Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Shrink enlarged pores with this 2% liquid salicylic acid leave-on exfoliant that removes old skin cells both on the skin's surface and inside the pore.
Item #: 201
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Keratosis Pilaris, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • For All Skin Types
  • Creates radiant, even-toned skin
  • Reduces redness & builds collagen
  • Unclogs & diminishes enlarged pores

Please Note: Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin or its derivatives.

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Customer Ratings:

85 out of 100
(Based on 611 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 25 Next »
  1. Wendy
    Reviewed on Monday, August 18, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Why doesn't this work?
    • I was using this for my hormonal acne (as well as eating healthy, taking fish oil, etc.) and not only did it not help acne, I also developed keratosis pilaris on my cheeks after a few months. This seems especially raw, since it's supposed to help AGAINST keratosis pilaris! I don't understand why this happened when it works for so many others. I stopped using this product a few months ago and still have my KP :( My skin (the rest at least) did feel soft, as a saving grace. What do I do now?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We suspect salicylic acid (BHA) isn't compatible with your skin, and suggest you exchange this exfoliant for an AHA product, which may be a better bet for your particular skin. Please contact us to arrange this.

    —Admin
  2. AC
    Reviewed on Friday, August 15, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Do I still need to use other exfoliate my skin?
    • I have only been using this product for 5 days. I was wondering if I still need to exfoliate my skin with other exoliator? I haven't seen a big change with my skin, but my skin is breaking out like crazy, I have a lot of red dots, but after reading the reviews of others, I am assuming it is this: "what's much more likely is that the exfoliation this BHA product provides loosened clogs deeper in the pore lining, causing them to surface all at once, thus resulting in more breakouts"?

  3. Shaela D.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    One of my favorite PC products.
    • I have been using this for 2 months now, twice a day, and I have to say that it was the best purchase I have made. It took about 2-3 weeks to see good true results, so don't expect to use it in 1 week and get miracles. It takes time, but it's well worth it. After applying, wait 15-20 minutes before continuing your routine - it helps. I have noticed a lot of improvement in my pores, texture of my skin, and it really helps my acne steer clear from showing. I will always keep this in my routine.

  4. Annie, T
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great for cystic acne
    • This was great my pimples and cystic acne, but it didnt help my blackhead at all. I used this for 4 months, and it was a life saver for my skin. I was suffering from pretty bad, consistent break out on one cheek, and cystic acne on another. After I started using this, the breakout decreased significantly. However, no significant change on my blackhead though. This has more moisture than the clear strength one, and can be oily layering under moisturizer.

  5. Elizabeth m.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 11, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Tightens skin
    • I've only been using this product for a week so I'm still not certain how effective it is, but it noticeably gives me a glow and tightens my skin, leaving it softer. I hate my large pores and hope this will improve their appearance, too early to say just yet. It has surfaced some blackheads which I expected, and of course this doesn't look great, but I still have blackheads. Not sure how long is a realistic time frame to see a reduction.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, August 11, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Depending on how stubborn the blackheads are and how long they've been forming, it can take several weeks of consistent (daily) use to eliminate them, and even then you may need to see an esthetician for extractions, after which point the BHA exfoliant will work to keep the extracted pores clear, so no new blackheads form.

    —Admin
  6. Terrie O.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Supreme Results - You won't be dissapointed
    • You will see noticable results within 1 application. The liquid formula is stronger than the lotion, I didn't notice any change for a couple of weeks using the BHA 2% Lotion, therefore I would recommend the liquid. It does leave your skin feeling a bit tight so you need to use a moisturizer over this product. This product did cause a slight reddening of the face, so I started using it once a day instead of twice a day and it went away.

  7. Terrie O.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Moisturizing Exfoilant
    • This product does not leave my skin too oily or dry, it's perfect for night time or morning underneath an SPF. This product is good for keeping pimples from forming but didn't help much in clearing up exsisting pimples whatsoever. I recommend the BHA 2% liquid over the lotion for better results in clearning up acne.

  8. Vanessa P
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Incredible Results
    • I received this product as a sample and it was my first time ever trying or hearing about BHA. I was hesitant of using it on my sensitive skin but I'm so glad that I did! I have been using this product for the past three nights and I see a huge difference already! The blackheads on my nose are diminishing, the large pores on my cheeks are getting smaller, and my skin has never been softer. I hope that over time it reduces my redness and under the skin bumps.

  9. Liz
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Outstanding!
    • Wow! I've never used a BHA this good before. It works beautifully despite my dry and sensitive skin. I've only been using it for two weeks and I don't have a single blackhead left. I've also been using it on post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation marks and those are almost gone. I've been hard-pressed to find BHA's at the drugstore and am glad Paula's Choice is around!

  10. Rachel E.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Disappointed
    • I got the sample size and was very pleased with how it made the pores around my nose look as well as my blackheads, but once I bought the full sized, I didn't see any change in my skin and the formula felt greasy and oily. I don't know what happened between the two sizes, but it didn't agree with me at all.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, August 11, 2014

    How unusual! These products are exactly the same. Please contact us to discuss which of our other BHA exfoliants may be a better fit for you.

    —Admin
  11. Yarlene Z
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Will be buying this product
    • I received this product in my voxbox this month and I love it. I have large pores on my cheeks and this is getting rid of all the junk that was clogging them. It does leave my skin looking a little oily but I can deal with that, seeing as it is doing good things for my face.

  12. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 02, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    best skincare must have
    • First of all, let me say I'm on my second bottle and wanted to wait until I had used this product enough in order to give a reliable review. I used to have clogged pores around my cheeks that looked like whiteheads and bumps on my forehead that looked like pimples. Simply put I had a lot of congestion on my skin. This has dramatically improved my skin. I can honestly say I have 90% of it gone! If you have sensitive skin like me start slow then increase little by little but be consistent.

  13. Beth
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    good stuff!
    • I use this liquid exfoliant in combination with the BHA lotion a couple of times a month when my skin "acts up" and the morning after my complexion is visibly clearer. It does feel greasy when you apply it but it does the job :)

  14. M
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not for everyone
    • I was very excited about this product from reading the reviews because I have recently begun noticing some enlarged pores on my nose and forehead. I used this product once daily for 4-5 days but I did not notice any change, and even more surprisingly, it made me break out in two areas. It also had a very oily feel that lingered. However, it worked great on my husband, who has normal skin. I suppose it is a great product, just not for everyone.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Definitely don't give up on a BHA exfoliant, though. We have several with different strengths and textures; one will be perfect for you! Please contact us if you need assistance with a return or exchange, or help selecting the best BHA exfoliant for your needs and preferences.

    —Admin
  15. Mariela T
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WOW
    • One word. AMAZING! I got this in my vox box this month and I was skeptical about it. But I've been using it for 3 days 3 DAYS!!! and I already see my skin getting clear. I'm a teenager so acne is something right now and I've tried everrrrryything to get rid of it but nothing worked. So thankful for getting this because it saved my life this lovely miracle water.

  16. KB
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for stubborn milia
    • Buying my second bottle because this stuff is SO amazing. I have suffered from extreme milia and blackheads on my face for the past couple years (especially during the humid summer months). After using this product for a few weeks, my esthetician noted that my blackheads and milia were almost nonexistent. Any milia that were left over were MUCH easier to extract. I use this at night with a gentle cleanser as I find it a little too greasy/shiny to wear during the day.

  17. Rachelle
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Necessary for your skincare regime!
    • I bought this just 2 months and I've used it religiously, at first just once a day because of the drying effect, then later on 2x a day as my skin adjusted. It has done wonders for my oily/combo skin! My skin texture is so soft, my post-acne pigmentation is fading, and the occasional breakouts I have heal very quickly since I've started using this product. Pores look great too. I did develop unusual breakouts on my cheeks close to my ears, but with persistent use that has also gone away.

  18. Amber H.
    Reviewed on Monday, July 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    holy grail product
    • I've tried numerous BHA exfoliants and they've all resulted in dry, irritated skin. This product is the complete opposite; it's both gentle and extremely effective. My skin is very oily and prone to blackheads, particularly around the nose and chin areas. Although I still have problems with blackheads, I've seen a drastic improvement and my pores appear significantly less noticeable. The more I use this the more I love it! Side note, I do only use this at night because it leaves a shiny finish.

  19. Cristina
    Reviewed on Monday, July 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    questions
    • Hi, I am using your product, with great results consisting in forgeting about blackheads. Thank you! I would like that my 22 year old sun use it but I am very sure that he would not use any sunscreen during the day. My question is: can he use it just once, twice weekly but only in the evening if he will not protect his skin from sun?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Regular use of any exfoliant means protecting skin from sun damage becomes even more important. However, getting some people to wear sunscreen daily can be a challenge, so your compromise sounds workable. Please discourage your son from tanning, though, or if he insists on tanning, make sure he stops using any type of exfoliant beforehand.

    —Admin
  20. Andrew L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 26, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Its not for everyone
    • Needless to say this product provides good results. Its really soothing, helps to reduce pimple size, and clear up blackheads. However, it should not be advertised "for all skin types". For my skin, which is combination, it dried out a lot of my face, while being just fine for oily areas. It all depends on the PH of the product, and this is a bit strong to recommend for everyone. However the 2% BHA lotion and Clear Regular Strength Acne Exfoliant work a lot better for me and are more mild.

  21. Shelby H
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 24, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Haven't seen any results yet
    • I was very excited to try this product along with the skin balancing pore reducer toner and the shine stopper. I've been using all three now for three weeks and I haven't seen one difference. Still just as big pores and just as many blackheads all over! Not sure if I should have tried something else from Paula's choice or if it takes a long time to see results. I chose this after describing my symptoms this seemed to be the best fit for an oily face with a big blackhead and large pore problem.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Thanks for your review! For some people, results take longer. You also need to consider every other product in your routine. Using one problematic product (for example, bar soap) can reduce or completely block the benefits of many other products. Be sure you're only shopping from the products we rate BEST or GOOD on Beautypedia.

    —Admin
  22. Marisa S.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Hmm possibly not for
    • I really wanted to like the product and was hoping to see a change in pore size. I did not see any change in my pores but I did notice it slowly helped the occasional blemish and when used on my neck it did a great job exfoliating. The product tingles each time I use it and the finish was a bit tacky for me. I used it in with the Hydralight moisturizer after cleansing daily. I have combination (oily t zone), clear, sensitive skin.

  23. Marie
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    wanted to like it
    • I really wanted to like this product after hearing great things about it from a friend. I have mild cystic acne that two weeks ago was clearing up after using an all natural soap. I received my order in the mail, used it for a few days and ended up with large cysts between my eyebrows, on my nose, and on my right cheek. I had always suspected that salicylic acid isn't compatible with my skin and now my suspicions are confirmed. Very disappointed as now these cysts will take a month to clear.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Thanks for your review! While it's possible your skin may not be able to tolerate salicylic acid, what's much more likely is that the exfoliation this BHA product provides loosened clogs deeper in the pore lining, causing them to surface all at once, thus resulting in more breakouts. For many who experience this, it's a temporary issue that resolves with ongoing use of a BHA exfoliant. We understand your hesitation to go back to using this product, but suspect if you stick with it you really will see clearer skin! If you remain unhappy, please contact us to discuss a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  24. Jill M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    No more blackheads
    • I have to say, my chin is my trouble spot, but this BHA not only made my skin really smooth (overnight), it uprooted and shipped out the colony of blackheads that have been, until recently, a permanent installation on my chin. In just a few days my skin was totally clear - i might even say it glows, if i didn't feel like i was bragging. I'm excited to try the Resist BHA product for extra anti-aging power, and am looking forward to ordering the weekly 4% resurfacing treatment as soon as it's back

  25. Anays B.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Oily/ shiny finish
    • I came across this while I was looking for a BHA with the added benefits for wrinkles but I cannot get over the oily/shiny finish of the product. I have acne prone skin and although it hasn’t exacerbated my symptoms, it doesn’t exactly provide me with any extra benefits than the Clear Regular Strength. I absolutely love the water like texture and quick absorbency of the Clear Regular Strength.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Based on your skin type and concerns, if you love the CLEAR Regular Strength BHA exfoliant, you have to try the RESIST Daily Pore-Refining Treatment with 2% BHA. It feels the same as the CLEAR exfoliant you love, but with lots of anti-aging ingredients. It is perfect for those struggling with breakouts, large pores, wrinkles, and oily skin.

    —Admin
« Prev Page of 25 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant rapidly exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. The result is a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function which leads to healthier skin. There is a great deal of research indicating that BHA (beta hydroxy acid) increases collagen production and drastically smooths the surface of skin. Additionally, BHA has antibacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. The lightweight, non-occlusive formula allows for a faster and deeper exfoliation rate than our gel or lotion BHA products, so it's an ideal choice for stubborn clogged pores or blackheads.

This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free with a pH range of 3.2-3.8. Every Paula's Choice BHA product is formulated with additional soothing agents.

Who is this product for?
All skin types may use this product, but the texture is especially suited for those with normal to oily or combination skin, stubborn blackheads, and blemish-prone skin. It can also be used regularly to eliminate calluses on feet, elbows and knees.

NOTE: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid).

Sources to support the claims made for SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid exfoliant

International Immunopharmacology, August 2009, pages 1,126–1,130; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2007, pages 124-135; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2006, pages 416–421; Journal of Cosmetic Science, November-December 2004, pages 519-531; Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2002, pages 1531–1532; Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, January 2002, pages 137–142; Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, volume 175, issue 1, pages 76–82; Preservatives for Cosmetics, 2006, by David Steinberg, Allured Publishing, pages 39-40; Pain, January 1996, pages 71–82; and Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305–308.

Key Ingredients: methylpropanediol, salicylic acid, green tea, BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

Product Ingredients:

Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Polysorbate-20 (solubolizing agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Lightly soak a cotton pad and apply over the entire face, including the eye area (avoid the lower lash line and eyelids). Do not rinse. For daytime, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater.

Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skincare Routine article.

What's the difference between the 2% BHA Liquid and the 2% BHA Gel?

First, texture: One is a fluid with a toner-like consistency, the other is a thicker, clear gel. Both contain the same amount of salicylic acid, though the 2% BHA Liquid contains an ingredient that allows the salicylic acid to penetrate faster and further. With the 2% BHA Gel formula, you're getting a slower release of salicylic acid. Both are great options for treating acne, blackheads, and signs of aging. Both are suitable for all skin types but best for normal to oily or combination skin.

What's the difference between AHA and BHA exfoliants? Do I need both?

When properly formulated, both AHAs and BHA are brilliant options for exfoliating the surface of skin. Both AHA and BHA work to reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and firm skin but each has its special qualities you'll want to consider when deciding which one to use:
  • AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin and have the added benefit of also improving moisture content.
  • BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps because BHA can get through the oil that's clogging your pores, normalizing the lining of the misshapen pore that contributes to acne.
  • BHA has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. Those are two more reasons to use a BHA exfoliant if you have acne or sensitive, reddened skin.
  • BHA is preferred for those struggling with rosacea. Not everyone with rosacea can tolerate an exfoliant, but it is wise to experiment with a BHA product to see how your rosacea responds.

If your skin is sun-damaged and you're also struggling with acne or clogged pores, add a BHA product to your routine.

If you'd like to use an AHA and BHA at the same time, that is an option, though not really necessary. Some people find they work well when they're applied at the same time, but if you want to give this a try it is best to apply them separately, one during the day and one in the evening.

How do I use an AHA or BHA exfoliant?

  • You can apply an AHA or BHA product once or twice a day.
  • You can also apply either of these around the eye area but not on the eyelid or directly under the eye.
  • Apply the AHA or BHA product after your face is cleansed and after your toner has dried.
  • Once the AHA or BHA has been absorbed, you can apply any other product in your routine, such as moisturizer, serum, eye cream, sunscreen, and/or foundation.
  • If you're using a topical prescription product such as Renova, other retinoids, or any of the topical prescription products for rosacea, apply the BHA or AHA first.

Your AHA (glycolic acid) products have a higher percentage than your BHA (salicylic acid) products. Does this mean AHA is a stronger exfoliant?

AHA products are most effective at a 5% to 10% concentration and BHA at 1% to 2% concentration. Think about it like making bread, the amount of yeast you need is tiny in comparison to the amount of flour you use but equally important to get the results you want. The percentage of effectiveness varies depending on the ingredient. Rest assured that the BHA products are not any less effective due to lower concentrations of the exfoliant.

The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant feels sticky and kind of greasy on my face! Why is that?

If the BHA is feeling sticky, you are probably using too much product. The average amount necessary for facial application of the 2% BHA is less than the size of a dime. The product is best applied in a thin layer, and has great spreading properties. The "greasy" feel can be attributed to the high levels of glycol in this product (glycol helps the BHA penetrate the surface layers of skin and also works as a water-binding agent). If you live in a humid, moist climate, this effect will be more pronounced and, if too much product is used, can create a "greasy" feel on the skin. Many customers have remarked how silky-soft their skin is as a result of using the 2% BHA Liquid, and that is the result of the humectants working with the BHA to exfoliate and hydrate the skin.

At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my BHA exfoliant again?

First, we urge you to follow the post-procedure instructions your doctor or nurse provided. If nothing was mentioned about when to resume use of a BHA exfoliant, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to begin using your BHA again as soon as possible. Or, if your skin seems extra-sensitive, you may want to wait and apply the BHA exfoliant a few days post-procedure. Salicylic acid is an excellent anti-inflammatory ingredient that can enhance skin's natural healing process as it works to reduce post-procedure redness.

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