Review: The Ordinary – Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Processed with VSCOMy Salicylic Acid 2% Solution from The Ordinary came at just the right time, coinciding with my getting some spots at just the wrong time. Picture the scene, if you will: it’s three days before a big family reunion, and my skin erupts with two cystic boils, lined perfectly symmetrically on each side of my chin. I used to get bad cystic acne in my teens, but since my hormones have chilled out I rarely get big, painful lumps – just endless blackheads and whiteheads, a few corkers when my period’s due, and outbreaks that are probably random, but I’m convinced they’re alcohol-induced. Naturally, then, waking up to these terrors on my chin sent me into emotional turmoil.

Thankfully, the salicylic acid stepped in and saved my face. After double-cleansing and popping an antihistamine, I smothered some of this onto the offending volcanoes on my chin. When I woke up, things were not fixed, by any means, but significantly better; I’m talking notably reduced size and redness of my spots. And it continued to work: I applied it religiously every night and every morning until the day came where the family arrived, by which point there was hardly any evidence of spots left, just some flakiness. After applying foundation and some of my new favourite heavy-duty concealer, NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer (I’ll review this with pictures soon, but in the interim just know that it’s amazing if you have acne, or an issue with dark circles – I have both so I can attest to its brilliance), you couldn’t even tell I’d had an outbreak.

This stuff is the bomb, particularly if you’re looking for an emergency fix for a bad outbreak. I’ve tried Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, Origins’ Super Spot Remover and Eve Lom’s Dynaspot (as well as various Boots and Body Shop-bought topical tea tree topical spot treatments), and absolutely nothing has been as effective as this one from The Ordinary. It’s the best product I’ve tried from the range thus far, in fact. I believe you can apply it all over the face, too, but I wouldn’t advise it because it does dry you out.

For £3.90 for this little beaut, you can’t go wrong.

I ordered all of the new acids from The Ordinary a couple of weeks ago – received the AHA + BHA peel two days ago, so the Glycolic toner is the only one I’m waiting on (Victoria Health, I love you, but you’re killing me here). I’ll review the other acids in due course, but I think I need to give my skin a break for a few days before I try the peel.

The best bits:

  • If you’re looking for visible, overnight results, this is for you. It actually works.
  • The price!

The worst bits

  •  There’s only 15ml in the bottle. You only need a tiny amount and, if you’re like me, you probably won’t be using this daily, but it is very runny, so I found I ended up wasting a bit with each application.
  • It can dry your skin out, but this is to be expected from a salicylic acid product. Unless you’re spreading it all over your face, you can probably live your life with a few dry patches (well, I’d rather this than huge spots)

Rating: 9/10

Would I repurchase? Yes





  1. Since starting uni recently i’ve really been struggling with spots, I think its because of my poor food/drink choices, so I’m definately going to try this because it totally fits with my student budget haha. Also, can I just say your writing is hilarious, I also understand the “emotional turmoil” of getting huge spots! xx


    1. Thanks for your comment, Emily. I definitely think there’s a link between diet and skin health; my skin was crap when I was living in student halls with no money and a frozen food-based diet, though I think alcohol might have been the main culprit. You should totally give this a go – perfect for a student budget, too xxxx


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