Let’s talk about the Ordinary! This is a pretty hot brand ? in the beauty & skincare world, and with good reason. It is a child brand of Deciem, or the Abnormal Beauty Company, a self-proclaimed “humble and happy umbrella of good beauty brands.” And I agree. There are many good things to say, but I feel like these two statements from The Ordinary’s website sum it up better than I can.
“..The Ordinary is clinical formulations with integrity..”
“..It exists to communicate with integrity and bring to market effective, more familiar technologies at more honorable prices. “https://theordinary.deciem.com/
Basically, the Ordinary sells the greatest & latest in skin technology at affordable prices, but there is a caveat: the formulas are super-duper simple. For example, their Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a great part of a moisturizing routine, but it isn’t the whole picture. You need to layer it with another moisturizer to get the most benefit. Alternatively, you could just buy a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid and b5 already, but it’ll cost you.
However, this whole parred down formula thing the Ordinary is so good at? It’s actually GREAT NEWS for those of us with fungal acne (malassezia folliculitis), because so many ingredients in skin care products don’t work for our skin, and therefore the ability to cherry pick ingredients is a BIG PLUS.
By the way, no idea what I’m talking about when I say fungal acne (malassezia folliculitis)? It’s the nasty yeast that was destroying my skin and breaking me out for 17 years, but no dermatologist ever mentioned it to me in all that time! Insane. Luckily, I’ve got you covered.
I had the pleasure of shopping at a Deciem (parent company) store in NYC a couple of years ago, and some of the products I bought from the Ordinary are still ones I use today!
So without further ado, here are my favorite products from The Ordinary that also happen to be fungal acne safe (ok, ok, there is one product with a caveat, but we’ll get there)!
The Ordinary Products that are Safe for Fungal Acne
1. Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
What it Does: Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant, meaning it helps the skin to preserve moisture by drawing moisture from the air/environment and holding it against the skin. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is an anti-inflammatory that helps stimulate the skin’s healing processes.
My Take: If you’ve been hanging around this blog or my Youtube channel for any length of time, you probably could’ve guessed this Hyaluronic Acid + B5 serum would be in my list of favorite skincare products from the Ordinary. It’s almost unheard of for me to complete a blog post or video without mentioning it.
This formula contains many weights of hyaluronic acid molecules, which are all too large to absorb into the skin – so it makes sense that this acid is going to benefit our skin at a surface level. The way it holds moisture against the skin’s surface decreases the visibility of fine lines and leads to skin that looks plump, youthful, and glowy!
I use it every day as part of my morning & evening moisturizing routine. I spritz my face with purified water, place a few drops around my face, massage it in gently, and then apply CeraVe Moisturizing Cream on top to lock it all in.
If you want to see what this HA+B5 serum can do, check out my Dewy Glowy Skin Makeup Tutorial. I swear my skin plumps right up after I apply it on my spritz-bottle-damp skin!
How to Use: Layer on top of damp skin and under another moisturizer. Can use twice daily as part of morning and evening moisturizing routines.
2. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
What it Does: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) works to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, and skin dullness. It also reduces the appearance of wrinkles & fine lines, strengthening weakened skin surface. Zinc is a powerful mineral antioxidant which aids skin’s healing abilities.
My Take: The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a powerful vitamin and mineral formula designed to reduce the appearance of pores and aid in the skin’s ability to heal post-acne. And I simply love it.
This is really one of those products that I notice a huge difference after using. I suffered from acne for sooo many years, and hear me – my pores are in no way, shape, or form – small and refined. And to be honest, there isn’t a ton that can be done about that problem.
However, keeping your pores free of congestion will go a long way in making them appear smaller, and that’s what this Niacinamide-Zinc formula does! I do want to be clear that this isn’t technically an acne spot treatment – don’t use this on active blemishes. Instead, you want to use this to help your skin heal faster post-acne.
I theorize this product is what allows me to use the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream as my daily face moisturizer. CeraVe is a rich formula, and maybe it’s too rich for facial skin normally, but when I use it with the niacinamide/zinc, it helps to combat any congestion the CeraVe might cause.
How to Use: This formula is mild enough for daily use. I use it 3-5 times per week. Apply just before your moisturizer.
Important! Using Niacinamide with Vitamin C may compromise the integrity of your Vitamin C formula, but it is ok to use with L-Ascorbic and Ascorbic Vitamin C’s. I prefer to use a Vitamin C in the daytime under sunscreen, and I use the Niacinamide/Zinc at night.
3. Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%
What it Does: Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a micronutrient packed with antioxidants and occurring naturally in many plants, such as grapes. You can get a large dose of this powerhouse polyphenol by drinking red wine, my friends, so drink up! Responsibly, of course. It protects skin against environmental stressors, calms redness, and brightens a tired-looking complexion.
Ferulic Acid boosts the effectiveness of other antioxidants and reduces the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
My Take: The Ordinary’s Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% is a high-potency antioxidant formulation. And boy is it some good stuff! This is a great choice for those of us with acne, because it’s an anti-inflammatory meant to protect us from whatever our harsh environments throw at our skin. The Ordinary’s websites says to use it in conjunction with one of their Vitamin C suspensions, but to my knowledge – none of those are safe for malassezia.
Therefore, I either dilute some of this in squalane oil at nighttime, or I use it with a fungal-acne-safe Vitamin C under my sunscreen in the daytime.
How to Use: Use AM with Vitamin C under your moisturizer & sunscreen, or use at night with a fungal-acne-safe oil (like Squalane).
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4. Lactic Acid 5% + HA (or Lactic Acid 10% + HA)
What it Does: Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that works to exfoliate your skin. Because of this, AHAs are known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, improve skin texture, and unclog blocked pores.
HA here is referring again to hyaluronic acid, a humectant that preserves moisture in the skin.
My Take: We have finally moved into the realm of exfoliation! And The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 5% + HA is a gentle way to introduce your skin to the world of chemical exfoliation. They also sell a 10% concentration, but I recommend the 5% for all AHA-noobs.
This formula is a light-to-bright orange color thanks to the addition of Tasmanian Pepperberry, which is supposed to help reduce irritation from the lactic acid.
I prefer chemical exfoliators, because they noticeably brighten the skin after one use, and because the scrubs used for manual exfoliation are just too harsh. Who else used to use the St. Ives Apricot scrub religiously as a teen? Can’t say it really did me any favors.
And if you were thinking of using baking soda as a natural exfoliator – think again. Though the molecules are less jagged than that abrasive apricot stuff, baking soda seriously disrupts your skin’s pH balance. And that’s no bueno.
By the way – I am pro-manual-exfoliation as long as it’s done gently with a washcloth & zero tugging at the skin! In fact, I do it almost daily.
Otherwise, just be careful when moving into the world of AHAs, because they are known to be irritating to the skin. And always, always wear your sunscreen after applying a chemical exfoliation product such as this one.
How to Use: Do NOT use this product on compromised skin. Meaning skin with open wounds, cuts, eczema, or any other form of brokenness skin can have.. anything that isn’t normal, healthy skin texture, basically. Be careful, use once per week after cleansing. Give your skin time to adjust and work your way up to 2-3x’s per week.
5. AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution*
*This product contains 1 ester: polysorbate 20, and is therefore not 100% fungal-acne-safe.
What it Does: AHAs are chemical exfoliators that are known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, improve skin texture, and unclog blocked pores. The AHAs in this formula are Glycolic, Lactic, Tartaric, and Citric acids.
BHAs are beta hydroxy acids, which are also exfoliants – but they supposedly do the work of AHAs without the irritation factor. Salicylic acid is a well-known BHA, and it’s the one in use here.
The red color comes from the same Tasmanian Pepperberry that also gives color to the Lactic Acid + HA solution. And it kinda reminds me of Trublood – ya know… that bloody drink the vampires in Trublood drank? Totally looks like that stuff, right????
This is mean to be used as a mask, not as something you leave on the skin. The Ordinary suggests a maximum time of 10 minutes before rinsing.
My Take: As much as I enjoy using lactic acid, I have to admit that glycolic acid is my actual favorite. HOWEVER, this formula is serious business. It should be used by experienced chemical exfoliators only! There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this product on the internet, because people use this AHA/BHA formula irresponsibly, resulting in chemical burns.
Heck, even I have given myself a chemical burn with this stuff! I used it once while I had my infamous eczema/cheilitis lip rash. I was careful not to apply it anywhere close to my lip rash (seriously compromised skin), and I left it on for 6 minutes only. Even so, the next morning I awoke to find that my lip rash was 10x’s more red and irritated than it had been. So take my word for it – I cannot say it enough – be careful! If you have sensitive skin, avoid this altogether.
Know that I am not recommending this AHA and BHA Peeling Solution for 99.9% of you. And what about that pesky ester, Polysorbate-20, that it contains? What does that mean for those of us with fungal acne?
This is my opinion, but you need to make your own informed decision. There are so many freaking AHAs and BHAs in here to combat that one ester that I think it gets cancelled out. So while I’m not claiming this is a 100% fungal-acne-safe formula, I am not afraid to use it on occasion. But you do you, and make your own, well-informed decision.
How to Use: Do NOT use this product on compromised skin. I recommend this AHA/BHA Peel only once per month. Use sparingly and responsibly.
The Ordinary says not to leave it on for anymore than 10 minutes, but I’d start with 3 minutes and work your way up. The Ordinary also recommends taking extra precaution to avoid sun exposure during use, and up to one week after using. But even if you aren’t using AHAs, use sunscreen daily.
More Fungal Acne Safe Products
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