I only had to use this product once, and immediately broke out in little bumps all over my face. Im unsure why as my skin can tollerate aha/bha combo creams.
Waste of money for me. Isnt my only PC dissapointment.
I am now onto my second bottle so I feel I can finally give an honest and knowledgeable review on this product. A background on my skin, I have combination/oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin and this past year I developed moderate to severe acne which left me with hyper pigmentation marks as well as closed comedones. I was prescribed Accutane & Spironolactone which both have helped my hormonal acne a lot but this product was and is a miracle for my skin.
I initially started with a sample of the Extra strength formula and then moved on to this using it once or sometimes twice daily. Within the first week I noticed an improvement in the closed comedones all over my cheeks which are clogged pores from the cystic acne I was having. The first 2 weeks my skin did get worse before it got any better, meaning that even though my skin looked much more calm I did break out more than usual. After the second week it stopped and I was back to getting the usual 2-3 pimples a week and I also noticed that the pimples would heal faster.
Gradually over time my clogged pores have 95% cleared so my skin texture is pretty much back to normal. Break outs are usually in line with my time of the month now so I still do get the hormonal one or two but nothing like before which has amazed me.
The product itself is a clear liquid almost like a toner consistency. I apply some on to a cotton pad and swipe over my face after cleansing. The Regular strength formula leaves a shiny finish but its nothing uncomfortable. The extra strength version has a much more 'sticky' feeling afterwards in comparsion. At first I did get some dryness and flaking even with my usual moisturiser but when combined with Paula's Choice Hydralight lotion my skin had no dry patches apart from healing blemishes.
I really am impressed with this product and I definitely will continue to use this daily. For anyone experiencing acne or clogged pores I would thoroughly recommend this as a skin care item to help manage their skin. Skin care can't prevent hormonal acne but it helps to reduce congestion. It's not a cure but it sure is close for me!
I have been battling hormonal chin acne since 2008. The Clarifying Lotion #3 from Clinique had kept me clear for about a year and a half until Clinique decided to reformulate the product, and it no longer worked on me. Ever since then, I tried different salicylic acid products and nothing worked until I bought this product from Paula's Choice.
I first started using it in August 2013. For the first couple of months, the product caused some purging on my chin, which I controlled with a 2-month course of doxycycline (an oral antibiotic). My antibiotic course ended in October 2013, and for the past 3 months, I have continued to use this product on its own, and it has kept me substantially clear and reasonably happy. Apart from my cleanser and eye cream, this is the only product that I apply to my face. I use it twice a day, so I go through the product pretty quickly. I am now on my 7th bottle.
2 lippies off for price because of expensive shipment costs (I live in Japan and purchase from the US website).
Another 2 lippies off for packaging. Once opened, the bottle may leak when travelling.
I used to be a fan of the 2% bha liquid, but the texture left something to be desired. I hated the way it felt slimy and heavy on my skin. I guess it was formulated that way to keep skin from drying out. Eventually I stopped using it and started looking for something else. When PC came out with the clear line, I immediately purchased the toner. I'd heard it had the texture of water, and it does! I swipe this on, and it feels like nothing, much more comfortable than the bha liquid. I've heard the Clear extra strength toner has the same texture as the bha liquid, so stay away if you're not a fan either. I've gone through multiple bottles of this toner, and can say it is an absolute HG. I am never with out this product. This is the secret to clear skin for me. When I first started using BHA toner, it took about a month and a half to start seeing full results. I use it almost every night. I would say a bottle lasts me 2-3 months with generous use.
As a guy here on MuA, skincare is more important than makeup. And if I had to pick up a HG skincare item this would be the one. I can easily switch around other products in my routine, but I would literally be lost without this one.
For reference, I have sensitive combination-oily skin which can get easily dehydrated. That's why my moisturizers can't be anything less than a lotion, and I can't go overboard with BHAs because my skin get tight and starts flaking. It's true that an AHA would have been more beneficial for improving my skin's hydration level, but I'm better off with a BHA which keeps in check occasional break outs while helping maintain my pores clean.
The amazing thing about this product is the texture. Unlike the BHA Liquid or Extra Strength Toner it won't look oily and won't feel sticky. It has an almost tap-water consistency. It dries up right away and there's no need to wait for it to "sink in". And because it is not a cream or a gel, it will not unexpectedly balling up with your moisturizer/sunscreen.
It is also quite gentle for a 2% Salycilic Acid and for some people like me that's a great thing. Because it contains a gentler penetration enhancer like Dipropylene Glycol and the pH is only low enough to be effective, it is less likely to irritate sensitive skin and can easily be alternated with a stronger AHA product or used simultaneously with a prescription retinoid.
I was applying it twice a day regularly for some time. But I noticed I would get the same result applying it only once, in the morning, before sunscreen. As usual, with exfoliants it's better to stick with the lowest amount which is effective. Your skin will feel less tight and it will be better able to tolerate other ingredients with irritating properties, like prescription retinoids and serums containing a high percentage of Vitamin C.
Some people complain about the price compared to similar products in drugstore aisles. But when you consider the amount of product you get, it is just as cheap. It retails for $22 on the Paula's Choice website but there are often 25% off discounts on it. That's pretty good if they also happen to be offering free shipping.
I use the Stridex pads and those work great on me. I got the regular strength one of this and it just doesn't seem to work as good. I also purchased the maximum strength so I will try out those ones, but I wasn't really impressed as my acne started to get a little worse while changing from Stridex to this. I do however love the fact that this doesn't contain menthol which the stupid Stridex ones do have.
I've gone through one full bottle of this and it's become part of my daily routine - I can't go without it! I'm in my 30s, with skin that's somewhat sensitive, oily t zone with enlarged pores on and around my nose, no blackheads & no acne problems other than a small spot now and again. I started using this and a week later noticed that my skin looked a little 'brighter' and more evenly toned. Then I fell off the wagon - was traveling and didn't bring any with me. After a week of disuse I noticed that my skin was duller just didn't look as good. I've since been using it every night for the past month or so. In addition to improvement in overall brightness and tone, it's helped to shrink my pores and (I think) has even slightly smoothed out some fine lines around my mouth. I still get the occasional pimple, but this helps to resolve them more quickly. For example, I recently got a couple of small bumps after an eyebrow wax, and this cleared them up completely in 2 days.
Admittedly this is the first chemical exfoliant I've used regularly, so can't compare to other products... but I'm satisfied with the results, and it hasn't caused any new problems, so don't see a need to move up to something stronger at the moment. It's well worth the cost and I'll continue to use it every day!
I got this as a free sample from the gracious ladies at PC (I call and complain about my skin and they send me samples, ALL THE TIME.) and I think they knew it would be in their best interest. I had heard this was a favorite, and I can see why. First some back story: I've tried 8 PC exfoliants, which may be almost of them, and this is one of the best (the 5% Resist is probably my absolute favorite). I had tried all 3 of the Skin Perfecting BHA and the gel was my favorite but I was still getting little clogs. So I tried the liquid and INSTANTLY all these little bumps rose up and I was horrified. I returned it asap and didn't even want to use Salicylic acid again. But they told me that SA is your best bet for bumps and to try this. So they sent me the bottle and so I did. I have to say, I *may* have jumped the gun by returning the liquid BHA because this did the same; it made all the little bumps rise up. But instead, I extracted them (A huuuggeee no-no, usually ends in cysts a few days later) and rinsed off and put on a little more. I was majorly clogged and they weren't budging so I figured this is as far as they are coming out, I have to get them out on my own. Of course I was all red after, but this stuff really does help soothe the redness and so far no cysts (fingers crossed!!). I don't want to keep extracting, so if it continues to push up bumps I don't know how long I can deal with that, but if it was just a matter of getting the initial stuff out, and will keep me smooth from then on, I will continue with this. Will update, but thought I'd share that. If you get bumps, keep trying at least for a little and see if it helps. This is probably better than the Extra-strength/Skin perfecting liquid (imo at least).I also do use that 5% AHA at night.
Update: I'm sorry to say, but I've stopped using this. I kept feeling bumpy and a few of them grew into pimples (which is expected when I pop them). But the bumps didn't stop. I initially reviewed this after using it for a few days and kept going but I feel like when it doesn't work at first, it usually doesn't EVER work. A product has to be working 'ok' or at least not CAUSING and issue for me to continue to trust it. (That purging nonsense is just that to me, I never have gotten past that with any product that suddenly started to work, and I'm talking about stuff I used for years too). My skin isn't perfect, but I don't normally have THIS many hard bumps. I had it initially had this issue start with the BHA 9, and it didn't fully clear. My skin is better with just the AHA 5, so I'm taking this out, it's not helping. If anything, it's making it worse.
Out of all the BHA products Paula offers in the 1% and 2% range, (and yes I've tried each one) this is the one I like best. No stickness or strange texture like the BHA gel/lotion and does not add any greasy feel to my face.
I have senstive/oily skin with blackheads on my nose. BHA is essential for me, daily, without question. Not only does it help wth pore size, it helps with redness in my cheeks and the occasional zit. I don't breakout often, but when I do, it use to take FOREVER for the redness to heal. Not with this stuff.
This, along with nightly use of my Clarisonic mia2, has greatly reduce the appreance of my blackheads and pores. I was a fan of the Neutrogena 3-in-1 Acne Stress Control gel but it has gotten so hard to find. This is my HG subsitute. I actually think this works better for me anyway, since it's is liquid instead of moisturizer on my oily skin. If I get lazy on the weekend and don't do my routine, I can tell a difference almost overnight. The texture of my skin just isn't as calm and even as it is when I use this.
I think it's a little overpriced, to be honest. On the other hand, I don't mind paying a little bit mroe for something that actually works and isn't loaded with scent and other irrantants that make my skin itch and get red or bumpy.
While I can't attest to how it manages acne in terms of someone struggling with chronic breakouts, I can say that if you are dealing with pore size/blackheads and uneven texture from roseaca or clogged pores, this could be a lifesaver!!
Just like with everything else in Paula's line, this product should get an award - seriously.
I am not a teen and cannot speak for the strength of this product on serious acne. I am in my late 20's and I do get break outs occasionally. When they happen they are annoying and hard to get rid of. I used to use Bliss serum for acne-prone skin, which worked wonders but made my skin oily. This exfoliator is very gentle and is a better option to their regular 2% BHA. I used that one and even though I like it quite a bit, it just felt too strong for my skin (perhaps it is meant to be used only once a week). This CLEAR exfoliator does not sting my face, it definitely calms the redness, it makes your face feel super soft and clears the pores. I apply this at night after washing my face with CLEAR pore clearing cleanser, along with RESIST super-light antioxidant serum and Hydralight moisturiser. And in the morning after I wash my face I don't even have to sqeez my pores to get oily gunk out, it just comes out with no effort at all and my pores are starting to look smaller!
If you have clugged pores, redness and acne - give this line a try.