The (Extra) Ordinary
I was originally going to review my experience with Curology, a customized skincare formula for $20/month, but then I discovered The Ordinary which is anything but that. So, just to give a bit of context, I had been using Curology for about 8 months and I had been seeing positive results: fewer breakouts and fading hyperpigmentation. My custom formula included Clindamycin, Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide as the active ingredients and it was working really well. Unfortunately, Curology only operates in the U.S. so I had to use a shipment forwarding company to send it to a U.S. address and then send it to Toronto. Not only was that a hassle, but it was also expensive. Earlier this month, I came across The Ordinary, a skin care line by Deciem. All of the products by The Ordinary are named by their active ingredients and their formulas are just very pure versions of the active ingredients found in other products. When I noticed they had products of Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide, and both for under $15, I decided to go ahead and try these as alternatives to Curology.
I have been using both products for about a month now so I feel like I can now give an accurate review that speaks to the actual formulation and effects of the products. Starting with the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, I absolutely love it. Niacinamide is a vitamin-B3-derived antioxidant that fights acne, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation. The addition of Zinc in a 1% concentration is meant to help your skin regulate sebum and oil production. When I first started using it though, I did experience a "purge". Fortunately, it only lasted about 3 days and my skin immediately cleared up afterward. Just another word of caution, this formulation is pretty strong so you only need about 1-2 drops for the entire face. Anything more might cause your skin to feel tight and dry.
Besides acne and breakouts, my next biggest concern is the hyperpigmentation that is left behind after a breakout. Because I have a darker complexion, my skin produces more melanin during the healing process and that excess melanin production is the cause of a post-acne dark spot. Previously I had been using the Laneige Bright Renew Serum along with my Curology formula and both were working really well. I didn't expect the single Azelaic Acid formulation to compare to the combination of products I was using, but to my surprise I liked it even more (mostly because it was only like $7). But I have noticed the same or even faster results with this product. My skin tone is more even and I am noticing that more concentrated areas of hyperpigmentation are fading. This product has a very silky texture, similar to a silicone-based primer, however, it does have a tendency to pill if too much is applied or if applied too hard. To prevent pilling and to make sure my moisturizer sits well on top, I dot the formulation on my face and pat it in.
Overall, I'm very impressed with the two products I picked up from The Ordinary. If you enjoy skincare and you know the types of ingredients that work for your skin, it is a brand worth checking out.