 mins your first 2 uses to see how your skin tolerates this intense formula. Slowly work up to 5-10 minutes over time as skin adjusts. Don‘t exceed 10!

My Exact Routine

  1. At night, thoroughly cleanse and dry my face
  2. Use the dropper/fingertips to apply a thin layer all over my face except the eye/mouth regions
  3. Leave on anywhere from 3-10 minutes depending on what my skin can handle
  4. Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water
  5. Pat dry then finish with soothing, hydrating skincare products afterwards

How Often Can You Use This Peel?

When introducing this powerful acid peel, start very slowly! I recommend building up as follows:

  • Week 1: Use ONCE
  • Week 2: Use 2 times spaced 3-4 days apart
  • Week 3 & Beyond: Use 1-2 times weekly if skin tolerates without irritation

Be sure to stop immediately if your skin feels painful, raw or inflamed and resume much less frequently once healed. Don‘t overdo it! Patience prevents damage.

Now that you know how to use The Ordinary solution properly, let’s explore what you should expect afterwards.

What To Expect After The Peel

Immediately after rinsing off The Ordinary peel solution, it’s normal for skin to appear slightly red and feel some tingling for about an hour afterwards.

With consistent use 1-2x weekly, you may notice enhanced radiance, smoothness and improved breakouts/scars after just a few gentle applications. More substantial transformation in tone, texture, fine lines and dullness often emerges after ~3 weeks.

However, results depend enormously on your own skin concerns. Those starting with moderate acne, deep scars or heavy pigmentation should manage expectations realistically. While this peel can still drastically improve texture, glow and mild breakouts, reducing severe issues may require more intensive procedures.

Either way, know that with any strong exfoliant patience and diligent weekly use yields the best rewards over time! Don’t attempt using too often and wreck your progress.

Now, let‘s go over some recommendations for post-peel skincare.

Post-Peel Skincare Tips

After using this intensive peel, The Ordinary advises babying your skin gently for 24-48 hours.

Follow these post-peel best practices:

  • Hydrate skin thoroughly: Layer hydrating essences, serums and moisturizers with glycerin, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
  • Protect with SPF: Shield skin from UV exposure which can worsen sensitivity.
  • Avoid other exfoliating acids: Hold off on vitamin C, retinoids, etc for next 1-2 days.
  • Support and reinforce skin barrier: Ingredient like ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids strengthen the barrier.

Let‘s now explore what kind of side effects may happen and how to troubleshoot them.

What About Side Effects?

Since The Ordinary Peeling Solution is such a strong acid cocktail, customers should expect some intensity both during use and potentially in the following couple days. But how do you know if what you’re experiencing is normal or concerning?

Here’s an overview of common side effects along with my best solutions:


Mild to moderate redness immediately and for ~48 hours after is standard. However, if your skin looks extremely red hot and inflamed or stays red beyond 2 days – this product may be too harsh for you. Solutions include:

  • Rinsing off early next use
  • Applying less frequently
  • Mixing a couple drops into moisturizer to dilute


Mild dryness, tightness and light peeling demonstrates the acids are effectively exfoliating dead skin away. However, severe dryness/cracking indicates it’s disrupted your moisture barrier. Troubleshoot by stopping use immediately and focusing only hydrating gentle skincare without any actives until healed.

Acne Breakouts

Purging – an initial increase in clogged pores/breakouts as gunk releases – is possible starting acid treatments. Yet if deep painful cystic acne surfaces or you breakout longer than 1 month, it’s likely a negative reaction instead. Immediately cease use and after clearing acne, consider much less frequent application (using once every 2-3 weeks) if you try it again.

Irritation Around Delicate Areas

Thinner skin around eyes and mouth often stings more intensely. Try applying your normal moisturizer to those areas first as a buffer before applying the peel solution to the rest of your face. Rinse sooner next use if this area still feels irritated.

Now that we‘ve covered proper usage, side effects and post-peel care, let‘s move onto my first-hand review documenting if this peel worked for me.

My The Ordinary Peel Solution Review: 6 Week Test Results

After diligently using The Ordinary Peeling Solution 2x a week for over 6 weeks, did it deliver results for my skin?

To test out this popular acid treatment, I documented my skin closely the entire time with the following review…

My Skin Type & Concerns

I have moderately oily, breakout-prone skin with some texture issues and sporadic hormonal acne around my chin/jawline. I also battle blackheads on my nose and some slight scarring/discoloration left behind from old breakouts.

My goals were reducing current/future breakouts, fading pigmentation and improving overall texture and radiance.

Week 1 First Impressions

After patch testing first, I used this peel for the first time. It tingled quite strongly which surprised me but didn’t feel unbearable. My face appeared a flushed pinkish color immediately after rinsing off which calmed down after about an hour.

Over the next 48 hours, I didn‘t notice any alarming side effects besides some light peeling around my nose and slightly dry cheeks on Day 2. No other redness, irritation or breakouts occurred which gave me the green light to continue incorporating this peel slowly.

Week 3 Updates

I‘ve worked my way up to using The Ordinary peel 2x a week for 5 minutes each time. My skin has adjusted well with no painful redness or dryness, just periodic light peeling.

About 2.5 weeks in, I suddenly noticed all my tiny forehead bumps disappeared which instantly improved texture. My cheeks also feel much smoother to touch. I haven‘t seen drastic differences otherwise yet in breakouts or scarring, though existing acne seems to be healing slightly quicker.

Week 6 Results

My final The Ordinary Peeling Solution before and after results after 6 weeks using this twice weekly are:

Improvements I Noticed:

  • Brighter, glowier complexion
  • Smoother skin texture on cheeks and forehead
  • Existing acne seems to be healing faster with less pigmentation leftover
  • Reduction in regular blackheads on nose

No Significant Changes:

  • Deep pigmentation/scarring still fairly prominent
  • Periodic hormonal breakouts along jawline still occurring regularly


While this peel solution didn’t end up being a complete acne or scar-fading miracle solution for me, I’m still very impressed with the glow and smoothing effects. I plan to incorporate it weekly as part of my regular skincare routine moving forward.

Next, let‘s explore some additional background info and research on the ingredients that make this peel so powerful.

The Science Behind This Treatment: AHAs vs BHAs Explained

But what exactly are AHAs vs BHAs and how do these ingredients actually work to transform skin?

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHAs are water-soluble acids derived from fruits and sugars. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are perhaps two of the most popular.

As active chemicals, AHAs help to dissolve or weaken the bonds between dead skin cells on the outermost surface. This allows the dead cells to more easily detach, allowing greater cell turnover.

Some benefits AHAs can provide include:

  • Removing dead skin cells & stimulating faster cell regeneration
  • Improving texture & reducing visible signs of sun damage
  • Reducing appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
  • Hydrating skin & enhancing moisture retention

Just take care not to over-exfoliate with AHAs as too much can actually worsen dehydration, irritation and photosensitivity! Start with lower concentrations and slowly build tolerance.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

Unlike AHAs, BHAs like salicylic acid can penetrate deeper through pore lining and inside. Therefore, they excel at:

  • Clearing out clogged pores & blackheads
  • Calming redness & inflammation associated with breakouts
  • Managing acne lesions by exfoliating within pores

Using both AHAs and BHAs together provides more comprehensive exfoliating benefits than either alone – which is exactly why The Ordinary peel packs both!

Now to wrap this up, let‘s answer some frequently asked questions.


How long does 1 bottle last?

One bottle lasts around 3-4 months with consistent use – a little goes a very long way!

Can I use this peel if I‘m on other acne medications?

If you‘re using topical prescription treatments, check with your dermatologist first about the safety/frequency recommendations.

How much does it cost?

This peel retails around $7 USD on The Ordinary‘s website, making it very affordable!

My Final Takeaway: An Effective Acid Option If Used Correctly

In conclusion – is The Ordinary Peeling Solution worth it?

I definitely recommend trying this peel if:

  • You’re struggling with textural irregularities, congestion, mild acne scars
  • Your chief concerns are achieving faster cell turnover, smoothing skin texture and improving radiance
  • You are willing to patch test first and gradually introduce this active 2x a week
  • You stay diligent with sun protection, gentle cleansing and hydration both during use and afterwards

Feel free to drop a comment with any lingering questions down below! I’m happy to help further.

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