Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Gel Exfoliant

3.6

90 reviews

61% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals

INGREDIENTS

8/30/2013:Water, Methylpropanediol (slip agent/water-binding agent), Xanthan Gum (thickener), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Polysorbate-20 (emulsifier), PEG-12 Dimethicone (silicone thickener), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (anti-irritant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Portulaca Oleracea Extract (antioxidant), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizing agent), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Chlorphenesin (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide.


on 3/29/2015 7:26:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Green

I LOVE THIS EXFOLIANT. It has kept my occasional breakouts nearly completely away, and I can count on it to reduce the impact of any that makes it through the trenches. It also has brightened my complexion noticeably. I had never used an exfoliant before the PC people sent me this sample, and I am a convert, pure-and-simple.

If you overuse it, it can ball up, but otherwise, this stuff is amazing. The pump is great, as well!



on 3/15/2015 5:23:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Don't let the claims and the 1% fool you. This is not a gentle product. Only one time use, the next day my skin was flaky and peeling. The product also looks shiny on the face.


on 12/3/2014 6:40:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

This stuff keeps my skin under control and really improved its texture! I use it every night and every following morning I am happy to see my face even before I put on any makeup.
The only problem is the texture that tends to ball up - samples balled up a bit more than the full-sized product but I probably still wouldn't wear this over day time.
Regarding the price - originally I thought of this as a splurge, but when the bottle arrived and I noticed that it is a whopping 100ml sized I changed my mind. I manage to keep the 3ml sample for 3 uses, so you can do the math. This stuff will last me for at least 2 months, possibly 3, so I don't see much of a problem with the price (my old exfoliant was about 12 per 40ml, so I actually went down with the price!)


on 10/31/2014 7:06:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

This stuff is amazing if you have sensitive skin with mild acne. I've been using this for about a month and it did improve my skin texture, I break out less and my skin is a lot calmer. The texture is beautifully water-light and disappears in the skin. There is one problem I have with this product, it tends to ball up when I layer a product after it. Sometimes it doesn't ball up, most of the time it does ball up a little. I still haven't found the trick to applying this without it balling up 100% of the time, which is probably why I won't repurchase. I once got a bit in my eye and it didn't sting so I have no fear in puting this on my eye area. It also doesn't irritate my dermatitis, seriously it's an extremely gentle product. I do have a little more stubborn monthly breakouts so I'm gonna try the 2% liquid but I would definitely reccomend this if you have mild concerns and you have sensitive skin.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT judge the product by the sample size, the sample is horrible and sticky. The full size is much better!


on 8/9/2014 2:19:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I HAD A COUPLE SAMPLES AND I USED THIS ON MY SKIN AND 2 FAMILY MEMBERS TO COMPARE.
This gel is mostly non irritating and non moisturizing. I'de say there is a 1 out of 3 chance of irritation. Although, this has a lower amount of BHA's then the 'Skin perfecting 2% gel.' Remember all exfoliants will have some irritation as they remove dead skin cells from the face.
It is best for oily skin, or someone who does not want something that feels too heavy. I noticed that acne did go away entirely, but did get smaller. The only thing is even though it is labeled fragrance free it had a medicine- like smell. Please wear sunscreen after using this.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.


on 11/15/2013 10:41:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

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.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.


on 9/2/2013 1:25:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

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.........


on 7/20/2013 12:55:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Blue

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.


on 4/21/2013 5:34:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Oily, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

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.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

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.

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.


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