Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel
3.3 fl. oz. for $28
Last Updated:07.09.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This gel exfoliant combines 2% salicylic acid (BHA) with potent anti-irritants to calm redness and reduce inflammation. It exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining to unclog pores and improve skin-cell turnover rate. This creates a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function, especially for breakout-prone skin.

There is a great deal of research indicating that BHA (beta hydroxy acid) increases collagen production and dramatically smoothes the surface of skin. In addition, BHA has antibacterial properties that reduce acne-causing bacteria.

The silky gel base of this exfoliant can be used by all skin types, but it's especially well-suited for those with combination to very oily skin prone to breakouts. It should be noted that with water-based gel textures, the finish can be somewhat sticky, especially if a moisturizer is not applied over it. As with all Paula's Choice Skincare products, the formula is fragrance-free (which is always good news for skin).

  • Reveals fresher, smoother skin.
  • Unclogs pores and helps prevent future breakouts.
  • Calms redness with soothing agents.
  • Silky gel base is easy to apply and won't feel oily.
  • None.

Skin looks and feels smooth, soft, and even-toned. Exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore lining with a 2% concentration of salicylic acid (BHA). Water-based, non-occlusive gel formula is quickly absorbed by the skin. Salicylic acid has natural anti-inflammatory (soothing) and antibacterial properties. Excellent for all skin types, especially normal to oily skin with stubborn blemishes and blackheads. 100% fragrance- and colorant-free.


Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, (solvent/water-binding agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Phytosphingosine (cell-communicating ingredient), Hydroxyethylcellulose (gel-based thickener), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (antioxidant) Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (anti-irritant), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH-adjusting agent), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent)

Brand Overview

Paula's Choice Skincare At-A-Glance

Paula's Choice Skincare was established in 1995 when best-selling beauty author and consumer advocate Paula Begoun (known as The Cosmetics Cop) decided to develop her own products. Like most of us, she was fed up with products that overpromised results, cost a lot of money, and failed to deliver—or made matters worse!

As a natural evolution of Paula's personal mission to help consumers find the best products for their skin, the line has grown into an extensive range of skincare and makeup products that are formulated to meet the needs of almost every skin type and skin concern imaginable. From acne to wrinkles, oily skin, rosacea, large pores, eczema, redness, dry skin, and on and on, Paula's Choice offers a solution.

Paula's Choice Skincare stands apart from other cosmetics brands. The formulas contain only ingredients that have substantiated, published research showing they are beneficial and effective—so you get visible results. Stable packaging is another feature of the brand, using innovative, opaque, and air-tight or air-restrictive components that keep antioxidants and other light- and air-sensitive ingredients from breaking down. The line is also 100% fragrance-free, which is best for all skin types, especially for those with sensitive skin or rosacea.

Disclosure: Paula Begoun is the creator of Beautypedia and founder of Paula's Choice Skincare products. Reviewing thousands of skincare and makeup products over the past 30 years, both on this site and in her best-selling books, Paula's mission has always been to help consumers find the best products possible for their skin. The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains this commitment. In addition, The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same rating standards and criteria, whether it is a Paula's Choice product or another brand.

Why are all Paula's Choice Skincare products rated highly? The Paula's Choice Skincare Team would not launch a product unless it was worthy of a high rating from The Beautypedia Team. Paula and The Beautypedia Team were researching and reviewing products long before Paula's Choice Skincare ever existed and consumers were constantly requesting a skincare brand that met all of Beautypedia's criteria. As a result, The Paula's Choice Skincare Team was created and uses the same research and criteria to formulate Paula's Choice products as The Beautypedia Team uses to review products.

Strengths: All products are fragrance-free; uniquely formulated AHA and BHA products; effective skin-lightening options; toners that go beyond the norm; all sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection; proven anti-acne products; antioxidant-rich serums and moisturizers; anti-aging products that work as claimed.

Weaknesses: Does not offer a complete collection of makeup; makeup shade range isn’t as extensive for darker skin tones; limited concealer options.

For more information about Paula's Choice, call (800) 831-4088 or visit www.paulaschoice.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Pore Perfection

After patient use for a month, I am really seeing the difference in my skin. My pores are waaay smaller and my skin is super soft. Has helped prevent regular mild acne and blackheads, and has helped treat healing cystic acne. Only fault I find is that it does not reduce redness the way I hoped it would. Other than that, definitely give this a try.

Reviewed by
Allison H.

I have this gel and so far so good as it is improving my skin's texture, but I do have a question. Do Aha/ bha products sensitise the skin?

Reviewed by
Mariya p
Beautypedia Team Response

Thanks for your comments! AHAs and BHA do not make skin more sensitive per se, but when the unwanted, extra layers of dull skin are shed, the new skin beneath will be more sensitive to sun exposure. This is easily circumvented by applying a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, which is essential for healthier, younger-looking skin.

My nose has no blackheads now!

I use this just on my nose and chin (I use the AHA exfoliant on my cheeks and neck) and it has made a tremendous difference. My nose has never been smoother and using this product has all but eliminated pimples.

Reviewed by
Stephanie K.
Gel is the way to go!

Overall there are MANY more pros for this product than cons! Pros: -- Portion control is easy with the pump action. 2 pumps covers my entire face and neck! And that helps the product last longer! -- Easy application with the gel. It glides on very smooth and evenly. -- Non-iritating -- It reduces my pore size and inflammation from flare-ups Con: -- It makes my skin look really glossy until it dries. It can also be slightly sticky. But hey.... it's a gel :)

Reviewed by
John R.
The best formula BHA

After trying the cream and the liquid. The gel formula is superior It absorbs in and there is no waste. It's tacky for a minute or two, then dries to leave my skin feeling soft. (I have dry skin) My s/o suffers from acne and using this has reduced the flare ups.

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