Review: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Where to purchase: From Deciem’s website: LINK

Price: £6.30

Volume: 30ml

What is it?: AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids) containing solution which works to exfoliate the skin’s surface and help clear pore congestion. This contains 32% AHA/BHA and helps fight blemishes and improve the skin’s texture. With continued use, this should also help with fine lines.

pH: 3.5 – 3.7 (this does feel stingy on the skin!)

Good for: Blemish-prone skins would probably benefit from this the most, but those with textural irregularities or fine lines, dark marks and overall congestion could use this. I just think those with sensitive skins SHOULD NOT use this as it may burn/sting. (This is recommended by Deciem for experienced acid users – and I agree if you’re going to be applying this all over the face).


Packaging: The classic ‘The Ordinary’ Glass bottle with a dropper.

Directions: ”Clean face and wait for skin to dry. Do not use on wet skin. Apply evenly across face and neck using fingertips, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for no more than 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Avoid the eye contour and contact with eyes both during application and rinse off. This low-viscosity solution is intended to be used as a masque. Do not leave on for longer than 10 minutes. It is not recommended to use more than twice per week…” – From the Deciem Website.

Note: Deciem did state that although exfoliating acids provide quick results, they actually recommend indirect forms of skin exfoliation due to potential inflammation acids can cause. They recommend NIOD’s NAAP as a reference – but I have not used or tried this product.

How I use it: In the past, I did try to use this like a facial mask 2x a week (or maybe even 3 – eek!) as I wanted to find a dupe to the Drunk Elephant Sukari Baby Facial (Review HERE) which was just as painful and high % to use and therefore should be just as effective (I thought). BUT i gave up on that as it was really painful using this as an all-over treatment. (By the way I used this in the PM after cleansing and then I did leave it on for 10 minutes and then washed it off).

SO What I do now is use this as a spot treatment and for me it’s been much better AND EFFECTIVE. So basically I apply this on an emerging spot/bump or ingrown hair OR on some dark pigment from PIH (I apply using a Q-tip/cotton bud saturated with product and gently transfer the product onto the area by pressing) and leave on for 10 minutes (personally I do a bit longer). I find this an effective spot treatment – not it doesn’t get rid of spots instantly, but I can tell the next day that the spot isn’t getting worse and then the day after that, the spot goes down. It takes time to remove dark marks, so I apply this product still only 2x a week as deciem state, but I have seen some good results AS A SPOT TREATMENT. (I wash off the treatment and continue with the rest of my routine).


The reason why I like this as a spot treatment as apposed to something like a spot drying lotion is – I find that drying lotions actually make the area worse because it dries the area out and never really gets rid of my spot for me. Instead, using something like a powerful chemical exfoliant to work on the blemish WITHOUT DRYING IT OUT, and washing it off (therefore not keeping the area irritated all night like a treatment would), I can then continue with my evening routine, hydrating and moisturising the area and calming it down as the acids have done their work. And also, this solution is very large for simple spot treatments AND AFFORDABLE – I think this bottle would last me forever.

Drying Lotion | Mario Badescu
Image from:

(Image – I am not a fan of spot drying lotions).

Key Ingredients: The Exfoliators: 30% AHA (Glycolic/Lactic/Tartaric and Citric Acid), 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid). I believe what gives it its pink colour is the Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to help reduce irritation associated with acid use. The addition of Hyaluronic acid and Panthenol help assist healing and black carrot is used as an antioxidant.

Full Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

NOTE: The addition of things like Aloe Vera, panthenol and Hyaluronic acid aim to soothe the skin, but in all honestly, I would still (and the ordinary itself) does not recommend this product for the faint of heart – especially if one is to use this for all over the face.

Texture: This feels like a serum. It doesn’t ball up or pill off, and it is very spreadable. It actually is so thin that it can be hard to fully cover/saturate mark or pimple with this product in one go, so I find myself applying the product and then dabbing on another layer to make sure the area is completely covered. Once the product has dried down, it requires a little bit of effort to wash off.

It’s a deep blood-red.


This did actually start to make my hand tingle just from swatching! do you see that it’s not an even spread? So that’s why I have to go in with another layer if I want to make sure a spot/mark is fully saturated and covered before leaving starting the 10 minutes of waiting.

Yes – this does sting and irritate any open sores/active pimples or cuts one would have as this is acidic!

BUT – I would say after this has washed off – THE SKIN for me, doesn’t feel irritated, tight or HOT. I.e the stinging effect only lasts as long as the product is on, and then when washed off, I’m not left with a painful sensation (unlike the Niod Flavanone Mud – please check my Youtube video if you want to know my experience with that – it’s called ‘product I stoppped using.’


Youtube Video: Exfoliators for your skin type

NOTE: I actually think for those with very sensitive skin – something like the Luneia Radiance Ritual (In the Youtube video above) Might be a lot more gentle and calming, if you want to use a high % Exfoliating mask treatment, as it is cooling and moisturising and should also be used 1-2x a week). If you want to see other exfoliants, then please watch the video.

Fragrance?: It smells like the berry.

How long have I been using this?: On and off for a year.

The Effect?: I think this helps flatten pimples and I think it does work as a spot treatment (i.e. reduce the chance of PIH). I’m sure for more resilient skins, this would work to reduce fine lines, but my face can’t take it.

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What I like:

  • Effective spot treatment
  • Good price for the ml (I think this would last ages)
  • No fragrance/essential oils – to further aggravate the skin while exfoliating it.
  • They do try with the addition of calming/hydrating ingredients to reduce the irritation on the skin.
  • Doesn’t act by drying out the skin

What I don’t like:

  • Stains shirts if you accidentally get it on there
  • Can be messy since it’s coloured AND I need to apply more than 1 layer to make sure the product has fully covered/saturated the spot/mark as it’s a waste of time applying and waiting if it doesn’t.
  • I can’t wear this as a face mask because it stings too much.

Overall Rating and Conclusion: As a spot treatment, I give this a 4/5 – as a face mask, 2/5 since I couldn’t handle it, and I can’t attest to the effect that it has on fine lines. I do prefer this way of treating spots or marks (i.e. not drying out the skin but by exfoliating it). I don’t think it’s a bad treatment!

Would I repurchase?: Yes but honestly I think this bottle will last me ages.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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2 thoughts on “Review: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

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