The Best The Ordinary Products for Acne and Oily Skin

Are you struggling with persistent acne and an oily complexion? The search for effective skincare solutions can be daunting, especially when dealing with these skin concerns.

Fortunately, The Ordinary, a brand known for its budget-friendly yet highly effective products, offers a range of solutions that specifically target acne and oily skin.

Why Use The Ordinary for Oily & Acne Prone Skin?

The Ordinary offers an extensive line of affordable and effective skincare products to target a variety of skin concerns. Many of The Ordinary’s formulas are especially beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin.

If you struggle with excess oil production, clogged pores, breakouts, and skin sensitivities, The Ordinary has budget-friendly options to help restore your skin’s balance and improve your complexion.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of The Ordinary and explore the best products they have to offer for tackling acne and managing oily skin. From cleansers to serums to moisturizers, we’ll cover everything you need to know to build an effective skincare routine that caters to your skin’s needs.

What Causes Oily and Acne-Prone Skin?

Before diving into the best The Ordinary products for acne-prone and oily skin, it helps to understand what causes these common skin issues in the first place.

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands in the skin that produce excess sebum, the oil that keeps skin naturally hydrated. When too much sebum is produced, it can lead to a shiny complexion and clogged pores.

Acne breakouts are also tied to excess sebum production. The trapped sebum in pores allows dead skin cells, bacteria, and other impurities to become stuck, creating the perfect environment for inflammatory acne lesions, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Those with oily skin are especially prone to acne breakouts due to the higher amounts of sebum their skin generates.

With all that said, here are the best The Ordinary products for acne and oily skin:

The Ordinary Glucoside Foaming Cleanser

Cleansing Away Acne: The Ordinary Glucoside Foaming Cleanser

One of the keys to keeping oily, acne-prone skin clear is effectively removing dirt, makeup, excess oil, and other impurities without stripping the skin’s moisture barrier.

The Ordinary Glucoside Foaming Cleanser is an ideal face wash for acne-prone skin that needs gentle daily cleansing. It contains 12% purified glucosides derived from coconut and corn to lift dirt from the skin’s surface.

What makes The Ordinary’s Glucoside Foaming Cleanser stand out is that it does not contain any harsh sulfates, oils, or soap.

The mild coconut-based surfactant system creates a luxurious lather to eliminate impurities without disrupting the skin’s protective barrier or leaving the complexion feeling dry and tight.

Those with oily, congested skin will also enjoy how this cleanser foams away excess oil.

Glycolic Acid and Sensitive Skin

Navigating Sensitive Skin with Glycolic Acid: The Ordinary’s Approach

Glycolic acid is one of the most popular and effective alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) for exfoliating the surface of the skin to clear away dead skin cells, smooth texture, and improve radiance.

It is an excellent ingredient to address clogged pores, acne, blackheads, and excess sebum in oily skin types. However, glycolic acid can also cause irritation, dryness, and sensitivity in many individuals when used too frequently or at high concentrations.

If you have highly reactive skin, it is best to avoid daily use of glycolic acid as the main active ingredient in your skincare routine.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA / The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

Gentle Exfoliation with Lactic Acid: Finding Your Strength

A gentler alternative exfoliating acid that still retexturizes congested, oily skin is lactic acid. The Ordinary offers two lactic acid formulas at different strengths:

  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA
  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

Made from fermented sugar, lactic acid provides mild exfoliation to improve skin tone, texture, radiance, and signs of aging. It is less irritating than glycolic acid, making it better suited for those with sensitive skin.

The formulas also contain hyaluronic acid to attract and bind moisture to the skin, counteracting the drying effects of the exfoliation. The 5% lactic acid is ideal for first-time acid users while the 10% provides more intensive exfoliating results for those with more resilient skin.

Serums and Treatments

Serum Solutions for Acne and Oily Skin: The Ordinary’s Arsenal

In addition to proper cleansing and chemical exfoliation, serums and targeted treatments are essential for combating acne and congestion in oily skin types. Here are some of The Ordinary’s best options:

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is one of the best ingredients for balancing sebum production, minimizing pores, improving tone and texture, and brightening hyperpigmentation.

Zinc also provides antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits to clear current blemishes and prevent new ones. This serum is gentle enough for daily AM and PM use.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Derived from grains, azelaic acid reduces inflammation and redness from acne while brightening any post-acne marks.

It helps control sebum production and clear congested pores and comedonal acne. Azelaic acid is also one of the safest ingredients for pregnant women.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil

This nourishing formula contains antioxidant-rich argan oil to hydrate skin without clogging pores.

The essential fatty acids help restore a healthy moisture barrier disturbed by excess sebum production. It calms irritation from acne treatments.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution – Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that dives deep into pores to dissolve dead skin, debris, and sebum to unblock congestion and prevent new blackheads and whiteheads

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronic

Hydration without Heaviness: The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics

One of the keys to maintaining clear, acne-free skin is to keep the skin’s moisture barrier healthy, especially when using drying acne treatments.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronic serum is based on low molecular weight hyaluronic acid derivatives that penetrate deeply into the skin to bind moisture. It provides intense hydration without oiliness that works beautifully for oily skin types.

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

Balancing Act: The Ordinary’s Squalane for Acne and Oily Skin

Squalane oil (derived from olives) mimics the skin’s natural sebum to provide lasting hydration without clogging pores. This lightweight emollient hydrates without causing greasiness or breakouts.

It also strengthens the skin’s barrier and has natural antibacterial properties to prevent blemishes.

Sunscreen: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

Sun Protection for Acne-Prone Skin: The Ordinary’s Sunscreen Solution

Daily sun protection is crucial when using acne treatments to avoid increased sun sensitivity. Chemical sunscreens can irritate and clog pores.

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 contains non-nano zinc oxide to protect skin from UVA/UVB damage and free radicals without irritation. It has a matte, non-greasy finish ideal for oily skin.

Example The Ordinary Skincare Routine for Acne and Oily Skin

Putting It All Together: A Sample Skincare Routine

Here is an example AM and PM skincare routine using The Ordinary’s best products for oily, acne-prone skin. Always introduce new products slowly and one at a time to assess for any irritation or adverse effects.

It may take some trial and error to find your ideal regimen based on your specific skin concerns and sensitivities.


  • The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser OR The Ordinary Glucoside Foaming Cleanser
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
  • The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
  • The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants


  • The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% OR 10% + HA (start by using twice a week, then slowly build up frequency based on skin tolerance)
  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% (use about 3 times per week in the evening, don’t use with other direct acids like lactic acid on the same night)
  • The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
  • The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

Evening The Ordinary Skincare Routine for Oily Skin and Acne-Prone Skin

Here is another example PM routine from The Ordinary specifically tailored to address acne and excess sebum in oily skin types:

  • The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
  • The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (2-3 times per week)
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% (2-3 times per week)
  • The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

This nighttime regimen uses salicylic acid to deeply cleanse pores, niacinamide to balance oil production and reduce blemish formation, azelaic acid to treat current breakouts and acne marks, and hydrating natural moisturizing factors to keep skin hydrated but not greasy.

Key Takeaways

  • Overproduction of sebum is the root cause of oily, acneic skin
  • Gentle cleansing, chemical exfoliation, sebum regulation, and hydration are key to clear skin
  • The Ordinary offers affordable but potent formulas for acne-prone skin
  • Lactic acid and niacinamide are gentler alternatives to glycolic acid and retinoids
  • Regular sunscreen use prevents increased sun sensitivity from acne treatments
  • Tailor your regimen based on your specific skin concerns and sensitivities

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best basic skincare routine for oily, acne-prone skin?

A solid basic routine includes a gentle cleanser, oil-free moisturizer, niacinamide serum, and SPF. Introduce leave-on acne treatments like retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid slowly. Always start with lower percentages and frequencies.

Should I use oils and heavy moisturizers if I have acneic skin?

Contrary to popular belief, even oily and acne-prone skin needs hydration. Look for lightweight, oil-free moisturizers or oils higher in linoleic acid like rosehip seed oil. Avoid heavy, comedogenic oils and creams.

How often should I exfoliate oily skin?

1-2 times per week is sufficient for exfoliation if using AHAs or BHAs. Over-exfoliating can impair your moisture barrier and cause irritation, worsening acne.

What ingredients should I avoid with oily, acne-prone skin?

Steer clear of alcohol, fragrances, and coconut oil/fatty alcohols which can clog pores and cause acne. Opt for oil-free products or oils like squalane and rosehip.

Should I use different skincare routines for morning and evening?

Yes, using acne treatments at night allows them to work while your skin repairs itself. Use gentler ingredients like niacinamide and antioxidants during the day. Always apply SPF in the AM.

Can I use multiple serums in my skincare routine?

Yes, you can layer serums, but it’s important to apply them in the correct order. Start with the thinnest consistency and work your way up.