The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution Review | Removes Acne

Hello! The Ordinary Salicylic acid 2% solution is yet another gift from the brand that works amazingly on oily, acne-prone skin.

Whether you’re looking for a chemical exfoliator that helps you get rid of dead skin cells, blackheads and prevent acne or a spot-treatment for stubborn acne that come right before a special event, this has got you covered.

Read on to know why I absolutely recommend this to everyone with oily skin.

Price: USD 8.40 or £4.20 for 30ml. I bought it from cult beauty and it cost me around INR 350 after UK sales tax deduction.

What is Salicylic Acid?

It is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that exfoliates the skin. If you have oily skin that is prone to acne, blackheads and milia, BHA is the solution to those problems.

It exfoliates the top layer of skin and penetrates into it to loosen clogged follicles, hence preventing acne and blackheads. It also works on existing acne (I have proof with pictures, keep reading) due to its anti-inflammatory properties. For the face, Salicylic Acid is effective in a concentration between 0.05% and 2% and a pH between 3 and 5.

Now that we have our basics cleared, let’s move on to know how this particular Salicylic acid based product performs.

Note: If you have dry skin, salicylic acid might dry you out further. It’d be better if you include this active in your routine in a cleanser form. One of my favourites is the By Wishtrend Acid-duo Cleanser that has a combination of BHA & PHA.


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution Ingredients

*Alcohol-free, oil-free, silicone-free, nut-free, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free.

Product Description & Directions

Product Description and Directions
Product Description and Direction

The ordinary salicylic acid solution also has witch hazel which is anti-inflammatory and helps fight acne.


The salicylic acid solution comes in a thick and heavy glass bottle that has a matte finish. The bottle is transparent so you can check the quantity and it has a dropper to dispense the product.

All of this comes inside a white cardboard box that mentions all the details like ingredients, product description and directions to use. The ordinary is known for its minimalist and elegant packaging and this is how it looks like.

Many other products from the brand come in the exact packaging like their Niacinamide & Zinc solution that works excellent for oil-control and makes your skin glow like a diamond.

Texture & Smell

The solution has a slightly thick and viscous consistency and is off-white in colour. When you take excess quantity and massage it all over your face, this gives some white lather. Generally, I go for patting motion and take a small amount to avoid that foaming.

The salicylic acid solution is fragrance-free and it smells a little chemical-like but won’t make you want to throw up/ not overpowering. The smell goes away when you apply the product, it’s only detectable when you sniff the container. The pH is between 3.2-4.0.

Texture of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

How to use?

If you have acne, use this directly as a spot treatment and the acne will dry up in two days. And you can use it all over your face to gently exfoliate it and avoid/cure blackheads and breakouts.

For that, cleanse your face using a pH balanced cleanser then apply toner (optional) and take 2-3 drops of the ordinary salicylic acid solution in your palm and pat on to the skin.

It dries down quickly and gives a matte finish so don’t worry about oiliness. Follow up with your serum and moisturiser. Use this only at night and not more than 2-3 times a week.

Review of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution
Review of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

Does it work?

YES! It works for me and a lot of other people. But keep one thing in mind, when you start using acids, you might experience purging (acne breakout that can occur when you’re starting a new active skincare product).

Don’t freak out, your skin is starting to clean up. If you’re not used to acids, the initial uses might cause a little stinging which is completely harmless.

However, if the irritation lasts for more than 10-15 minutes, wash it off immediately. Now that I have rambled enough, you can check out the pictures below to see how well it works on pimples.

How i get rid of acne in two days
How I Get Rid of Acne in Two Days

The last pic was taken under flash, hence skin looks whitewashed.

1st Pic: Pimple attack is en route
2nd Pic: It’s starting to compress and dry out
3rd Pic: Almost dried out
4th Pic: After it dried out completely and shed whilst I was taking a power nap

Once the acne is gone, I switch to regular AHA exfoliation routine to lighten the scar followed up by a Niacinamide serum or Propolis based serum to calm & brighten the skin.

My favourite AHA toner is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid that literally works on blemishes and uneven skin tone. Mostly, I’m alternating between their AHA & BHA when I’m not testing other products.

Not only do I use salicylic acid as a spot treatment, but I also love to incorporate it in my routine as a regular chemical exfoliator to help me shed some dead skin & get a glow!

NOTE: Don’t combine the ordinary salicylic acid with AHA, retinol or vitamin C in one routine especially if you’re a starter.


If I have to suggest one ingredient to people with oily, acne-prone skin, it has to be Salicylic acid! And this one by The Ordinary is an amazingly affordable option that works on acne, clogged pores and blackheads.

It gives quick results and is very safe to use! I have sensitive skin and faced no problems the entire time I’ve used this and it’s been months.

Why You Should Buy The Ordinary Salicylic Acid?

  • Prevents & cures acne
  • Reduces blackheads
  • Exfoliates skin gently
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free
  • Affordable
  • Gives clearer & healthy skin
  • Removes dead skin cells

Why You Should Avoid the Ordinary Salicylic Acid?

  • Can be drying for dry skin types


Related Posts That You Might Like:

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension

Pixi Glow Tonic vs The Ordinary Glycolic Acid


  1. Amira says:

    If I’m using somebymi AHA BHA Miracle Toner as daily toner, do I skip this toner on the night I use the salicylic acid? Or I can just keep my normal routine and add the acid?

    1. Yeah, I’d skip the toner on nights I do salicylic acid 🙂

  2. Ohhh…not more than 2-3 times a week? I used it every night since I got it a month or 2 ago my skin actually got better. I guess depends on everyone’s skin?

    1. Hey! Ideally, such acids should not be used daily as there are chances of overexfoliation and skin barrier damage. But yes some skin types are quite resilient but better safe than sorry I guess 🙂

  3. Sowmya Sonairaja says:

    Salicylic acid dries out skin .what moisturizer do you apply after using actives.

    1. Yes, it does dry out the skin. I use a hydrating serum like the By Wishtrend propolis drops or The Ordinary Hyaluronic acid serum and any basic moisturizer over that. I have the propolis drops reviewed on my blog, here’s the link if you want to check that out.
      And if a leave-on salicylic acid treatment still doesn’t work for you because of its drying nature then use a salicylic acid face wash, Neutrogena has one so does By Wishtrend.

  4. Bhavna says:

    Keep up the good work ?

  5. Bhavna says:

    In ingredients, water can be seen clearly written and you have written it’s water free. How is this possible ?

    1. Hey! Thank you so much for pointing that out. I have changed it now 🙂

      1. Girija says:

        From The ordinary brand, what’s the difference between the salicylic acid serum and the AHA BHA peeling serum? Both are used for exfoliating?
        I have a very oily skin and gave frequent breakouts on my cheeks. What would be better to use?

        1. Hi! Yes, they’re both exfoliators. The Ordinary salicylic solution has only one active ingredient that is salicylic acid in 2% concentration but the peeling solution is very potent and might irritate the skin especially if you’re new to acids since it has a total of 32% acid (30%aha + 2% bha). So if you’re starting out, use the 2% solution. Hope this helps 🙂

      2. What moisturizer do you use after using actives.

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