I love Paula's products overall and her extensive research/writing on Beautypedia. I was thrilled when this product launched -- I hoped it would reduce a few spots of hard-to-treat sebaceous hyperplasia that I have! (Reducing sebaceous hyperplasia was one of this product's 9 benefits.) Unfortunately, I saw zero difference. When I realized this wasn't reducing them, I decided to use a light amount all over my face as a cost-effective salicylic acid peel like you'd get in a derm's office. I used it this way once every other week. Unfortunately, I broke out a few days later and my skin became REALLY dry and flakey.
I switched back to the 2% BHA Liquid and my skin is completely clear and smooth again. Overall, this worked no better for me than Paula's 2% BHA Liquid or Lotion -- which come in a large 4 oz bottle and costs much less per ounce.
Paula's Choice BHA9 is a very intriguing product to me. Reading the literature that came with it makes it look like a miracle worker. It seems to do everything that you could possibly want for your skin albeit in a very vague way.
Here are some of the claims: "Effective for: Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Keratosis Pilaris, Wrinkles, Reduces clogged pores, Diminishes enlarged pores, Reduces white bumps (milia), Minimizes flesh-colored bumps (sebaceous hyperplasia), Softens rough, dry, and flaky skin, Calms redness and irritation Fades marks from past breakouts, Reduces wrinkles and fine lines, Dissolves stubborn blackheads"
I have combination skin, very oily and breakout prone on my nose and chin, very dry cheeks, and normal forehead. My breakouts are usually due to the makeup I wear (or am testing out) rather than persistent acne. I do have fine lines, and I also have melasma on my cheeks and forehead.
I am actually quite impressed with this product. It exfoliated my skin without stripping it and making it feel raw, and I could actually see a difference in my skin within 1-2 days (not a big difference that other people would notice, but enough of a difference for me to think 'wow".)
I had been breaking out due to using a new foundation, and my normally clear skin had at least 6 new pimples on my cheeks and chin basically overnight. I was horrified and didn't know how best to treat them. Then I remembered that I had 2 sample sizes of BHA 9, and thought that using this couldn't hurt. So I applied to clean skin, and used nothing else on my skin that night. Within 48 hours they had vanished totally, no redness, no bumps. I applied a thick layer of this to my chin where I have been breaking out a lot recently and I noticed that the skin in this area peeled off in one big sheet the next morning. That was a strange sensation but it did leave my skin 80% clear (and just 2 days later my chin is 100% breakout free after using the same application technique). Now normally breakouts take a week or more to calm down, and can often take a month to disappear completely.
The product itself is a super sticky and yet oily liquid which you are supposed to use all over your face. I don't use all over my face but do use as a spot treatment on pimples, rough patches etc etc. Applied on a night before bed, the stickiness DOES NOT disappear, and in a morning I can still feel this product on my face (and my pillows and sheets too). It doesn't moisturize so you would need to add a separate product on top if you have dry skin. I found that the stickiness was enough for me to deal wth so I didn't apply anything else over the top. I can't comment on what it does for fine lines as I don't apply it to them, but I have seen first hand the exfoliating effects of this and think it might be too strong to apply around my eyes where my lines are.
It had no effect whatsoever on my melasma (but Alpha Hydrox Spotlight really did!) even when applying every day for months. It did make my skin peel but the dark spots were still there.
I notice some reviewers complaining about the pump, it has recently been changed to a "Precise Control Pump" which dispenses less than the old style pump did so maybe this would work better for them now.
As it is right now, this is a phenomenal product for zapping my pimples when they appear. Will definitely repurchase and keep this on hand for troublesome skin issues.
Ingredients from the Paula's Choice website:
Propylene Glycol (solvent/penetration enhancer), PEG-75, PEG-8 (thickeners), Water, Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/time-released exfoliant, 9%), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritant), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract), Sea Whip Extract (soothing plant extract), Arginine (amino acid/skin-conditioning agent), Polysorbate 20 (stabilizer), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent).
I haven't had any laser treatments yet, so this was a wonderful find. I like the pump dispenser with clear window to see how much product remains. Especially like the results. Noticed facial spots disappearing, and some larger imperfections getting smaller. Even though I am a post menopausal 55 year old I still get a pimple or two and Resist BHA 9 helps treat/ heal those too. I use one pump onto clean fingertips to dab onto specific areas at night after my usual skin cleansing ritual (which includes Olay Regenerist around eyes and small lines around mouth and jaw, then Paula's Choice BHA Gel 8%).
After reading reviews regarding using this product for sebaceous hyperplasia I decided it was worth a try. I used in nightly religiously until I ran out. I did nothing...Nada! What a waste of money. I was like I didn't even use a product at all. That being said then I found Arcona's The Solution. Amazing!! I had results the first time I used it. You wake up the next morning with smooth dewy skin. I have been using it just over a week, and the SH bumps are smoothing out. One product that actually does what it says. Can not recommend it enough.
I am true blue PC fan. I use quite a few of her products and my skin is generally in good shape. I decided to try this product to fine tune the last few stubborn "magnifying mirror" spots. This one was a MAJOR LETDOWN for me. Let's talk RESULTS first... I saw ZERO results from this product. Tried it on milia, brown spots, enlarged pores, blemishes, and one SH. Nada. Also tried on my son's milia - nothing.
The product is an oily substance that just sits on the skin. It doesn't seem like it absorbs. I've used PC retinol serums that have similar feel and my skin just drinks them in - but not BHA9!!!
The pump. Yes it is a pain. I finally mastered it. If you want just a small portion to spot treat. Tap tap tap like morse code. Do not depress it at all - just tap. It will "leak" a little out onto your finger with each tap that you can use to spot treat.
I tried the BHA 4% foam and MUCH preferred it. My son had remarkable results with the 4% Foam!
Love this product!! I had a huge, solid, deep cyst on my jawline that had been sitting there for literally weeks, I've used this twice, overnight, as the last step in my routine and already it's much, much smaller - literally halved in size.
Also used in on some new and older spots and the newer spots are literally vanishing. The older marks look a little better, after a couple of applications so I'm looking forward to the long-term results. However, I think the best use for this is for new spots, especially deep ones
The issue with this product is that the consistency (runny) is totally at odds with the way it's supposed to be use (as a spot treatment) It feels like an oil and one pump will give you quite a lot which will run down your fingers...it's too liquid to apply with a cotton bud unfortunately as it just gets absorbed. Would be really amazing if they'd formulate it a little thicker. In the meantime I try to do tiny little pump on each individual spot
My dry, sensitive skin had no issues tolerating this, which is good
I have some hardened pimple residue that remains under the skin and manual extraction can break blood vessels, which for me can be permanent. This stuff softens and draws junk to the surface. Absolutely worth a try if you are looking for a dense source of salicylic acid.
This product is on the expensive side for PC, and the pump leaves a lot to be desired. There is no way to control the amount that comes out . Yes, it stays sticky but is supposed to be used only AT NIGHT as a spot treatment. But I will continue to buy this because it works . I haven't noticed any changes in my fine lines, but I have been using it for about three months and my two dark spots (from sun damage) have faded significantly as well as the skin colored bumps that pop up all over my face and usually take a month or more to go away. This product also works on new breakouts, they are usually gone by morning ! I highly recommend this product .
This is a key player in my skin care regime. I use mostly Paula's products since I know what I am getting, the price is very reasonable and THEY WORK. This is a product that will intensely clean out your pores since BHA's exfoliate inside the pores (AHA's exfoliate the surface). I use a 2% BHA twice a day as a base before my serum/moisturizer and use the 9% strength on spots such as milia that develop under my eyes and pores that are inclined to get clogged around my nose and chin. I do this about every 10-12 days. Sometimes I use it all over my cheeks. It does an amazing job of clarifying the skin which is noticeable the next morning (this should only be used in the evening). The container releases a set amount of the serum probably so you only use the proper amount. I totally believe that there are no better skin care products around and that means at any price. These ingredients are not so rare that they command exorbitant prices and you should not be continued to be fleeced by exotic claims from cosmetics companies. It took me a while to break away from that belief but seeing is believing and my skin looks terrific.
Yes I was a sucker and bought this ridiculously overpriced product. It's a clear, sticky, gel with a thin consistency. No fragance. The container is tiny, and the pump squirts out an amount that is often more than I wanted, and then 1/2 of what squirted out dripped down the side. I applied to some areas of my face and body where I wanted extra exfoliation. I have oily/acneic/rosacea prone skin that does not shed on its own. This went on sticky and stayed sticky. I noticed less exfoliation than the PC 2% BHA, which made me question whether there really was 9% BHA in this stuff or if the formulation was reducing the exfoliative power of the BHA. It didn't break me out, irritate me, or do anything bad, but I also saw zero, zip, nada effect of any noticeable kind. I really like some of the PC products, but this was not one of them. For me, total waste of $$.