I "upgraded" to this product from Clinique's Mild Clarifying Lotion (which has 0.5% BHA compared to the 1% in this) in the hope that this would do a more thorough job of smoothing my skin and eradicating blackheads. I currently use this twice a day, in the morning and evening after cleansing.
The gel isn't quite the consistency I was expecting; it's a lot runnier that I imagined - more like a slightly gooey liquid (which is how I thought the liquid product variant would be). Nonetheless it sinks in easily without feeling tacky, and seems to suit my oily/combination skin well. Even when my cheeks and nose are looking a bit flaky and dehydrated, it doesn't exacerbate any dryness, provided I use moisturiser afterwards. So in terms of application and feel, it certainly ticks all of the boxes; but does it perform over the Clinique lotion? I'm pleased to say yes! My skin feels the smoothest it has in a long, long time, and my blackheads are generally reduced across my nose. I do still get them, but they're less noticeable and deep-seated. This isn't to say that you should expect an overnight result - it's taken a number of weeks of gradual improvement to reach this point, and I found that some of the results crept up on me, like some of the pesky milia that have finally disappeared.
I'm a real BHA convert; there are so many benefits I've discovered from using this type of product: I've found that the number of breakouts I get has reduced while using this BHA. It has a wonderful anti-inflammatory effect that reduces the redness I have from rosacea. My skin's oil production has gone down a notch so I can go longer before needing to blot. I wish I'd found out about this stuff years ago; it's that good! I will definitely buy again, but may try out the 2% formula instead - here's hoping my rosacea-induced sensitivity can handle it. So far this is definitely my favourite Paula's Choice product; it's quite expensive here in the UK but it has a more pronounced effect than the other things I've tried from there.
I have sensitive, dehydrated acne prone skin which can also turn oily sometimes......Tried the gel version out after the lotion version to see which one will work better........but this one didn't seem to work but dry out my skin and there fore more breakouts........i find usually the stuffs that are made for oily combination skin will make my face worst........will try the rest of the exfoliates for dry skin or all skin types to see which one will be better for me.........
I like this, though I usually use the 5% AHA and cautiously. However, it's summer and I am breaking out more, so I switched to this. I always keep samples on hand to use on my forehead and hairline when I break out and find it helps. I find the gel less irritating and drying than the lotion. I got the whole can, as I was always ordering more. It is summer and I started using it on my arms and entire face instead of the AHA. My nose and the area around it gets red and I break out on my forehead and hairline and elsewhere. It clears out the dead skin in my pores on and near my nose. They aren't white heads exactly and I wasn't flaking, but it was noticeable up close. AHAs don't help with that. The only thing it doesn't do, that AHAs and retinols do better, is give skin clarity. It's a little bit sticky but dries fast. That might be a problem if you used more. There is an initial chemical smell too that fades quickly.. I have used the 2% as well on my forehead and as a sport treatment, before they came out with the 9%. Most people will most likely want the 2%, but if you want something gentler, this is a good option. It does not irritate my skin, even on days when I am not tolerating the 5% AHA. I can make me a bit tight, so it's not an every day thing for me. I am using on my arms too for KP. This is the gentlest BHA I have every found.
Update: Still loving this and it does not make me red.
HI, I've been using this product for about 9 months ... I am 33 with combination skin.
I have always been acne prone and while i was on the pill for 3 years this improved alot. Then I came off the pill and my skin reverted back to its acne prone state. I have stuck with the product because i think over the months my skin on my face feels more 'thick' (Paula says this product encourages collagen prodcution) and I know that the pimples are due to me not being on the pill anymore rather than the product not working.
I can now use the product every day without any redness and when this bottle is empty I will upgrade to the 2%. I've read alot of comments about how it made ppls faces red etc. This happened to me but after a month it settled and I only used it every two or three days according to how my skin tolerated it.
Another reason I think it works well as an exfoliant is because I used to come out in pimples after using makeup and I used to dread the 'day after' using makeup. But now I can use makeup and the next day my skin is no worse. for the first time I can put makeup on all day and for multiple days at a time and my face doesn't break out :)
Even though it is about $30+ in australia it has lasted for nine months so far and there is about a quarter of the bottle left.
Felt compelled to share my own experience with this product after finding my own review had been removed on the Paula's Choice site. I have a combination skin with large pores and a problem with black heads, which I simply cannot seem to get rid of. I use quite a few Paula's Choice products and am quite happy with most of them. So I was rather confident that this gel was going to work for me too.
I especially started on 1%, this being my first experience with BHAs. After using the product for a few days only, my skin became so dry and tight that it looked as if it was going to burst when I smiled. You know the way people with skin burns look when their skin heals? That's how I looked. My T-Zone was literally different to the rest of my face. It was horrible. No amount of moisturising helped either, and lo and behold, the blackheads were still there.
I only applied it to my T-Zone, taking special care not to come in contact with my eyes. So I wrote to Customer Care, who told me that this basically never happens and that I must be doing something wrong. I was also advised to used it only every other day. After the condition the stuff left my skin in, I wasn't going to touch it again.
Up to then, all my reviews of Paula's Choice products had been very good. So I signed in, gave the product one star and explained what happened. After submitting my review, I was again contacted by customer care. They suggested changing my review and using different words like "I must have used it wrongly". I refused and said, no, that's censorship. So they agreed to post my review as is (it wasn't defamatory, I am not an angry or malicious person, I just wrote exactly what happened.
What then happened was that the review was taken away completely after about half a year. I live in Germany. If you visit their German site, see for yourself. The product has strangely enough "never been reviewed", yet all the products have. So at the end of the day, I just think that's very wrong. After always raving about the other products, for once, you, the customer, are not allowed to give your honest opinion anymore when you are unhappy about a product.
I still use Paula's Choice, but I will never touch that stuff again and can only warn you to be very careful when using it. You can get samples of all the products, try it out first to see if it works for you, but the moment your skin starts feeling dry like parchment, it's too late. It is not a sign the stuff is working. Stop using it immediately.Your skin will need at least a week to recover.
So the thing is, I really got the feeling that one is only allowed to write good reviews about Paula's Choice products. It made me wonder about all the other excellent reviews too, but seeing that I myself contributed to a few of them, I am just slightly thrown into doubt by the way criticism is handled. On a positive note, Paula's Choice does offer you a money-back guarantee (I didn't bother though, own fault), but the 21 EUR or so the stuff costs could not recompense the damage to my skin.
This product exfoliate well. Since I have acne, I prefer using chemical exfoliant. After using this I do notice my skin gotten more smoother and the small bumps have improved. However my skin is a little bit sensitive so I could only use this at the most, ever other day. Also, every time I use this, my skin produced more oil. Must be a skin reaction to the product. Therefore I could only give this a 4
Just want to add that this will only exfoliate, it will not help with other form of acne. If you acne is cause my congestion then this may help, but if it was cause by other means, then this will do little.
I have been trying out Paulas brand for a few months now and i was excited when i had originally gotten a few samples of this solution, though it doesn't make me break out the cucumber smell is a little too much for me to bear. So in my personal case i would probably not purchase this again.
Worked for me while AHA's don't. Doesn't sting. After using a gentle cream cleanser, then toner, I depress maybe half a pump's worth of product into my palm, and then use my finger to spread some of it on my forehead, around my nose and then chin (basically my T-zone). If there's any product left I'll spread between my hands and tap lightly onto the upper cheeks. It's made my skin much smoother and gotten rid of the whiteheads around my nose. I follow up with a moisturizer after. Price is decent for the amount of product. Since I barely use a bean-sized drop of this per day it will last a really long time.
I don't know whether it is BHA that just doesn't agree with my skin. Or just Paula's Choice 1% BHA Gel products don't. This one broke me out in tiny red pimples after just one night. I tried it again after several weeks off and it happened again and again. After 3 times same reaction, I don't know whether it is how it works or what but I don't want to get pimples. It's more upsetting cos I bought it after following the advice from the official seller and it just doesn't work. I am not sure what to do with the rest of the product but it's so expensive for something I cannot use. What a waste.
I just finished 2 samples, each sample lasted about a week using it in the evenings only. I started using PC's Clear Targeted Acne Relief Toner with 2% Salicylic Acid at the same time and have seen great results. I have very senstive combo skin and have no irritation at all from this. I suffer from clogged pores and the occasional cystic zit. The gel managed to keep one or two cystic zits down, and helped with the inflammation on one that got through. I think it's better suited to treating clogged pores, I have a significant decrease in the last 2 weeks. I have several other samples of PC's BHA products to work my way through, but would definitely purchase this one in the future.