The Ordinary is known for its affordable, effective products, which are often formulated with a single hero ingredient that allows you to play master skin-care chemist in your own bathroom. Derms have long sung the praises of the brand's superstar serums—most of which will cost you less than $15—so it's no wonder that searches for the brand were up 600 percent this past year. If you're looking to add one of the line's best-sellers to your skin-care arsenal, board-certified dermatologist Annie Gonzalez, MD, suggests making it the brand's Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Serum.
The chemical exfoliating toner is designed to be used as a treatment after you cleanse your skin, and works to melt away dead skin cells without any abrasive scrubbing. "This product helps to resurface and rejuvenate the skin and it’s also gentle while doing so," says Dr. Gonzalez. "It also has Tasmanian Pepperberry Derivative, which helps to reduce inflammation that can come with using glycolic acid." As an added bonus, there's calming aloe vera and ginseng, plus barrier-building amino acids.
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The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Serum
According to Rachel Nazarian, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in New York, everyone should be using an exfoliating acid toner, like this one. "Exfoliating acid-based toners are a smart method of removing dead skin cells and sloughing the superficial layers of the skin, and regular use can improve the texture of the skin and diminish hyperpigmentation and dark spots caused by ultraviolet radiation and pollution," she previously told Well+Good. Plus, "they offer a secondary level of cleaning that may not be achieved by basic cleansers for those who may need deeper removal of debris, such as people who wear heavy makeup," she says. Removing dead skin cells will also clear the way for the rest of your products to penetrate more deeply, so by investing in an exfoliating toner, you're really investing in your entire routine, as well.
While the word "acid" might feel intimidating, especially to those with sensitive skin, glycolic acid (which this particular formula heavies up with) is gentler than most physical exfoliating scrubs on the market, says Dr. Gonzalez. Thanks to its small molecules, glycolic acid is able to easily permeate your skin to break the bonds that are holding dead skin cells to its surface, which means that with this toner, you'll get a whole lot of bang for very little buck.
To learn more about exfoliating acids (and why they should be a part of everyone's routine), check out the video below.
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