The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid + HA

The Ordinary’s had a lot of misses for me personally, but their 5% Lactic Acid + HA product absolutely knocks it out of the park, and for only $13. It’s on my very short list of their products that I would definitely re-buy if I ever ran out. I’ve never seen such visible, instant results in such a short period of time after usage.

Again: this is an acid, so exercise extreme caution. Your skin will probably burn a tiny bit, or purge, over the first couple of usages because… well, it’s an acid. There is a 10% formulation available, but I have absolutely zero confidence that my skin would survive it. Maybe someday!

This pink-orange liquid comes in a clear glass bottle with a dropper that you use to pull up the product and drop onto your face. One drop goes a long way, so I generally drop one on each side of my cheeks, my forehead (careful not to let it run into my eyes, of course!), and any small excess droplets can go on my chin.

I’ve seen results in as quick as an hour from this. My skin is noticeably brighter, and some of the errant texture is gone. Fine lines are at least superficially dimmer, and hyperpigmentation appears to have noticeably faded. My skin in general just seems more uniform in color and texture.

As I mentioned before this will probably burn a little bit unless you’re built up a tolerance already. I’ll wait about 30 minutes before applying my next step in my routine (usually moisturizer). As long as it’s dry, it shouldn’t pill with the next product.

Not going to lie, I did experience some trepidation when I applied this for the first time. I’ve had bad experiences with glycolic acid, and have heard mixed reviews on lactic acid as an exfoliant. So I reiterate to sensitive skin users to start at 5% if they’re going to try this, and remember to exercise the usual rules: try to avoid the sunlight, use sunscreen if you must go outside, build up your tolerance SLOWLY (even now, I only use this product twice a week, and it took two weeks for my skin to be comfortable with it’s usage) and don’t be shocked if there’s a brief purging period. Other than those standard exfoliant caveats, I think this product is totally worth the buy! ~A

Buy The Ordinary’s 5% Lactic Acid here:

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 4/5 – results are noticeable for at least a day or two

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe


Alpha Skin Care Essential Renewal Lotion 10% / “AHA Souffle”

alpha hydroxy 10%

If I’ve learned any lessons in life, it is to tread very carefully with acids.

Full disclosure, I used this product when it was called AHA Souffle, and actually found that, with only semi-weekly use, it was great. I actually think it kept a lot of acne at bay, and kept my skin looking fresh. I think I used the 8% glycolic acid formulation, which seems to no longer be a percentage that they use. Then, the company Alpha Hydrox rebranded into Alpha Skincare, and re-released all their packaging.

I’m guessing during the timeframe that it took them re-brand and change up their product lines, they also reformulated as well. That was when this product stopped working for me. My skin started to break out a TON. Now, the thing to keep in mind with acids is that there is a natural purging period where you start to break out like crazy. Then, with consistent use of the acid, that won’t occur as often. So I thought that was the case with me, and I pushed through — for two months!!! — and it ended up absolutely destroying my skin.

I wasn’t really into looking at the ingredients back then so much as I am now, and looking at the listing online it doesn’t seem like there’s anything too damning that would cause it to do this. Even the alcohols in it are fatty alcohols only, and not drying. Perhaps even a 2% shift in glycolic acid was enough to destroy my skin. In any case, my opinion of this product is that it is very harsh.

Amazon cleanly states that the packaging may vary, due to the rebranding (and also an extremely confusing product listing — there’s a lot of seemingly overlapping products with totally different images). The AHA Souffle was a white cream in a tube. The tube lasted for quite awhile, since you don’t need to apply too much. Now it looks like it’s in a small bottle. Given the amount of product in this, the pricetag of $12-18 (depending on where you buy from) doesn’t seem too crazy.

I don’t know. I used to really like this. If you are suffering very mild acne or scarring, glycolic acid is good to keep some of that at bay. But I’m not convinced that this product is the method to do that anymore, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for cystic acne sufferers either. If you want to try it out, I’d recommend starting at the lowest level possible, but even 10% seems a little steep to me. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: n/a

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No