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Also known as a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) salicylic acid is a great ingredient to add to your regime if you’re looking for some extra exfoliation. If you haven’t tried SA before and have sensitive skin, you may want to seek out a good lactic acid as a starting point. Lactic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and as it works on the outer layer of skin rather than penetrating as deep as a BHA, it tends to be a littler gentler.

The Ordinary was my own starting point when it came to salicylic acid. After endless complaints about stubborn blackheads, a friend recommended this serum to me after getting good results. Say no more and take. My. Money.

BHA’s are oil-soluble, which means they have the magical ability to get deep into oily, congested pores and aid the natural process of shedding of dead skin. Its deep infiltration makes it a hallmark for grappling blackheads and breakouts, and it’s worth nothing it can be used on other parts of the body which may be suffering from congested skin (i.e keratosis pilaris).

The Ordinary advise to use once daily, either in the morning or evening. After cleansing/toning but before moisturisers or oils, apply a small dot to the target area or apply a small amount over the face.

The Ordinary SA serum: Products


  • I found this serum mild enough to use daily and experienced no discomfort or irritation despite it being one of my first times using an acid.

  • Expecting nothing less from The Ordinary, this product comes at a great price. It’s also labelled suitable for all skin types, so it’s ideal for someone trialling salicylic acid for the first time to see if it’s the right fit for their skin.

The Ordinary SA serum: Text


  • I couldn’t get onboard with the consistency of the serum, and after trawling through online reviews it looked like I wasn’t the only one who echoed this thought. The product felt a bit glue-y and left my skin tacky, I would have to wait a lot longer before applying moisturiser than I would with other serums which just isn’t convenient if you’re time-sensitive (or like me, just always running late...).

  • I was truly disappointed with the results; I can’t say I noticed a difference after using it consistently and it quickly dropped off my radar.

The Ordinary SA serum: Text


Did I like it? No.

Price? £5.10 for 30ml

Would I repurchase? No. I’m either results driven or need to enjoy the experience of my skincare – this one hit neither of those marks.

Average online review ratings out of 5: 4.5 The Ordinary, 4.3 Google, 4.6 Just My Look

The Ordinary SA serum: Text
The Ordinary SA serum: Text
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