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Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Get your glow on. Apply this leave-on exfoliant once or twice a day. Smooths skin, fades sun damage, and reveals younger-looking skin.
Item #: 190
  • Anti-Aging, Wrinkles
  • Dry/Very Dry, Combination Skin
  • Hydrates and stimulates collagen production

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Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

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Customer Ratings:

87 out of 100
(Based on 173 Reviews)
Page of 7 Next »
  1. rana s.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    it did nothing
    • Thank God I didn't order the full size. I tried the samples for 4 weeks and nothing. It did nothing. The first use my face was ok it seemed brighter but as the weeks continue nothing. I didn't feel any burning just sticky on my face. Discoloration didn't fade, acne marks are even redder. I followed up with sunscreen even though I stay more indoors but my skin is now duller. I'm now on the hunt to find something stronger.

  2. Stella L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 06, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    dried up my skin
    • I purchased after reading positive reviews with the view to reducing fine lines on my forehead. I have dry to combination skin. I tried three times in two weeks. My face felt stingy and found breakouts every time after using it. It did not improve my skin complexion, it instead dried up my skun and increased fine lines of my forehead despite I followed by moisturizer gel. This is definitely not the skin care product for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, September 08, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry this didn't work for you. Most likely, your skin is sensitive to one or more of the ingredients in this exfoliant and you experienced what's known as an irritant contact dermatitis. This reaction can resemble acne breakouts, but is not true acne. Please contact us for a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  3. Cynthia T.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Sensitive skin - but wasn't strong enough?
    • I had a sample of the PC 10% AHA lotion and applied to my face because of some photo damage. I was so impressed by how in just ONE use - it became lighter! So I bought this product because I read that gel-formulated products works faster. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't a high enough percentage of AHA. For me, I found that the AHA lotion and the Resist 10% AHA Weekly treatment (I use it daily) works better. I didn't take off stars because its more my skin's fault, not the product.

  4. Jennifer K.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Terrific Product-Consider Combining With Retinol Serum
    • This product is great! As others have said, it smooths on easily (you only need a little bit) and absorbs quickly. It doesn't leave your skin sticky or greasy either which is nice since I use a moisturizer over it. Always apply sunblock over this in the daytime! It really does increase photo-sensitivity. This REALLY works well layered under the PC retinol serum in the silver pump. I've been using that for a while and definitely noticed an improvement in skin texture when I added this AHA.

  5. Vikki
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 02, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love this!
    • My skin always looks smooth, clear, and even in the morning after using it at night. I will definitely purchase this again.

  6. Tina A.
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 24, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • I used this exfoliant on my forehead and ever-so-sensitive cheeks, and in just a few days my face was smoother than ever before. I will always repurchase this, as it's become a staple of my regimen.

  7. Krystee
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Will not ever be without it!
    • I have only been using this for about a week and I am already in love! I have recently revamped my skincare routine with Paula's Choice products and product recommendations. I think this has by far made the biggest difference! I don't really like using scrubs on my face because I have dry skin and it always leaves it felling even drier... plus, they can be too harsh for my sensitive-ish skin. This has made my skin look so much younger and softer!

  8. Christina C.
    Reviewed on Monday, July 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    The absolute best!
    • This product has changed my skin! I've struggled with 13 years worth of acne and hyperpigmentation, and this product is slowly fading all of it. Breakouts are a rarity these days thanks to a combination of this product and an oral androgen blocker prescribed by my dermatologist.

  9. jasmine
    Reviewed on Friday, July 18, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Reaally wanted to try out but…WHYYY the PARABENS???
    • I really wanted to try out this product,(After trying the AMAZING 10% weekly AHA treatment) however, right as I was about to order it came to my attention- parabens!. I know it is used in this formulation as a preservative, but no other AHA product nor the BHA gel includes this as the preservative. I am so very disappointed not to be able to try this likely excellent gel however I have met sufficient research linking parabens to breast cancer and finding traces of it in breast tumors. sigh..Darn

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, July 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Sadly, the information about parabens and their link to breast cancer has been widely taken out of context and has actually been refuted, as we discuss in this article. Unfortunately, though, once negative information about a group of ingredients takes hold, it's hard to convince people that the ingredienrs are safe as used. For that reason, Paula's Choice has been phasing parabens out of our products, with the 8% AHA Gel scheduled to be paraben-free by next year. In the meantime, though, we want to assure you that there is NO harm is using the current formula that contains parabens. It is safe and approved for sale around the world.

    —Admin
  10. Ren Y
    Reviewed on Friday, July 18, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Does what it's supposed to
    • I have dry, non acne-prone skin. I bought this to help combat flaky skin and fade acne PIH from my teenage years. I've been using it every other day (alternate with 2% BHA) for about 2 weeks now and have visible results. My skin no longer flakes under foundation and my PIH has lightened. This product also does not irritate my skin and does not feel tacky like the 2% BHA gel does. I have encouraged my mother to try this for her dark spots and fine lines and probably be ordering another for her.

  11. CATHERINE b.
    Reviewed on Friday, July 04, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    A solid and true performer
    • I was lucky to learn about AHA in my early 20's & have used it every day since. AHA gets all the credit for the constant compliments about my skin that I've received for the past 25 years! Well, AHAs and sunblock. I've used this AHA for the past 10 yrs - it's a consistently high quality product with a long shelf life (smart packaging). It never irritates and keeps my sensitive skin bright and smooth. Whether you are 20ish or 40ish (or any other age) AHA should be part of your daily routine.

  12. courtney a.
    Reviewed on Monday, June 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    "Skin Perfecting" yes, that's what it does
    • Yet another winner from the Skin Recovery line. I have hormonal acne along the jaw line, oily t-zone and very sensitive, dry cheeks. I use this along with Rx Tretinoin 0.04%, the skin recovery toner and serum. Since adding this to my nightly routine, my t-zone is starting to normalize and my flaky, uneven skin has become smooth. Yes, this does "perfect" my skin. Just because you have oily, acne prone skin does not necessarily mean you need harsh, drying products. Give this line a try.

  13. Annabelle
    Reviewed on Saturday, June 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Good with Prescription Retinoid
    • One pump every morning is working well with retina-a 0.025 every night to manage breakouts. This product smells a teeny tiny bit like vinegar. Spreads easily and soaks in quickly. Dries fast. Great value for my money - this container is 100 mL. Very pleased.

  14. WendyLee
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 02, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    A-Mazing!
    • This gel is amazing!! Do not hesitate to buy... I have been searching for years to find products that keep my skin hydrated, healthy, glowing... Paula's Choice has done this for my skin!! Finally. I could not be happier w/ this product. They say harsh exfoliants are bad for the skin, so I found this gel exfoliator and I'm so glad I did - it's transformed my skin!!! I have very dry, fair skin. This has completely changed everything for me!! So so glad I found this skincare line!!!!

  15. ruth k.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 02, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    spouse likes it, too...
    • When my spousal unit hit 55, he knew that looking his age would prevent him from getting clients. He's a fair-skinned, blue-eyed guy and the years spent camping without sunblock are showing. I got him a regimen of Paula's Choice to help reverse what we could. His favorite product so far is the BHA exfoliant, because it has helped in smoothing out his face and neck. He also likes the moisturizing gel, and uses both--not bad for a guy who hates fussing over his skin. (next step is sunblock!)

  16. Hadassah G.
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 15, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    eliminates the flakies!
    • I have to be careful to only use this once a week, because it can make my rosacea worse, but it makes such a difference to the texture of my skin. Gets rid of the flaky patches that show up under foundation, and has helped to fade my red acne marks.

  17. Tamara
    Reviewed on Sunday, February 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    8% AHA Gel
    • I am new to Paulas Choice.. I am amazed with this product! Next morning, I felt my skin was much smoother. I have a mild melasma, I am hoping this will help to fade with time.. Thanks Paulas choice!

  18. BungalowChic
    Reviewed on Friday, February 07, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    smoothing wonder
    • I have battled T zone oil clogged pores my entire life while my cheeks had patches of dryness. The only way to get it out was to scrub, which angered my rosacea like skin. It seemed to "solve" one problem I was stirring up trouble with another issue. Now I just cleanse, tone and use this gel and my pores are CLEAN and seem to have reduced in size. Overall my skin tone has improved and the skin is visibly more smooth. Thank you, Paula's Choice!

  19. Yanti Tiurma I.
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 06, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    A good AHA for me :)
    • I have an oily acne prone and easily clogged skin. So i am religiously using PC's CLEAR series. However, to even out my skin, i tried to use this AHA 8% Gel and miraculously it doesn't irritate my skin. I use it at night and in the morning, my skin looks more clean and radiant. I don't use this regularly. Only when I feel that I need to exfoliate the upper layer of skin to make my skin looks more fresh. I love it :)

  20. Kaysha P.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 05, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • I have dry acne prone skin, especially in the winter when I have eczema. This product gave me beautiful skin. It keeps flaking under control(I can even wear foundation sometimes), and also fights acne. It has even dislodged some enlarged pores I have had forever, and some milia under my eyes. I stopped using for a week, and broke out horribly. I would absolutely recommend, but say start slow until your skin builds tolerance, especially if you(like me) have rosacea.

  21. TARA W.
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 21, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfection
    • Longtime PC customer. I've been using BHA though. I recently made the switch to AHA and WOW what a difference for me. My skin is much more glowing and softer and smoother. I was a little concerned that this was a gel - I was used to a lotion, but my dry skin is liking the gel. Not a dry flake to be found on me. Thank you PC for another fabulous product!

  22. RACHEL
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 14, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for adult acne
    • I have been using this for over a year and it has done wonders for my sensitive, combination, acne prone skin. It helps fade marks from breakouts more quickly, makes my skin smooth and glow-y and seems to reduce the size of any new breakouts. My skin seemed to grow out of the BHA exfoliant as I hit my 30s and I find that this works so much more effectively for me. I highly recommend it!

  23. L McC
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 30, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Must Have
    • I use this every night on my very sensitive, 40 y.o. skin, alternating with one of Paula's retinol serums 2 or 3 nights/week. It's not irritating for me, while keeping my mild adult acne at bay. I get compliments on my skin all the time, which I find odd, but reassuring. This is a must-have anti-aging product for me.

  24. Brett E.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Potent
    • This stuff can be pretty strong depending on how often you use it. I have combo/normal skin and was using BHAin the AM and AHA in the PM. Man was my skin smooth but it was just too much exfoliation and eventually toned down my usage to only once a week and I think it works for my skin type.

  25. dryface
    Reviewed on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I love this stuff
    • I have very sensitive skin and have struggled with eczema my whole life - after having a bad reaction to glycolic acid from another brand, I was surprised to see how gentle, yet super effective, this exfoliant is. The fine lines which had started to appear around my eyes and forehead are not at all as noticeable any more, and my skin is just in a really good condition. This has a lot to do with it. Thanks Paula's Choice, so glad I found this brand, will stay with it forever!

Page of 7 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant has a sheer, weightless texture that works to exfoliate the skin's surface and fade signs of sun damage. The ultra-light formula corrects uneven skin tone for a brighter, smoother, more radiant complexion. Substantiated research shows that AHAs improve collagen production for firmer skin and increase skin's moisture-binding ability. 8% AHA Gel works to sustain the results of professional peels and wears beautifully under a moisturizer or serum.

This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free with a pH range of 3.5-3.8.

Who is this product for?
8% AHA Gel is great for all skin types but those with normal to dry, sun-damaged skin will find it especially beneficial.

Sources to support the claims made for SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel EXfoliant

Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170–176; Dry Skin and Moisturizers: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, April 2005, pages 1156–1162; Cutis, August 2001, pages 135–142; Dermatologic Surgery, May 2001 pages 1–5; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, July 2000, pages 280–284; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, March-April 2000, pages 81–88; Chemistry and Function, edited by Marie Loden and Howard Maibach, 2000, page 237; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, May-June 1999, pages 111–119; Journal of Cell Physiology, October 1999, pages 14–23; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 1996, pages 867–875.

Key Ingredients: green tea, AHA, sodium PCA, glycolic acid, sodium hyaluronate, chamomile, Aloe barbadensis

Product Ingredients:

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 (skin-identical ingredient), Panthenol (water-binding agent), Sodium PCA (skin-identical ingredient), Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-10 (thickeners), Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben (preservatives).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime-sized amount over the entire face, avoiding direct contact with eyes and lips. 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 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.

Can the AHA and/or BHA products be used during pregnancy or while lactating?

Although topical exfoliants should not pose a problem for pregnant woman, we do recommend asking your doctor before using any product you are concerned about.

Can I alternate using an AHA and BHA exfoliant? Is this even necessary?

You can alternate using an AHA and BHA exfoliant if desired, but it isn't necessary. Both work to exfoliate skin, improving texture and tone. Ideally, consider an AHA if breakouts and blackheads are not a concern but visible sun damage is. Choose BHA if you're concerned with signs of aging and are struggling with breakouts, blackheads, and white bumps. If you opt to use both, choose one to apply in the morning and one to apply at night. If you're only using an exfoliant once daily, alternate use between the AHA and BHA product.

At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my AHA 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 an AHA exfoliant, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to wait until skin has returned to its normal texture and color. This may mean waiting a few days or, depending on the depth of the peel or laser procedure, it may mean waiting several weeks. Both peels and laser procedures can temporarily leave skin extra-sensitive, so if in doubt it's best to wait rather than rush things. Once you begin using your AHA exfoliant again, pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust frequency of use accordingly. Discontinue use if you notice signs of irritation.

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