Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant


286 reviews

81% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


Water, Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (chamomile/soothing agent), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (water-binding agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA (water-binding agents), Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Hydroxyethylcellulose,), Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben (all preservatives).

on 9/13/2015 10:33:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

After 2-3 years of sudden acne on my cheeks, I've finally found something that has helped clear things up. I went through tons of all natural, gentle products for my skin, and then prescriptions from my dermatologist. Nothing worked and my skin kept getting worse and worse. The most results I saw was when I really cut down on dairy, which helped to stop the cysts, but I still had clogged pores and small pimples.

About 4 or 5 months ago I discovered Paulas Choice. I first tried the acne line, but after months of trial and error, I realized the BHA's just don't work for me. They always made my skin really red and I kept breaking out. However the benzoyl peroxide worked awesome, which really surprised me because I always thought it didn't work on my skin. About 2 months ago I started using the AHA gel and thats when i started to see a difference. My pores are no longer clogged and I stopped waking up with more pimples! I still get small pimples sometimes, but they go away quickly and there aren't as many. The only thing I have left to deal with is the hyperpigmentation. Its taking a long time to go away. Anyways, I would definately buy this stuff again!

on 9/4/2015 12:07:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Red, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Green

Omg I actually LOVE THIS STUFF!! I think I am becoming obsessed with Paula products.... I am sooo glad she is fragrance free.. I had an allergy test done and they told me I was allergic to fragrence and essential oils.. Which is shocking to me, but is one reason why I kept breaking out from so many products!!

Anyways, one particular face wash ended up giving me horrible acne, whiteheads everywhere.. was horrible. Unfortunately the doctor had to put me on accutane, I am on month 5... and I use this stuff --> Its that gentle. I am passed the stages of peeling skin on accutane, although I still have a month left.. This is gentle enough it doesn't burn me or aggravate me at all! All her products have been amazing in bringing my skin back to life.

Although my acne cleared up, I still have big pores on the top of my cheeks, and noticeable superficial scarring.. This products ( just from the sample) immediately helped clean out my pores, making them appear smaller.. and has made my scarring seem flatter! All from a weeks use of a tiny sample.. Needless to say I ordered the full size !!

PS want 10$ off? Use my code

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 8/8/2015 10:19:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

+ Make skin smoother, softer
+ Improve skin tone

+ Absord slowly
+ Itchy if you have serious blemishes
+ Have to go through breakout period ( after that my skin is much better )

on 8/3/2015 11:55:00 AM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I did write a negative overall review for Paula's Choice products because almost every moisturizer has silicones in them and many of the serums do. My skin cannot tolerate silicones, I get raised red bumps when I use anything with silicones. So I wish she offered more products that did not use sillicones in them. I also feel that her products have gotten more pricey and many of them don't offer much more value or effectiveness than department store products. That being said, I have used the 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant for a year and I like this product a lot. I notice a smoother and more even toned skin. My only issue is that it pills underneath my moisturizer. So for day time use it could be an issue for some. The instructions say to use it twice a day. I don't care if it pills at night cause who's going to see me anyway, LOL. But I wish I didn't have that issue with daytime use and that is the only reason why I gave it 4 lippies instead of five.

on 7/19/2015 2:56:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I purchased the product on 4/20 and have been using it about every other day since, still going strong. When I purchased this, I also obtained the 2% Liquid BHA and the Skin Recovery SPF 30 moisturizer/sunscreen. So far, it's been a pretty mixed bag, but this AHA is a total knock-out.

I have dry skin so flakes and scaly-ness is an issue for me. Additionally, in my hunt for the HG foundation (I work a front-facing job so having a well-groomed appearance is a big deal) along with a medication that has made my skin more sensitive, I sometimes get break-outs. I find this AHA does a really great job of killing blemishes, reducing the size of left-over face craters without scarring, and lessens some of the flakiness. It doesn't kill it entirely, but it does help.

That, and the fact that for an effective use of the product, I need to use two pumps instead of one which means I go through the product just a little bit faster. If I only use one pump, my face is very red and still very flaky the next day; this is not an issue with two pumps. I don't know exactly the reason why that is--initially, I thought perhaps the 8% was too high, but doubling the amount makes it tolerable so I'm not sure that is the case here.

I have seen some people report break-outs after using this product, but that was not my personal experience with it. As with almost all cosmetics, ymmv.

Despite these issues, I really like this product. The pump makes it hygienic and it is effective. I find my skin has become less dry over time using it, and I intend to keep using it for the foreseeable future (until either my skin acclimates or PC discontinues, whichever comes first.) I'd definitely recommend it!


- Reduces flakiness
- Lessens time for break-outs
- Reduces scarring
- Reviewer did not experience break-outs as a result of using this product


- More effective with two pumps rather than one (per directions)
- Some people have reported break-outs with this product
- Does not completely remove flaky skin
- Can cause redness with one pump?

on 7/13/2015 12:47:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I took advantage of a great sale recently on the site and thought I would give this a go. I had used AHA products before but at weaker strengths so I was surprised that on first use when my face was tingling and turning red. I didn't experience this on subsequent uses. I like the packaging and the pump, which dispenses a good amount of product that is just right. The product is a light gel that I find both spreads and absorbs easily onto the skin. I can't speak for any anti-ageing observations as of yet, but this product makes my face feel smooth and flake free and thus, makes my makeup go on and look better. It has made my face look clearer, healthier and brighter. It also has helped my pores look better too. Unexpectedly, it has helped fade acne scarring and has cleared up certain persistent spots that keep returning even after turning into scars, they just come back again. However, it now looks like they have cleared up for good. So my face does look clearer as I now have less blemishes. However, I am most prone to breakouts on my jawline and while this product has helped calm down the area for the most part it remains to be problematic. I feel I should look into bha products to tackle this area. I love this product as it isn't too often you find a skincare product that you see drastic and quick results with. I rave about this product to family and friends. I can see that it wouldn't work for everyone, but at least PC offers samples. I may not be a fan of beautypedia, but I do love this. I do wish the product was a bit more affordable, but if I had to I would pay full price. I use this every night.

on 6/19/2015 2:45:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Blue

other then good spf 30 sunscreens all she does is either meh or triggers my acne.
this one is just meh, it,s boring. a little to harsh, created flakes the second day and no visible results. my pih is still there after the treatment. also the gel just doesn.t sink in my skin maybe i.m aplying it wrong i don.t know but in the end meh

on 6/17/2015 11:52:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Black

My first encounter with PC was their Extra Strength Acne Kit (sample), which, although dried out my skin, gave me results much quicker than other brands. Fortunately, I discovered that PC developed pretty good products to treat post-acne problems so I gave a couple of them a shot. One of them was the AHA exfoliant.

Fun fact: I suffer from comedones. Genetics, not environment-caused. So you can imagine the endless frustration I endure when looking for super-noncomedogenic products. Those targeted for acne scars apparently rubbed my skin the wrong way and I tend to lean more on the cautious side just in case. When my skincare enthusiast of a best friend recommended that I look into BHA and AHA type products for my skin, I figured nothing could possibly go wrong. I'd played it safe with my skincare; why not reach a higher level of it?

When reading the description for the AHA exfoliant, you would expect your skin to shed its "old" skin, layer by layer. But the actual result is something even more satisfying. Before I began using the exfoliant, swiping toner all over my face left nothing on my cotton pad. Now, I can see the dirt and grime collected from my day/night adventures despite not wearing any makeup beforehand. Even though my face still does have visible scars, I'm not afraid of walking around barefaced any longer. Plus! The color of my face now matches the color of my neck and everyone knows that's the best thing to ever happen. My comedones don't pop up either in spite of its obvious hiding spot under my skin... but you take what you can get, right?

I'm going to try a BHA-type product next and see if I can elevate my skin quality to the next level.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 6/16/2015 9:59:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This and Paula's Choice BHA 2% Gel are a must have in your skincare regime. The reason why they're such staples is because they're chemical exfoliants: gentle for the skin, unlike abrasive physical exfoliants like microbeads and apricot scrubs. After my first use of this, my skin looked softer, glowy, and felt more moisturized than EVER. I've already purchased their BHA 2% gel and I'm excited to try it, because it's better for treating acne and exfoliating at the same time. Few tips when you use this product, always start with a careful amount. That is, use it once a week first. Then use it twice a week after two weeks of using it once. Gradually you'll be able to build up the times to use it, but I generally keep a rule to never exfoliate more than 3 times a week. Also, leave the product on your face for at least 20 minutes before you apply other moisturizers on top because if you put products on right after, the exfoliating effect basically wears off. I've had this product for months, and there's still a lot left. I hope you guys love this product!! I do!! :)

Right now they're having a 20% off deal with free shipping. If you're a new buyer, use this link to stack an additional $10 off: . I think I saved about $12-16 dollars on my BHA by using these two. ^_^ Good luck!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 6/15/2015 7:05:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

This is pretty good at exfoliating dead skin cells and leaving the complexion brighter and more even. It is not a treatment to be used once a week, but rather several nights in a row to really notice a difference. Compared to some other fancy brands, this product is much cheaper and performs fairly well. The texture is gel-like, and blends easily into the skin. Beware that this product is not very green as it contains silicones/parabens, so if you are ingredient-conscious you may want to err on the side of caution.

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