Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

3.9

83 reviews

68% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals

INGREDIENTS

Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Polysorbate-20 (solubolizing agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent).


on 4/19/2015 7:10:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I've been using this for over a year, so I suppose it's time to review it!

First off: For me, this is not the miracle worker that some people claim it to be. However, for my skin, perhaps asking for a miracle is a little to much! Pretty much the only thing I DON'T suffer from are blackheads--however, I have acne (mostly pesky whiteheads; less frequently cystic and/or hormonal, nothing too serious but still annoying!), sebaceous filaments/large pores on my nose/side of nose, hyperpigmentation (both PIH and melasma), occasional general ruddiness . . . you name it.

I feel that the overall quality of my skin has really improved with regular (in the PM, often daily) use of this product. Some have reported irritation from it, but for me, it's the opposite. I feel like when my skin's at its worst--when I'm breaking out, suffering from dry winter skin, or some other irritation--this has a really soothing quality. I can't really explain it better than that, and of course, YMMV.

For the most part I've noticed an improvement in my "bad" acne--I still get the majority of my zits around my chin (thanks, hormones), but their severity/persistence pales in comparison to what they were like before I started using this product. When I do have a bigger breakout, it always heals quickly with minimal PIH (which I also historically have had problems with).

I have fairly hardy skin and the formulation seems to react well with pretty much every other product I use. My general (nighttime) routine with this is: gentle toner --> PC 2% BHA --> (wait 10-20 minutes) --> retinol serum or AHA lotion, used alternating nights --> extra moisturizer if needed. Kind of fussy, but if my skin likes it, I don't mind keeping it up.

Some have complained about the consistency, and/or worry about wasting product if used on a cotton pad. I shake out 4-5 drops into a clean palm, dab with clean fingertips equally across the face, and rub it in. Whatever is left in my palm, I take down my neck/chest. This is the perfect amount of product for me, with absolutely nothing wasted--and, as a result, one 4oz. bottle has lasted me OVER a year, and I still have 1/4 of the bottle to go! I almost wonder if it has an expiration date! So, for me, it's well worth the money (and I echo other users who say to NEVER buy it full price, since there's frequent sales). Plus, I agree that it can have a somewhat "oily" feel on the skin, but rubbing it in well and letting it dry properly seems to get rid of that problem for me.

Great product, and at least worth a sample or two if you're interested.



on 4/19/2015 12:49:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I have oily, sensitive, clog-prone skin. I've been using the Clear Regular Strength and/or Pore Refining BHA liquids for a long time, but they seem to be better for prevention rather than treatment. I'm guessing it's due to the fact that their ph's are a bit on the high side. Typically my only issue is closed comedones, but I've been having an unusual amount of inflammatory acne lately and decided to use one of my samples of this Perfecting 2% due to the lower ph.

First impression is that it is definitely stronger -- I experienced slight tingling which I've never had with the others. I also found it harder to spread and it took a little bit more product than usual to get full coverage (maybe I'm doing it wrong). Upon drying down I'm left with a sticky, shiny, tacky feel that never goes away, but blotting 20 minutes later seemed to help somewhat. I definitely would not be able to cope with this as a daytime treatment.

Upon waking this morning, it would appear that it sank in some more overnight and my skin does not look or feel much oilier than usual. Most importantly, it definitely worked: previously angry pustules have shrunk and are much less red. Incoming cysts have been halted and are 50% flatter. I would like to note that my skin tends to respond very quickly to stronger treatments, so YMMV when it comes to timeline.

My conclusion is that this product is probably going to work much better for those with stubborn clogs and inflammatory acne whereas the Pore Refining and Clear Regular may be more appropriate for maintenance and milder/occasional acne. I highly recommend using an AHA in addition to BHA if you are prone to clogs -- AHA gets rid of surface cells trapping the little jerks while BHA works to purge them out. It's also worth noting for sale purposes that this and the Clear EXTRA Strength liquid are the exact same product.

Although the amount/quality vs price is often better than their competitors, the prices of all PC products have risen substantially over the years and they have a tendency to reformulate without notice. Personal opinion aside, they do produce some very good, unique treatment products and their exfoliants in particular are some of the only options I have due to sensitivities and allergies. I also have luck with Garden of Wisdom's Mandelic Acid serum which works as a kind of BHA/AHA hybrid and may be starting a retinoid soon due to my skin's chronic, uncanny ability to self-produce deep closed comedones that no amount of OTC exfoliants can touch.

Will I repurchase? Maybe, but only when a good sale comes around. I personally wouldn't use this on a daily basis due to my overall preference for the Clear and Pore Refining, but for times such as now when my skin is in major moron-mode it would be nice to have on hand. One star docked for the unpleasant texture and finish.


on 3/15/2015 5:25:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

After only one time use, my skin was peeling and flaking. The product makes your face look shiny. The texture is also sticky.


on 3/12/2015 6:51:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Great product, love it! It has really helped to reduce my clogged pores. I had so many clogged pores that i couldnt count them, my skin looked especially bad under certain lighting because of all the comedomes. Even tretinoin gel, which i had been using for months, couldnt help them. So i decided to try this since i had bought it a while ago. I had previously tried using it but was detered by the breakouts.

Thankfully, i stuck through the breakouts this time, about 1 week. Washing my face feels so much smoother. Altho there r still some comdomes, it has reduced it by about 70%. Ive only used it for about 3weeks so it'll prob improve more. :)


on 3/9/2015 9:41:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I've found this exfoliant works wonders for my combination skin. I've been using it twice daily for 2 years now and my breakouts (which were BAD) have been virtually non existent, and my skin has felt and looked a lot smoother and healthier. The key to avoiding that annoying, slippery, greasy feeling on the skin is use it sparingly, a dab on a cotton pad is all I use and it works great. I also try to let it seep in for about 2 min before applying a moisturizer, since if it mixes with it and gets around my eyes it really dries the eye area out. The packaging could be improved, I have to transfer it to another bottle before traveling with it since the packaging leaks like no other unless it's kept perfectly upright. It's also a tad pricy but I've found a bottle lasts me about 4 months, so all in all well worth it!


on 3/2/2015 3:15:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

This is an excellent product, but alas, it isn't for me.

Pros - Amazing at gentle exfoliation of the skin surface AND inside the pores. Leaves skin smooth and softened.

Cons - This is probably not for you if you have dry skin. Because BHA is oil soluble, it can strip the skin of its natural oils. The 2% concentration proved too much for my dry skin. Instead, when I have pimples, I use PC's 1% BHA lotion (which I wish they would make in a liquid form).


Many people swear by this, and even some of my friends have great results with it, but if your skin is dry, I would recommend trying some samples first.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.


on 3/1/2015 9:09:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I must say that I do not rally care for Paula. I agree with the others that say her reviews are skewed to point you to her products; however, I must say that this product is a winner. I have Rosacea, and lately it has been out of control. Don't know if it is stress or hormones. I tried Finacea, and it did not do a whole lot for me. This product has toned down the redness and even got rid of a stubborn papple I had for almost a year. My skin is refined, smooth, and a lot less red. The combo that seems to be working for me now is Cerave foaming wash, followed by this. Then Olay microsculpting serum, Cerave a.m. or p.m., and Cerave eye cream. It does have some slip to it, as others have noted, but it is definitely not moisturizing. The slip is a non issue once other products are layered on top.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


on 2/26/2015 2:04:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I bought this last year, full size on sale, due to a blogger's recommendation. I'm not actually sure that it didn't do its designated job because I always gave in and washed it off. You're supposed to (in my understanding) use this as a sort of toner after cleansing. Put it on a cotton round, wipe on, done. But it left my skin feeling very slippery and didn't seem to "dry" or absorb. It bugged me so much, I always had to rinse it off. So, I can't say that it didn't do its job but it certainly didn't with me due to the ick feeling.


on 2/13/2015 1:25:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I really and truly wanted to make this work for me. I gave it two chances with almost a year apart until I decided that this makes my skin a living nightmare. I've read such raving reviews for it that I thought it was going to be the solution to my blackheads. Instead, my blackhead have never been more noticeable than when I was using this liquid. I started to break out along my chin and thought maybe its just purging all that nasty stuff away. I gave it several more weeks, and my breakouts got worst. It was painful cystic acne. I usually only get the hormonal breakouts too. So I stopped. I was recently reading a blog and her results with this was amazing so I decided to use it again. I like to learn the hard way, ya know? Anyways, several days in I noticed the breakouts again. I convinced myself (again) that it was purging. Then came the itchy, irritated, and inflamed skin. I was breaking out in places I normally never break out in. My whole face itches. I feel like it never fully absorbs either. It leaves a slight tacky film on my skin. Why did I ever think that it'll magically work for me? I'm really bummed that I didn't get the awesome results like so many people have.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.


on 1/12/2015 3:55:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I am 35 and suffer from adult acne and also have super sensitive and dry skin. I've tried so many different creams, lotions, alpha/beta peels, facials, and just anything under the skin to change my skin condition. Nothing really helps, and when it does it is just temporary. I stumple upon this product as I was reading up on Paula's Choice, and my I wish I pick this up a long time ago. You can tell a difference in your skin the next day. My skin is smoother now, black heads around the nose are dimishing and it has controlled my break out. I don't think I ever want to live without this product. It has done amazing things to my skin that I've never experienced before. The overall, packaging, price and product is great. I highly recommend it.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


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