The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution Ingredients Explained

Last updated on July 18, 2023. Published on July 13, 2020.

Overview

What it is

Facial treatment with 25 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA and hyaluronic acid

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

The Ordinary is from Canada. This product is used in 1271 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. This product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

AHA (4)
BHA
Hyaluronic Acid

Benefits

Hydrating
Good For Oily Skin (2)
Reduces Irritation
Skin Texture (4)
Reduces Large Pores (5)
Anti-Aging (2)
Dark Spots (2)
Scar Healing (5)
Acne Fighting
Brightening (6)

Concerns

Drying
Irritating (5)
Rosacea (5)
Eczema (2)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
3
Masking
4
Buffering
5
Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Fragrance Icon
6
Solvent
7
Emulsifying
8
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
9
Buffering
10
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
11
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
12
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
13
Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Helps reduce irritation Icon
14
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
15
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
16
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
17
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
18
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
19
Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
20
21
Preservative
Preservative Icon
22
Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
23
Skin Conditioning
24
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
25
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 25 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Liked

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with research to back up its benefits. Its main role is to peel the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Glycolic Acid has shown to boost collage production, a protein that helps skin stay firm. Overall, Glycolic Acid helps with improving uneven tone, rough patches of skin, fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. It also increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When applying Glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging. The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
2
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
3
What it does: Masking
Community Rating: Loved

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water is an aqueous solution of the steam distillate obtained from the leaves of the aloe, Aloe barbadensis, Liliaceae.

Aloe contains the antioxidants Vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins neutralize free radicals.

It also contains sugars in the form of monosaccharides and polysaccharides, folic acid, choline, many common minerals such as calcium, 12 anthraquinones, fatty acids, amino acids, and Vitamin B12.

Aloe is known to be anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and healing.

Aloe should not replace your sunscreen, as it does not offer UV protection.

Learn more about Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water
4
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
5
What it does: Perfuming, Skin Conditioning

Daucus Carota Sativa Extract is created from parts of the carrot plant. The orange and edible carrot itself is the root.

Carrots contain beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant.

It should be noted coming into contact with the leaves of wild carrots can cause skin irritation. The sap causes phytophotodermatitis, or sensitivity when the sap comes in contact with sunlight.

Learn more about Daucus Carota Sativa Extract
6
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
7
What it does: Emulsifying

Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine comes from the fatty acids of coconut oil. It is an emulsifier, meaning it helps stabilize and mix ingredients.

This ingredient can be irritating in higher amounts and is related to Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

8
What it does: Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
9
What it does: Buffering

We don't have a description for Potassium Citrate.

10
What it does: Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose β€” a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
11
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Mixed

Tartaric Acid is an AHA. It can help to improve skin texture, reduce large pores, heal scars, and brighten skin. It can cause irritation and worsen rosacea.

12
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Mixed

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
13
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Panthenol (also referred to as pro-vitamin B5) is a common ingredient that helps hydrate and soothe the skin.

lt is a humectant, meaning that it helps the skin attract and retain moisture.

Another benefit is the anti-inflammatory abilities. This means that it's great for sensitive, irritation-prone skin.

Once oxidized, panthenol converts to pantothenic acid. Panthothenic acid is found in all living cells.

Learn more about Panthenol
14
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer is a type of hyaluronic acid. In fact, it is modified version of hyaluronic acid.

The structure of Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer allows it to stay in the skin's top layer for a longer period of time. This allows for even more hydration and humectant action than hyaluronic acid.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer
15
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract is an antioxidant.

16
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
17
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

The hydrophilic trait of Pentylene Glycol makes it a humectant. As a humectant, Pentylene Glycol helps draw moisture from the air to your skin. This can help keep your skin hydrated.

This property also makes Pentylene Glycol a great texture enhancer. It can help thicken or emulsify a product. Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating.

Pentylene Glycol also acts as a mild preservative and helps to keep a product microbe-free.

Some people may experience mild eye and skin irritation from Pentylene Glycol. We always recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient in your routine.

Pentylene Glycol has a low molecular weight and is part of the 1,2-glycol family.

Learn more about Pentylene Glycol
18
What it does: Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum
19
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

As a surfactant, it helps collect dirt and oils for washing. Emulsifiers prevent oils and water from separating.

Polysorbate 20 also adds scent to a product. Since it is made using sorbitol, it has a sweet scent. Sorbitol can also be found in fruits such as apples and peaches.

The lauric acid used to create Polysorbate 20 is often derived from coconuts.

Polysorbate 20 may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 20
20
What it does:
Community Rating: Liked

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it helps prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This prevents unwanted reactions in products. Metal ions can come into a product via the water ingredient. They are found in trace amounts and are not known to be harmful.

21
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

Potassium sorbate is potassium salt derived from sorbic acid. Sorbic acid is a natural antibiotic and effective against fungus.

Potassium sorbate and sorbic acid can be found in baked goods, cheeses, dried meats, dried fruit, ice cream, pickles, wine, yogurt, and more.

Potassium sorbate is often used with stronger preservatives.

Learn more about Potassium Sorbate
22
What it does: Masking, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Both the US FDA and EU Health Committee have approved the use of sodium benzoate. In the US, levels of 0.1% (of the total product) are allowed.

Sodium benzoate works as a preservative by inhibiting the growth of bacteria inside of cells. It prevents the cell from fermenting a type of sugar using an enzyme called phosphofructokinase.

Sodium Benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. Foods containing sodium benzoate include soda, salad dressings, condiments, fruit juices, wines, and snack foods.

Studies for using ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate in cosmetics are lacking, especially in skincare routines with multiple steps.

We always recommend speaking with a professional, such as a dermatologist, if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Benzoate
23
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

24
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

In products that are water-based, this ingredient can help stabilize perfumes and fragrances. It can also help make the texture of products softer and more smooth.

25
What it does: Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

It is a common ingredient in many products, especially those designed to hydrate skin. The primary benefits are retaining moisture, skin softening, and promoting a healthy skin barrier.

Though Caprylyl Glycol is an alcohol derived from fatty acids, it is not the kind that can dry out skin.

This ingredient is also used as a preservative to extend the life of products. It has slight antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 25 ingredients in this product ✨

44% are loved or liked
24% have mixed ratings
16% are disliked or very disliked
16% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution ->
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

Read more about us

Top Reviews

View all 21
thats_viv's Avatar'
Sep 4, 2021

Definitely works
I use thiss product on my nose for a while now and I can definitely see major changes in the texture on my nose.

The pores are much smaller and less blackheads occur. Value for money is definitely good.

Definitely works
I use thiss product on my nose for a while now and I can definitely see major changes in the texture on my nose.

The pores are much smaller and less blackheads occur. Value for money is definitely good.

Y's Avatar'
Jun 3, 2021

Good but irritating
I only use this on my nose and as a spot treatment. Anytime I use this on my chin I get bad dry patches, but it's the only product that keeps my nose smooth. Follow the directions!

Good but irritating
I only use this on my nose and as a spot treatment. Anytime I use this on my chin I get bad dry patches, but it's the only product that keeps my nose smooth. Follow the directions!

Latest Reviews

View all 21
AB2031's Avatar'
Oct 14, 2023

Get's rid of any dead skin and minimize pores

Get's rid of any dead skin and minimize pores

Aishaxy's Avatar'
Oct 7, 2023

OK chemical peeling
test before you use, aply on DRY skin, thin layer and set timer for 5 min. I dont have irritations, but I do shorter time and get it off as soon as I start to feel reaction. I used to do once a week, but that is too...

OK chemical peeling
test before you use, aply on DRY skin, thin layer and set timer for 5 min. I dont have irritations, but I do shorter time and get it off as soon as I start to feel reaction. I used to do once a week, but that is too much. I didnt have any harsh reaction.

Read more reviews ->

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