Paula's Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid


85 reviews

81% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals


Active: Salicylic Acid 2%; Inactive: Water, Dipropylene Glycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Pentylene Glycol (slip agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Sodium Hyaluronate (water-binding agent), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Allantoin (anti-irritants), Panthenol (skin-conditioning agent), PEG/PPG-17/6/Copolymer (solvent), Methyl Gluceth-20 (skin-conditioning agent), Glycereth-26 (thickener), Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane (skin-conditioning agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Sodium Metabisulfite (stabilizer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent).

on 1/29/2015 3:10:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I don't know what it is but it seems the most popular things reviewed here are the things that irritate my skin the most.
I figured out a while ago I don't respond well or possibly I'm allergic to salicylic acid however I have never experienced the sort of reaction that this garbage chemical exfoliants causes.
I'm talking deep painful cystic pimples that do not go away for a long time. I used to use Clinique's mild exfoliating solution, and well it really dried and irritated my skin it certainly didn't cause that kind of reaction.
I tried a lot of PC products. They are all bad. I don't know what beautiful formulation actually means but in my mind if it causes your skin to freak out it's not beautifully formulated. At least not well enough for me, thanks.
Besides that the cosmetics cop is a hack. I can't stand that strident bitter woman.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 12/10/2014 10:26:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I have been using this product for about 2 months now and I absolutely love it. I was so nervous to try a well formulated BHA product because I was afraid I would "purge" or that it would irritate my skin. I did a lot of research on BHA's and in particular PC's BHA's. This one seemed like it would cause the least irritation and it's true! I have had no increased redness, any dryness, flaking, etc. It's very gentle on the skin. I use it with some cotton rounds I get at Target. I also just use this once daily, at night after I wash my face. I wait about 30-60 seconds for it to sink in a little and then apply my moisturizer. I do go through this very fast though, about 4 weeks, which sucks since I only use it once a day. However, it's worth it to me now. This has really kept my breakouts at bay. I would say this is great for someone who has more mild to slightly moderate breakouts. It helps with my blackheads, comedones, and whiteheads mainly. I haven't noticed a significant improvement in a few of my past hyperpigmentation marks that were before I used used this, but it's understandable. But any new pimples I have since had, the hyperpigmentation is very light and not as dark as it used to be, probably because I used to use an acne product with alcohol in it (yikes!).

I did not experience any "purging" but after about 3-4 weeks I noticed it brought a couple of closed comedones I had around on my face from something else I used to the surface, which I was actually thankful for. I will seriously never use a facial scrub again. My skin is so sensitive that even the most gentle scrubs would cause irritation and increased breakouts. This is a miracle product for me. If you're just starting out to BHA's this is a great one to start with and then if you feel it doesn't work out for you, I would say you could try a different formulation of PC's BHA. Since this one is so gentle, it may take 1-2 months to see full results. It is so gentle I believe because the pH is a little higher than the other BHA's that some people claim are irritating because the pH is lower. This one according to the PC's website pH range is about 3.5-3.9. It doesn't penetrate the pore as fast as one that may be like 3.2 (I'm assuming).

This is the only PC product I have tried and I am absolutely in love. I just received my third bottle of this stuff! Also, if this is anyone's first purchase, I have a referral link where you can get $10 off your first purchase. ( I wish I would have known about that before because I paid full price. They always seem to have free shipping and coupon codes so look out for those too!

Edit (2/4/15):
Just wanted to update and say I am stilling using this and loving it. I still experience breakouts, because I am extremely stressed with my life right now. I get menstrual breakouts as well. This fades the red marks very quickly in my opinion though and helps the inflammation tremendously. I am also using PC's Hydralight Toner now, morning and night. I really like that so far, it's helping my skin out a lot. I'd recommend that as well. It's very gentle and soothing, also it gives a little extra antioxidants to the skin!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 11/14/2014 12:49:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I've been using this product twice a day for a week now and I'm covered in little red bumps and little whiteheads everywhere. Within 24hrs of starting this product, my face began erupting. I'm debating whether to continue on for another week with the hope that this is just the purging process, but I'm thinking that I'm allergic to 1 or more ingredients and should probably stop using it. What to do, what to do. This is the only product I'm currently using on my skin, so I know that this is the only one to blame. The weird thing is, my rosacea has calmed down a lot since starting this treatment. My pores have always gotten smaller and I haven't had any large breakouts either. But these dozens and dozens of little bumps look awful. If I feel brave enough to go another week like this, I'll update again.

on 11/9/2014 1:19:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Black, Wavy, Other

Eyes: Black

I love PC products and this is one of them. I have been on Accutane before so I don't often get breakouts and I use her products to maintain my skin. Was originally using the 2% skin perfecting liquid exfoliant but found it to be too drying. I switched to this and definitely prefer this over the 2% liquid.

This one is very lightweight and watery. It sinks into the skin immediately upon application unlike the 2% liquid which remains as a film over my skin and I did not experience any dryness with this one. I love PC exfoliants, they are very well formulated and really do prevent pimples and clogged pores. When I do get pimples, they are small and rarely last more than 3 days.

If you find the 2% skin perfecting liquid to be too drying, I suggest this one, its more gentle but with the same effect. Afterall it also contains 2% BHA in a more gentle formula. Also this helps with redness, plus its cheaper than the liquid. Double bonus!

on 10/21/2014 2:45:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Does not irritate me. Haven't seen dramatic decrease in my long-term blackheads yet, but have noticed reduced break-outs.

The full-size packaging dispenser is good for finger tip application, but the travel-size releases too much product - messy and wasteful.

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

this product - omg YES! i have rosacea and it can get just really red and patchy sometimes and this has been absolutely fantastic. i put this on my skin at night and when i wake up in the morning my skin is calmed, clear and about 80% of my redness is gone!! it doesn't sting when you apply it and it has the texture and appearance of water that just sinks into the skin without leaving a sticky or shiny residue. this BHA product has salicylic acid which is a chemical that clears and prevents acne and i can safely say that in the 4 months i have used this product, i have only had 1 breakout since!

on 6/17/2014 10:07:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I HAVE THE DELUXE SAMPLE This product is ideal for oily skin. The last thing someone with oily skin wants is another lotions on their skin and this feels like water literally. My skin just soaked this up I didn't feel any oiliness or feel any shine.
My acne has been stubborn and hasn't gone away but this did do something-- the pimples flattened. The darkness is still there from the acne unfortanutely it only reduced a little but there's nothing to pick at.
The packaging needs some work too much can be poured out at once.
It comes with directions you can pour this on a cotton ball but the cotton may absorb more toner or leave flurry specks. I found using my hand helpful the liquid did drip through my fingers but it didn't happen very quick.

on 6/15/2014 2:07:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Oily, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Grey, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Green

I've been using it daily for the last six months together with the 2% BHA Liquid - I use CLEAR for the day and the BHA Liquid for the night. Unlike the BHA Liquid, it absorbs very quickly, almost like water, and allows other products (serum, moisturiser, SPF) to be layered on top. I can't say that it has "transformed" my skin and I still get an occasional pimple/cystic acne but definitely less frequently than before I started using these two products.

on 5/7/2014 9:43:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

This stuff gets the job done. It's really helping with my closed comedones and hormonal acne. I originally was using the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA liquid but I found it pretty drying. I've gotten the same results with this formula without the dryness, and it really does help reduce redness.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 5/6/2014 2:30:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I've never had more than mild-moderate acne, but it has plagued me for 20 years and, other than when I was taking one specific oral contraceptive (that I can no longer take), I've never had completely clear skin.

I have tried other salicylic acid products in the past, but have never had any success with them and have done better with products containing benzoyl peroxide. However, after reading the rave reviews for this product, I decided to try it. I have been using it daily for about six months now. Initially I used it only in the morning, but after seeing improvement without any undesirable effects, added it to my evening routine as well. I have not experienced ANY dryness or irritation whatsoever, not even in the first few days of use. It has a water-like texture and feel, and I have no issues applying makeup afterward.

My skin is CRYSTAL clear. Not only have I had just ONE pimple in the last two months, all of the congestion is gone too! I have no more blackheads and no more of those flesh-colored bumps! My skin is even toned and smooth, and looks better than it has EVER looked, by far.

Right around the time I began using this, I completely overhauled my skincare routine (to include several other PC products), so I can't say this product is entirely responsible, but it is certainly contributing. I will definitely repurchase!

In case anyone is interested, here is the regimen I've had tremendous (and sustained) success with:

Garden of Wisdom Jen's Green Tea & Shea cleanser (gentle version)
PC Clear Regular Strength 2% SA Anti-Redness Exfoliator
Avene Triacneal cream
Elta MD Clear SPF 46

Garden of Wisdom Jen's Green Tea & Shea cleanser (gentle version)
PC Clear Regular Strength 2% SA Anti-Redness Exfoliator
PC Clear 2.5% BP 10% AHA lotion
PC Moisture Boost Cream

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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