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The Ordinary’s affordable line of clinical-forward skincare products has amassed quite the cult following since it launched a few years back, and thanks to platforms like TikTok and Reddit, its popularity continues to grow. While TO’s expansive range of skincare and beauty (they do offer a few cosmetics now) was founded with the intention to “to celebrate integrity in its most humble and true form,” if you’re not an expert in decoding fancy skincare jargon, it can tricky to figure out what exactly you need based on your specific skin concern(s). With the help of Reddit and some brand research however, we’ve rounded up a few of the best The Ordinary products for fading acne scars and dark spots left over from previous breakouts and sun damage.
While scouring through customer reviews and best-sellers on any e-tailers is always a good way to figure out which beauty products to spend your hard-earned cash on, we knows you don’t have time to scroll through endless threads and message boards, so we’ve gone ahead and done the work for you (you’re welcome!). And TBH, for me this very activity is actually fun (and a part of my job, of course). Besides, I’ve been using The Ordinary products since the brand first made its debut, and I most certainly have the holy grail favorites that I’ve repurchased multiple times— especially when it comes to erasing hyperpigmentation and pesky spots.
With that being said, I wasn’t all that surprised that many fellow Redditors and TO fans also named a few of my favorite products from line (including the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum and the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (an excellent dupe for the cult-favorite Triple Berry Smoothing peel by Renee Rouleau) as their hero products too. Oh, and while it’s always important to apply SPF on the daily, you want to be extra diligent about applying your sunscreen when using the products below.
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Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
This lightweight cream-gel hybrid feels nourishing like your favorite moisturizer, but according to Redditors, it does much more than just hydrate. “TO’s Azelaic Acid 10% is doing wonders for my skin, pretty much overnight! It’s a skin brightener that targets acne and acne scarring well,” says one fan of the gel-cream treatment.
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
This popular exfoliating toner kept popping up during my research process, and I totally understand why it’s such a go-to for nixing acne scars given the Glycolic Acid content. ” I use [the] Glycolic 7% toner daily, and alpha arbutin a couple times a week. The aha is pretty strong for me, so I use it maybe 2x a month. It’s a process but worth it,” says one Reddit user.
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
This is probably my absolute favorite product from the brand—and it appears that I’m not alone. One Redditor gushed “Really noticeable improvements after one use! It’s also less than $8 you’re not going to find anything for such a good price!” I totally agree, and good point about the jaw-dropping cheap price.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
As one of my favorite brightening serums of all time (regardless of the budget-friendly price point), I wasn’t surprised by this product’s popularity. One loyal fan commented that “The niacinamide [serum] has faded my scars significantly! By far my favorite TO product so far.” I also find that it is a great brightening solution for sensitive skin types who don’t tolerate vitamin C skincare.
Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
Arbutin works to reduce the look of dark spots and acne scarring because it helps to limit the production of excess melanin without causing further damage (and scarring, ironically enough) as popular anti-scarring ingredient, hydroquinone. “I have PIH around my mouth from cystic acne and using the niacinamide with the alpha arbutin has given me great results,” raves one acne-scar-sufferer.