The Ordinary for Acne | Best Guide for Fighting Breakouts

One of the most common skincare questions we always get asked about is what are the best products I can use to help overcome my acne?

The truth is that many of us who struggle with acne problems are not informed enough to make the correct product purchase(s) that pair the best with our skin. With this being said, we recommend checking out Banish's Blog on "11 Acne Types - How to Identify & Treat Acne" for a complete informative guide to outlining the different kinds of acne. Now that we understand our acne the next step is choose the right product(s) to use for treatment. 

Enter The Ordinary, a brand from Deciem whose line-up of advanced functional beauty products consists of over 50 different products that are clinically formulated to tailor to each and every skin type and can also be combined with each other! Although this might sound daunting at first especially due to the scientific nature of the product names, we have crafted a simple list of the best products from this line for acne and exactly how to use them. Join us below as we explore these alongside some tips and tricks for taking care of your skin from the inside out and the outside in. 


    Squalane Cleanser

    The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is an extremely lightweight cleanser with a creamy velvety texture that enables it to spread with ease across your skin. This gentle formula was designed to remove any impurities that clog the surface of your face for example make-up, dirt, oil, dust while leaving the skin lightly moisturized. It's also non-comedogenic and soap-free. It's gentle, soothing and lightweight texture is great for acne as it doesn't clog up your pores.

    How And When To Use:

    Start by rubbing this creamy product between your palms for approximately 10-30 seconds. This will open up the product and will transform it into an oil-like consistency. Now the product will be ready to be massaged directly into your skin. 

    For best results we recommend starting with small circles and working your way outwards to really work the cleanser into your pores. This will allow the emulsifying sucrose esters to trap and dissolve impurities, leave to soak in for a couple of minutes then rinse well with warm water and pat your skin dry. Use daily AM - PM.

    Suitable For: 

    - Sensitive Skin
    - Oily/Combination Skin
    - Dry Skin
    - Acne Prone Skin 



    Buffet Copper Peptides


    'Buffet' & Copper Peptides 1% thier new weapon combining the original 'Buffet' with concentrated copper peptides. This is your skins right hand elixir, it is one of the most important steps in your skin care routine. The natural role of these peptides as found in human plasma includes supporting a wide range of skin health functions like maintaining normal immune function, collagen synthesis, fibroblast production and anti-inflammatory responses. 

    The inclusion of Copper Peptides offers a natural blue tint to the formula. The total concentration of active technologies in this formula is 26.1%. 
    This formula combines a comprehensive array of studied technologies to target multiple skin problems at once including aging, sensitivity, irritations, dehydration, redness and acne. The 1% concentration of pure Copper Peptides is key to all rounded focus on overall skin health which makes a multi-powerful tool for your skin.

    Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes the production of collagen and elastin in your skin. It also acts as an antioxidant and promotes production of glycosaminoglycans (such as hyaluronic acid). In addition, copper peptides have been shown to remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue.

    How  And When To Use:

    After using the ordinary squalane cleanser step, it's great to add the 'buffet' & copper peptide solution to clean dry skin, gently pressing it into your face for maximum absorption. 
    Allow to dry before using anymore products on your skin, use AM- PM daily.

    Suitable For:

    - Anti-Aging
    - Acne and Blackheads
    - Rosacea
    - Skin Irritations


    Matrixyl 10% + HA

    Matrixyl 10% + HA is a non-sticky product that absorbs quickly and effectively into the skin. The base ingredients of this technology is two generations of matrixyl at a combined concentration of 10% by weight in a specialized Hyaluronic Acid delivery system. It's an anti-aging peptide comprised of two proteins. It is used to target a wide range of aging signs, which helps your skin look and act more youthful. To diminish the signs of aging, it promotes the production of collagen and elastin in the under-layers of skin.

    This highly dynamic product targets static and dynamic wrinkles: 

     - Static wrinkles are caused by gravity, the loss of fat and collagen, and the loss of the skin's elasticity. These types of wrinkles are visible regardless of the muscle action. 

    - Dynamic wrinkles are those formed by facial movements, such as squinting (think crow's feet), smiling (think smile lines) and furrowing of the brow (think forehead wrinkles and frown lines). 

    Pockmarks, which are also called pick marks or acne scars, are blemishes with a concave shape that can look like holes or indentations in the skin. They occur when the deeper layers of the skin become damaged. As these deeper layers heal, extra collagen is produced which is where this technology helps to aid super power this healing.

    How To Use:

    Apply a few drops all over you face AM - PM. Take care with using this with certain other technologies to avoid an reaction. scroll to the bottom to check out what products are incompatible together.

    Suitable for:

    - Fine lines and wrinkles
    - Smoothing, plumping
    - Production of collegan and elasticity
    - Crated scars from acne

    More Molecules 

    Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%


    Niacinamide 10 % + Zinc 1% is your high-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula that will be a powerful tool to have on hand in case of emergency breakouts or severely irritated acne. A great 10% of this vitamin is supported by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to help balance sebum levels. Independent studies have also shown that this is an effective ingredient that brightens skin, smoothing it out creating a clearer complexion.

    How And When To Use:

    Squirt a dollar sized amount onto lean hands, you can use this after your cleansing step and before applying heavy creams, spread a fine layer all over your face and allow to dry for a couple of seconds before applying anything on top.

    This product is suitable for use AM - PM unless you are someone who has incorporated Vitamin C into their skincare routine. Niacinamide is not compatible with Vitamin C as it reduces the affect it produces, so i would advise using one of these products during the morning and the other at night.

    Another way to utilize this phenomenal product is to use it on angry pimples but dabbing the niacinamide directly onto the inflamed area and allowing it to soak in, preferably over night so the healing process can start. 

    Suitable For:

    - Acne 
    - Uneven Skin Tone 
    - Brightening 


    Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA 

    Alpha Arbutin 2% +HA is a concentrated serum with purified Alpha Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid. It powerfully reduces the looks of spots, acne scars and hyper-pigmentation, fading out and evening the skin tone. It's used at a high 2% concentration versus a standard concentration of 1% and supported with a next-generation form of Hyaluronic Acid for affective delivery.

    How To Use:

    Apply a few drops to your face AM - PM after cleansing and before moisturising. Use an SPF protector on your skin if this is applied in the morning as this will make your skin a lot more sensitive to UV rays.

    Suitable For:

    - Hyperpigmentation
    - Spots
    - Acne scars


    Hydrators And Oils

    Marine Hyaluronic 

    Marine Hyaluronics is a ultra-lightweight hydration support with marine-derived vegan water reservoirs. This wonderful product attracts and traps water in the same way the hyaluronic acid would except this consistency of the Marine Hyaluronics has a lighter texture and feel. 

    The formula contains exopolysaccharides from skin-friendly marine bacteria, Hawaiian red algae, Glycoproteins from Antarctic marine sources, micro-filtered blue-green algae and several health-supporting amino acids. The total concentration of active ingredients in this formula is 23%. 

    This formula is exceptionally light in texture. If you prefer a more viscous formula, please explore Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5.

    How And When To Use: 

    Apply a few drops to face AM and PM before creams.

    Suitable For:

    - Dry Skin
    - Acne Prone Skin 
    - Uneven Skin Tone
    - Sun Damage
    - Anti-aging


    "B" Oil 

    "B" Oil protects and strengthens your skin, it's a weightless and nourishing face oil that helps to restore a healthy glow to the complexion. Combining a purified form of Micro-Algae with a blend of oils including Argan, Brazil Nut and Rosehip, the treatment sinks into skin effortlessly to support the natural barrier function and defend against free radical damage. After use, expect radiant and healthy-looking results.

    How To Use:

    Apply a few drops to face and neck daily or as needed to entire face ideally after water-based treatments. This product is extremely versatile and has many uses, depending on how you want to tailor this into your skin care routine you could may use the oil to your own benefits like e.g a deep moisturising treatment for face or hair, skin conditions that may be located on other parts of your body, ect. 

    Suitable For:

    - Acne prone skin
    - Anti-aging
    - Chronic skin conditions
    - Dry/ Dehydrated skin
    - Hyperpigmentation
    - Acne scarring
    - Stretch marks
    - Sun damage/ Protection 


    Direct Acids

    AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


    AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is an iconic acid peel that is quickly becoming a favourite. This product is a vibrant blood coloured red which spreads with ease. Vitamin B5, Black carrot and tasmanian pepperberry is carried in a mixed solution of acids, each of these ingredients play a huge part in this highly effective acid peel. 

    Acid Technology:
    Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) exfoliate the first layer of the skins surface for a brighter, smoother more even complexion.
    Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) exfoliate the second layer of the skin with an extended function to help dissolve pore congestion making it harder for dirt to remained trapped.
    AHA/BHA solution combined offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes from the root and diminishing bacteria. Long term use smooths our fine like and improves skin texture.

    How To Use:

    Apply to a clean face after cleansing, make sure skin is completely dry. Spread the product evenly over face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Do not leave it in on for any longer, after rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat skin dry. For use weekly. This face peel will tingle when applied to your skin, this is normal due to the acids but if it causes too much irritation, rinse off.

    Suitable For:

    - Uneven skin tone 
    - Acne prone skin
    - Scarring 
    - Anti-aging
    - Hyperpigmentation
    - Dark spots

    Not suitable for use on sensitive, broken or irritated cracked skin.*



    Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

    Glycolic Acid 7% is a very mild toning solution, alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin gently, promoting a clear more radiant finish. With continued use you will see a change in your skins texture and tone. This solution also contains tasmanian pepperberry which creates a soothing, conditioning base when accompanied with acidic properties which helps reduce irritation. Partnered with Aloe Vera and ginseng root. 

    How And When To Use:

    Ideally use this during your evening routine preferably no more then once a day. After your cleansing step, saturate a cotton pad and swipe over face and neck. Allow to dry, it's effective in removing make-up, oils and dirt preventing blemishes. The toner will tingle when applied to your skin, if this causes irritation, rinse off. 

    Suitable For:

    - Removing Make-up
    - Reducing Oils
    - Smoothing Skin tone 


    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

    Vitamin C is one of the most effective in brightening ingredient, also an antioxidant, meaning it protects skin cells from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure. It also inhibits melanin production in the skin, which helps to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots, even out skin tone.

    Vitamin C suspension is highly effective on lines and wrinkles, it promotes collagen production, which has the potential to thicken the dermis, diminish fine lines, and is essential for firm, youthful skin. The light silicones leave a soft matte finish.

    How And When To Use:

    Apply a small amount to face in the AM or the PM. Avoid contact with the eyes. A tingling sensation can be expected after application. If this sensation is too strong, this formula can be diluted on each application with your favourite serum or cream.

    Suitable For:

    - Lines And Wrinkles
    - Anti-oxidant
    - Uneven skin tone
    - Acne scarring
    - Sun damage



    Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

    Granactive Retinoid 2% the new formulation of two power tools combined into one and nicknamed The novel retinoid, 2% concentration of Granactive Retinoid and a sustained-delivery form of pure retinol. It helps renew skin plumpness, elasticity and hydration to provide a radiant and fresh appearance. The novel retinoid is highly recommended for promoting clear skin when used in conjunction with anti-acne treatments.

    This Retinol skincare has a low irritation risk and is very light-weight and creamy, treating a range of skin care conditions like pigmentation, anti-aging and acne.

    How And When To Use:

    Apply a small amount to face in the PM as part of your skincare regimen, after water-based serums but before heavier treatments. Do not use with other retinoid treatments. 

    Suitable For:

    - Acne
    - Anti-aging
    - Pigmentation



    Pycnogenol 5%


    Pycnogenol is a trademarked name for Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract (French Maritime). This wonderful bark extract has skin brightening properties and protects your skin against environmental aggressors. It also helps with collagen stabilization which aids in new skin being renewed which helps diminish the look of scars, pigmentation and promotes healing.

    Sometimes when we over treat our face in a panic to reduce our breakouts we lose a lot of crucial oils which makes our skin dry and stiff, pycnogenol supports and promotes the elasticity of the skin and also is able to selectively bind to and protect these vital proteins from free radical damage and enzymatic degradation.

    How And When To Use:

    Apply alone or after water-based serums, before oils or heavier creams. Alternatively, mix with other treatments to enhance their antioxidant capacity significantly. Use only as directed on unbroken skin.

    Suitable For:

    - Acne
    - Anti-aging
    - Dry skin 
    - Hyperpigmentation


    Skin Tips:

    • Keep bed sheets and pillows clean and fresh so your aren't transferring unwanted bacteria to your face.
    • Minimize how often you touch your face, keeping your hands clean and making sure anything that can pass unwanted bacteria onto your skin like phones, hats, others clothes, ect.
    • Cleanse your skin morning and night, thoroughly remove make-up.
    • Wash make-up tools weekly to avoid them becoming germ-ridden.
    • Take care not to apply hair-care products to your hairline where it can irritate or clog your skin causing break-outs.
    • Always drink plenty of water, hydrate your body from inside out and the outside in. Detox your body with natural teas and certified herbal detox supplements. Cleanse your body once a week to remove unwanted toxins which aid in the production of acne.
    • Avoid skin-damaging fatty acids, starchy vegetables and refined carbohydrates like white bread and rice.
    • Any downtime you get give your skin a treatment.
    • Avoid using really hot water on your skin, it's very drying and can strip crucial oils we need.
    • Always use an SPF on your hands, neck and face to protect your skin against UV, the sun doesn't need to be shining for these rays to attack and cause damage.
    • Exfoliate your skin at least once a week to remove dead skin cell, unclog pores and smooth out skin allowing new skin cells to regenerate and damaged cells to start.
    • Our lips are a tell tale sign of moisture levels in our skin, if our lips feel dry then the humidity has dropped and they are telling your face needs an extra layer of your favourite moisturizer.
    • Take care with your eye area, it is delicate so don't rub them harshly, stretching the skin and creating a more hallow look. Remove make- up from around the eyes gently and when your ready to apply your eye creams, do so softly.
    • Always moisturize your decolletage up to your face in up-ward motions to promote your 'lift' and create a seamless connection of youth all the way to your hair line. Don't drag your skin downwards which creates lines and makes the skin saggy, faster.
    • Make sure those nail beds are kept clean, a lot of bad bacteria can get trapped under here and spread easily to your face increasing or creating acne.
    • A healthy, consistent diet made of superfoods such as:
    Inflammation: Fill your plate with these foods that fight inflammation and acne:
      • Probiotics: Found in kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles, they may help reduce inflammation by encouraging healthy bacteria to grow in your gut.
      • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Inflammation-fighting foods like salmon and walnuts have a higher ratio of omega-3s (the good fats!) than omega-6s.
      • Antioxidants: Acne sufferers have fewer of these complexion boosters, snack on dark greens and berries to get your fill.
      • Zinc: Lower levels of this essential mineral have been connected to more severe acne, nosh on cashews and almonds to up your intake.

    Control the breakout: Eat these ingredients in moderation to keep your breakouts at bay.

      • Coconut oil: The oil of the moment could be a pore clogger. Consider swapping it for sunflower-seed oil if you see breakouts around your mouth.
      • Whey Protein: One small study showed that this ingredient could lead to acne. People have seen improvement when eliminating powders and bars that contain it.
      • High-Glycemic Foods: These raise blood sugar that causes hormone levels to rise. Stick to whole, high-fiber foods instead.
      • Dairy: Milk contains components related to the hormone testosterone that may stimulate oil glands in the skin, setting the stage for acne.
    • Learn as much as you can about your skin, what it may be lacking and what it needs to cut down on in order to be able to tailor your skin routine, incorporating products that will be most beneficial to your skin type. We recommend having your face mapped to understand your face and its needs, check out our example below of the different functions and areas affected by our bodies.


    Different Skin Types:

    •  Oily Skin

    The skin secretes natural oils to keep itself moisturized, but for people with oily skin, this process can go into overdrive, especially if they have larger pores. The larger the pore the more the oil glands secrete, this is can cause a fine film to form on your skin through out the day, producing more break-outs and leaving you looking shiny.

    People with oily skin tend to feel clogged and heavy after applying their moisturizer, they should avoid using heavy creams to avoid an outbreak of acne but that doesn't mean we should skip the hydration step altogether.

    We recommend hydrating oily skin with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient found in many moisturizers. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain water, without leaving a greasy film on the top layer such as the Marine Hyaluronics.

    If you have really oily skin you may want to skip moisturizing during the morning and only at night, but always use your SPF to provide protection for your skin.

    •  Dry Skin

    The number one sign that you have dry skin is if it appears dull and lifeless. The buildup of dead skin cells is what makes the skin appear dry and scaly. Light reflects off these rough skin cells in all different directions, highlighting the damage. Whereas if your skin is hydrated, you will have a smoother surface that reflects light evenly, and so appears more radiant.

    Many factors can lead to dry skin, including sun exposure, hot showers and over-exfoliating with products like salicylic or glycolic acid, we think were aiding out skin with these tools but with over-use you will be causing more damage to your skin, over-buffing can really dry out your skin which can lead to other problems such as wrinkles, itchy, cracked or irritated skin.

    Even acne needs a certain amount of hydration in order for the healing process to unfold.

    Dry skin can handle a heavier cream which is beneficial to use morning and night 'B' Oil is a great deep hydrating oil to use to hydrate, condition and promote a plump, dewy finish.

    • Sensitive Skin

    Sensitive skin is prone to inflammation, people with sensitive skin may have acne, rosacea or contact dermatitis, a type of red, itchy rash. Sensitive skin may also be especially prone to stinging or burning when using products that are too strong, sensitive skin may have overreactions to certain ingredients and, for that reason, they should avoid overly harsh compounds in all their beauty products beyond skin care. For example, people with acne should avoid isopropyl myristate, a popular ingredient in hair conditioners that can irritate your scalp and hairline.

    Sensitive skin isn’t necessarily a permanent skin type, but rather one that can be caused if you over-scrub or over-exfoliate, or use overly harsh products. The perfect gentle cleanser for sensitive skin is The ordinary's Squalane Cleanser.

    • Combination Skin

    Combination means you are dry in winter and oily in summer. Some people incorrectly use it to mean oily in the T-zone but this is classified as an oily skin type, combination skin tends to be oilier on the forehead and nose where you have more oil glands, and drier on the cheeks. If you feel as though your T-zone is increasingly more oily then the rest of your face then we would recommend tailoring different products to cater for different areas of your face. 

    Because of the changes to combination skin that vary from seasons to hormonal changes you should alternate your skincare products to fight oil and dryness.

    Isolate your t-zone area and use scrubs and direct acids to help remove build up and reduce oil while moisturising other areas of your face then need more hydration so it doesn't crack or become irritated and dull.

    A great treatment to use on your oily areas is the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution  which will eat through oil and dirt leaving you with a squeaky clean finish, ready to be lightly moisturized.


    It is best to not use Peptides in the same routine as the following products: Direct acids, LAA (L-Ascorbic Acid) and ELAA (Ethylated Ascorbic Acid). In addition, we would recommend avoiding the use of products containing copper peptides in the same routine as strong antioxidants as well as direct acids/LAA/ELAA.





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