Review The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%

Clique aqui para português.

This is one of those products that the more you research, the more you fall in love with. Its main ingredient is αlipoic acid (I’ll call it ALA). I didn’t know about the existence of ALA (also known as thioctic acid) until DECIEM launched this product. To be honest, I haven’t seen many companies using this molecule and I wonder why. It’s said that it’s 40,000% (that’s a lot) stronger than networks of Vitamins C and E together. ALA is highly sensitive to sunlight and it’s less stable when formulated with water or oil.

ALA is able to scavenge a number of free radicals. ALA is a fat and water soluble, sulfur containing coenzyme, and this is what caught my attention. ALA is unique among biological antioxidants because of its solubility both in oil and water. This special ability allows it to neutralize free radicals just about everywhere in the body, inside and outside the cells. As early as 1959, ALA was suggested to be an antioxidant, since it could extend the actions of vitamin C in guinea pigs, and those of vitamin E in rats.

Due to its unique sulfur-containing structure, ALA can scavenge several types of free radicals, such as the highly reactive hydroxyl, and singlet oxygen free radicals. It’s also capable of suppressing the generation of free radicals in the first place, since ALA chelates transition metals, such as iron and copper. Because ALA is involved in so many different antioxidant functions in virtually all body tissues, it has been called the universal antioxidant. Besides being a universal free radical scavenger, ALA can also recharge other antioxidant systems throughout the body. As mentioned, it can extend the activity of vitamins C, and E. In addition, ALA can also regenerate glutathione.

Alpha lipoic acid: the universal antioxidant with metabolic functions.


Alpha Lipoic Acid is a highly potent antioxidant and can restore a renewed skin appearance, improving visible skin texture and tone when applied topically. This formulation uses an exceptionally high 5% concentration of high-purity Alpha Lipoic Acid. 


  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid is highly sensitive to sunlight. Please do not expose to direct sunlight. Application to face is recommended at nighttime only. 
  2. Alpha Lipoic Acid is less stable in formulations that contain water and use of formulations of ALA containing water is highly discouraged. This formulation is water-free and may feel slightly “oily” for a few seconds after application.
  3. This formulation contains an extremely high concentration of ALA. Daily use is not recommended since such a high frequency of use can cause skin sensitivity. Please follow suggested use frequency.

Ingredient list

Very minimal formula. It’s composed of 95% of propanediol and 5% of ALA.

Propanediol, Thioctic Acid.

  • Vegan;
  • Water-free;
  • Alcohol-free;
  • Oil-free;
  • Silicone-free;
  • Nut-free;
  • Gluten-free;
  • Cruelty-free;
  • Fragrance-free.

Analysis of ingredients

Propanediol (95%): It can enhance the absorption of ingredients. It can be derived naturally from corn or also synthetically. It has hydrating properties. It is well-tolerated and not likely to cause sensitivity. It leaves a dewy finish;

Thioctic Acid (5%): Commonly known as alpha lipoic acid, this ingredient is a super antioxidant that is soluble both in water and oil. It can extend the activities of vitamins C, and E. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study was done to check the efficacy of a cream containing 5% of ALA related to facial photoaging. The study showed that the skin roughness decreased 50.8% on the ALA-treated side, compared with 40.7% on the other side treated with placebo.

Randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study on the clinical efficacy of a cream containing 5% α-lipoic acid related to photoaging of facial skin.

Acne triggers according to Cosdna


Irritants according to Cosdna


Safety according to Cosdna

All green.

CosDNA analysis: The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%.


Like most of The Ordinary’s bottle. A 30 mL dropper container.


Since ALA is an ingredient that needs to be protected from UV rays, this bottle has UV protective features. It’s an amber bottle.

Texture and scent

It’s very liquid. It reminds me of a dry oil. Once you apply it on the skin it takes maybe 1 minute to be completely absorbed. You have to be careful when applying because it might automatically come out of the dropper due to its low viscosity. It’s super runny. It has a yellowish color.


It doesn’t smell anything. However, an Instafriend told me he thinks it smells faintly as gasoline but I don’t notice anything.

How to use

Apply 2-3 drops over the entire face a maximum of 2-3 times per week. This treatment is highly concentrated and daily use is not recommended. Do not use on irritated or sensitive skin. Can be diluted with most oils per application to reduce strength.


My husband and I have been using this product for over a month. I usually use this product before my face cream and emulsion and he uses it before his cream too. I use a total of four drops three times a week and he uses three drops three times a week. Sometimes I add one drop to my face cream, just so I can get a few of its effects. What does it do for me? Well, it’s an antioxidant and can’t clearly see what it’s doing until you stop using it. However, I do experience my face healthier, and more glowy. This is something that I really like about this product. My husband’s face has also got a healthier, brighter, more glowy look, and the only thing I’ve added to his routine was this product. So yes, this product does give us both a healthier complexion.

When I first applied this product, I felt my face “warm”, and with a slight burning sensation, and so did my husband. He didn’t want to use it because after his first trial he was complaining that it burnt his face. I didn’t want him to stop using it right after the first application because I know how it works when your face gets in touch with something you haven’t used before. After maybe three applications it doesn’t “burn” our faces anymore. The only thing we experience now is a warm feeling. Before and after applying the product below.


This shiny finish doesn’t bother me because it’s a product that must be used during the night. The shine goes away after a few minutes.

Final thoughts

There isn’t much left to say. I like this product. It’s basic and well formulated. It’s affordable. Its vehicle can deliver the active deeper. It’s free of scent. It requires only 2-3 drops 2 to 3 times a week, and even though I use 4 drops and also share it, it’ll last a long time! It’s a multiuse product because you can use it anywhere you want such as neck, and hands (PM only).

P.S.: I started using two drops of it mixed with a body cream on my neck and hands during the night, otherwise I’ll never finish it.


Rate: 4/5

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2 thoughts on “Review The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%

  1. The burning wore off? – I’m wondering if I dare try it again..! ~ 1st time I had to wash it off immediately; honestly wondered if, as bottles arn’t sealed, someone had put real sulphuric acid in as it stung that bad?! Took a lot’ve gentle bathing to stop it, never had my face burn like that. *I’d used retinol the night before so maybe my skin was sensitive from that; very scary…!

    Liked by 1 person

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