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2020's most viral skin care product is trending again — so we had to try it

It's definitely giving us "vampire facial" vibes.
Illustration of Danielle Murphy useing the Ordinary's Peeling Solution
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Danielle Murphy

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Over the last couple of years, my skin has experienced many, many ups and downs. I bounce between a perfectly clear complexion to massive breakouts on a month to month basis, with no solution in sight. Despite keeping up with a strict cleansing regimen — and reaching an age when pimples should be in the distant past — I still need products that will help keep my skin looking and feeling its best.

When my face looks visibly distressed or just needs a brightening boost, I always find myself reaching for the Ordinary's AHA + BHA Peeling Solution. I first heard about the powerful exfoliant after it went mega-viral on TikTok two years ago — though, it's still making the rounds on the app to this day — and I watched enough transformation videos to convince me to give it a try.

And I'm glad I did — it's one of the only skin care products I can depend on to re-set my skin and provide an exfoliating treatment that actually reduces my frequent breakouts.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

How does The Ordinary's Peeling Solution work?

Shop TODAY reached out to board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, who told us that the ingredients are perfect for anyone looking to revive their skin's appearance.

"The chemical exfoliating solution is a great option for those looking to improve the appearance of fine lines, blemishes, pores, dullness and texture," Garshick said. "Containing different hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, it helps to address various skin care concerns."

According to Garshick, the lactic and glycolic acids have anti-aging benefits thanks to their ability to stimulate collagen production, while salicylic acid helps to unclog pores and fight acne.

Because the formula is so potent, Garshick recommends applying only once a week to start, especially if you have sensitive skin. I know my skin can handle stronger products, but this has been the perfect amount for me, even after months of use. I like to use it on days when my face is feeling congested or when I start to see a few blemishes form since it helps to calm down pimples. I've also noticed that regular use can help prevent them from forming into more serious breakouts.

Danielle Murphy uses the Ordinary's Peeling Solution
Courtesy Danielle Murphy

When I first applied the product, I was shocked by how red it appeared in person. It's essentially the color of blood and definitely gives "vampire facial" vibes.

I usually feel a tingling sensation as soon as the formula touches my skin, but it's never painful or overpowering enough to scare me into immediately washing it all off. After about a minute, the sensation eventually dulls into something that feels calmer and cooling. I set a timer for 10 minutes — the instructions advise against leaving the solution on for any longer than that — then wash it off with warm water.

It still amazes me to see how much brighter my complexion looks in the mirror. If there's one thing this treatment delivers on, it's the promise of improving my skin's radiance. And even though the formula feels strong, I'm never left with any irritation or long-lasting red marks. Plus, my skin's texture always feels incredibly smooth.

Testing The Ordinary's AHA 30% and BHA 2% Peeling Solution
TODAY/Daniel Boan

Former associate commerce editor Daniel Boan also tried the peeling solution and can attest to its exfoliating powers. "My skin looked brighter, plumper and just generally refreshed," he raved. "I could also see some slight improvement in the texture around my nose, and it even seemed like some of the redness under my eyes had been reduced."

Boan noted that the formula worked well on his sensitive skin and felt quite gentle. "I experienced absolutely no irritation anywhere on my face. I've used the treatment three times since, and I've been incredibly happy with how smooth and clear my skin has looked this month."

It's not every day I find a skin care product that I can rely on — and for less than $10, no less. I've used this exfoliating solution upwards of a dozen times and it hasn't let me down yet.

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