Wednesday 7 June 2017

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%Two things worth mentioning from the get-go. 1. It's rare that I radically change my initial opinion of a product 2. I don't usually see that much (positive) difference when using different skincare - I may see slight changes and my skin may feel better but it's rare for it to be really noticable. When testing The Ordinary's Lactic Acid 10% not only did my initial opinion do a complete U-turn but my god I could see the difference.

For my first order from The Ordinary I choose three things; hyaluronic acid which is the basis for a lot of serums that cost about ten times more than this one, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F as an alternative to my beloved Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, and Lactic Acid 10% (the HA 2% stands for Hyularonic Acid) as an AHA since I don't use Retinol while pregnant and my face was looking pretty horrendous. More on the other two to come but it was the lactic acid that was a real eye opener.

Now, having done this for over a decade you'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now but I obviously haven't. So excited was I that I tried them all at the same time, at different times of day, and at the same time used a new SPF and my spots went from quite bad to absolutely horrendous. I thought it was the SPF but also suspected the lactic acid which I had just started slapping on my face at the end of the day. I had no choice but to stop using everything new, give my skin two weeks off and then start again one new product at a time. Like I should have done in the first place.

Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxyl Acid that exfoliates the skin, it is a humectant which means you skin won't feel dry when using it and it's more hydrating and gentle than glycolic acid so if you have dry skin, lactic is the one to go for. If you want an anti-aging AHA then you are better off with glycolic but make sure you use sunscreen.

After the two week break my skin improved a bit - the scary new spots mostly went away - but I still had a horrible patch of red acne-like pregnancy spots that wouldn't disappear.  I decided to go back to the new products and to start with the lactic acid mixed in with a bit of my Aurelia Night Cream. Overnight my spots went from pretty horrible to pretty bearable. Overnight. In one use. I was really surprised.

Now it's hard to review this product without going into a whole review on The Ordinary as a whole. Which I'm not going to do, it has been done very well by Caroline Hirons and Stephanie Nicole. I agree with both of them that the brand is more complex than it needs to be, there are some good products and some that aren't so great. If you don't want to spend huge amounts of money on your skincare it's great to be able to pick specific ingredients to add to your skincare or routine then it's a great one to try. I do like that at this price point you get to see if you really like something then maybe you could get a slightly more expensive version - possibly from NIOD their sister brand. However some products need to be mixed with other ingredients to get the best use from them, and that doesn't always happen when it's as basic as The Ordinary. I'm also not in love with the dropper system. It's fine for the lactic acid for for less stable products, Vitamin C and Retinol, it will mean that they are exposed to the air which you don't really want. Do I love this brand above all other and will only be exclusively using their products from now on? No. But I do really like some of their products.

The Ordinary do a 5% lactic acid which is best if you have never used any kind of acids on your skin before as it's gentler. I have been using the 10% as I've used AHA's for a while and to be honest I'm not sure the 5% would do anything for anyone. Lactic acid offers mild exfoliation and when used properly can really help even previously sensitive skins - it's not at all drying so you don't need to worry about that. I have been using this at night in place of a retinol and therefore I've been careful to apply SPF in the morning (as I do when using a retinol anyway). There's no point in helping your skin to regenerate if you are then going to singe it in the sun.

When I first started using this it definitely made me break out. I put it directly onto my face before a moisturiser and within days I had more (and different) spots to the ones I was originally trying to combat. I researched it a bit and some people said it was a normal 'purging' reaction. Having used acids before and never encountered this I really doubt that that was what was going on. I gave my skin a break and then started again mixing it with my Aurelia Night Cream and it's that combination that really worked for me. I was then interested to see the Stephanie Nicole video where she also had a bad reaction to this. Had I not already started seeing great results from the Lactic/Aurelia combination I probably would have given up on it then and there.

Once my skin had recovered and I started using it mixed with the night cream I then saw immediate, great results. I then didn't use it for 2 weeks when I went on holiday as I thought I wouldn't bother taking it with me. The pregnancy spots noticeably worsened and then improved again immediately on my return when I started using it again. If I can be bothered and I have time I will stop using it again for a week and then do some before and after pictures.

This all means it's very hard for me to recommend this product to everyone. I would say that you should only use the 10% if you are used to using acids and even then I would mix it with a moisturiser first to get your skin used to it. Mine is used to it now and I still wouldn't slap it straight on my face - it needs something to stop it irritating and causing a reaction. That being said I'm not sure that the 5% would do anything for me but may do something for someone but I feel like maybe it's better to get the 10% and mix it. Because of the reaction I had if you are at all worried then I'd recommend going elsewhere for your lactic acid. Find a serum that has other ingredients in it that will stop the skin reacting - if you can afford Sunday Riley Good Genes then I've only heard good things about that. I just can't afford it at the moment.

Will I rebuy it? If I was earlier on in my pregnancy then definitely yes as my skin has been quite upsettingly awful. As it is I will see what my skin is like once I've had the baby and this runs out and will rebuy accordingly. It's very nice to have something that works on hand for skin disasters but I also don't like things hanging around not being used as they become less effective over time. 

What You Need to Know - The Ordinary Lactic Acid
  • £5.80
  • 30ml 
  • When used on it's own this caused me to have a bad reaction
  • Best to use in the evening either with or before a moisturiser
  • Available from Beauty Bay, Look Fantastic, The Ordinary
  • Cruelty Free, vegan
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