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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 197 Reviews)
Page of 8 Next »
  1. Sabrina
    Reviewed on Monday, March 02, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Horrible Breakouts
    • I was very excited to try this exfoliant, but after four weeks I'm giving up on it. The product itself feels great on my skin, but I look like a teenager again. I wake up with oily skin and am completely covered in breakouts. Unfortunately, this product is not working for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 02, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your experience with us - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team for information on a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  2. Mindy
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 28, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Long-Time User
    • This has been a staple in my routine for so manyears now. Wouldn't dream of being without Paula's 8% AHA. Many other products have come and gone. This is a "must have"-- for ALWAYS! I was using when I was pre-menopausal straight through post menopause. Now at 59 my skin is FIRM with a beautiful poreless appearance & natural GLOW. I hate to cover it with foundation & often I don't. Everyone asks why I never age.... SWEET! Highly recommend for the firmness & glow of youth!!!

  3. Julie N.
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 19, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Irritation
    • I bought this AHA gel to help fade my PIH and generally just even out my skin tone. My skin isn't particularly sensitive, so I didn't think I would have a problem with this product as it seems so many people love it. After about a week of use, I broke out heavily in the middle of my cheeks with deep, cystic acne. I normally only get acne in my t-zone, so I don't think this was a normal "purge". I was excited to use this product but unfortunately it did not mix well with my skin :(

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, February 20, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your experience with us - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team, who can assist you with a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  4. Allie T.
    Reviewed on Sunday, February 15, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for oily/normal skin
    • Usually a BHA is recommended for my combo/oily skin but I've found that my skin doesn't really respond to BHA's. I'm glad I decided to try this because I have less breakouts and my skin is smoother. I rotate between using this every night, or using this every other night with the Clear regular strength BHA in between. It has lasted me a while so it's definitely worth the price! If your skin doesn't respond to BHA's give this a try!

  5. Rachel M
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Holy wow
    • This has been a lifesaver product. I have combo skin (jawline acne, big pores on my nose, and very dry and sensitive skin on my cheeks) and after months of trying to fix my skincare routine I was still having issues. On a lark I bought this product. I remember asking my boyfriend "Should I really spend $20 on this?" Answer: YES. Best $20 I have ever spent. I haven't had a single flareup of acne in two months, my skin looks better than I have EVER seen it. This product gave me my face back.

  6. Peggy F.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Terrible for my skin
    • Not for me. Unfortunately after the first time I used this, I woke up to red patchy, puffy, flaky and irritated skin. It took one week for it to return to normal. A real disappointment.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for your comments - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team, who can assist you with a possible exchange or return.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  7. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 03, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WOW!
    • I absolutely love the concentration and packaging of this product. I also love that you don't have to use harsh scrubs or cleaning tools to help the turnover of dead skin cells. My face always looks fresh and feels baby soft the next day. I use it about 3 times a week, and is a great addition to the MANY PC products in my bathroom.

  8. Julia N.
    Reviewed on Saturday, January 31, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    A cannot-live-without-it product
    • I am blown away by the results I have seen with this product. I have dry, dull, and sometimes rough feeling skin. Previously I had used a physical exfoliant about 1-2 times a week but it wasn't getting rid of the dullness. I use this product 1x day, and it's helped give my skin a dewy, healthy, smooth, and very soft texture. I also use the Resist Retinol Serum at night. Not sure about the fading sun damage claim though - I have not seen any dark spots diminished...(and did not expect to.)

  9. Tiffany d
    Reviewed on Saturday, January 31, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    love this!
    • I have dry, sensitive, acne prone/30 year old skin (which I mistreated most of my younger life). This product has been a miracle. I use it every other night and have to use the super dry skin face lotion from PC on top of it so I don't get flaky. This in combination with a morning routine of the super antioxidant resist serum and super dry skin face lotion (it's the red one not the blue one) has turned my skin around. Thank you!

  10. MELODY R.
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 15, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    best kept secret
    • im an african american woman in my mid 30's, my skin has started to change and i felt i needed to change my skin care. Winters dry my already dry skin out and my face had began to peel in various places. I wanted to exfoliate but not with a harsh scrub..so i turned to PC...i started using the sample to find out which strength to use...this is perfect...and after a week of use, i didnt need to use a miosturizer afterwards..my face never dried out or peeled- i have a brand new face & smooth textur

  11. Brenda S.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    LOVE!!!
    • Tried it ALL. What works for others, even same skin type, may not be my answer. May work for 100 others, but I may be the 1 person that it DOESN’T work for. PC 8% AHA gel should NOT work for me, but it does. My skin loves it. Don’t look for results in 1-2 weeks. At 2-3 months you may marvel. If not, try something else, return policy is great. You will find products that should have worked and don’t, and sleeper products that wow you. Thank you PC, skin never better, even when temperamental.

  12. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Monday, January 05, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Awesome product!
    • I absolutely love the 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant. I have only been using it for about 1 week now (once daily) and have noticed my skin is more radiant, smooth, and a bit more firmer than before. I cocktail this product with a Paula's Choice retinol based light moisturizer every morning. Thank you for making this product. I will use it for a long time!

  13. Joy A.
    Reviewed on Monday, January 05, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Worked for my Oily Skin
    • I am absolutely loving this product. Bought this along with the 2% BHA liquid. Sadly I've had bad luck with the latter (maybe liquid isn't for me?), but this AHA gel has found a permanent mainstay in my routine. Started using it 2 weeks ago every night and have noticed a substantial improvement in my skin. Don't know how to describe it, but I can tell my skin looks more even in color and even has a glow to it? Whatever it is, I'm in love. My skin is picky w products, but has loved this AHA!!

  14. Amanda W.
    Reviewed on Monday, January 05, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Sadly this isn't for me
    • This product worked for me in the beginning but over time it left my skin horribly flaky, even if I cut down how often I used it. Luckily the customer service on this site is amazing and sent me some different samples (which didn't work either lol) for free. I'll definitely be buying sample sizes from now on before committing to something full size.

  15. Emily E.
    Reviewed on Sunday, January 04, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Caused my worst breakout ever
    • I'm incredibly disappointed with this product. I was SO excited to try it as I'd heard it was great for helping reduce hyper pigmentation and scars from acne. Unfortunately, after a week of using this, I was breaking out as badly as when I was a teenager. This was three months ago and my skin is still breaking out with new acne on a daily basis. (I wish I could post a picture.) I've been using a topical and antibiotics from my dermatologist to try to get things under control for about a month.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, January 05, 2015

    Thanks for your review! We suspect the breakouts were coincidental as there is nothing in this gel that would trigger acne, and definitely not acne that continues for months. It may be something else you're using, random hormonal shifts, or something else. Regardless, we certainly don't want you to keep a product you don't feel comfortable using, so please contact us to request a refund or we can process an exchange for you.

    —Admin
  16. Crystal E.
    Reviewed on Saturday, January 03, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Too harsh for my dry sensitive skin
    • I recently tried out 3 different PC AHA and BHA exfoliants and this one was just too harsh for me. Now, I have dry sensitive skin and I've read reviews and know this isn't meant for sensitive skin so it wasn't a shock. I didn't have a terrible reaction, but I did have enough contact redness that I wouldn't put it on my face again.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, January 05, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for your comments - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team, who can assist you with a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  17. Sarah
    Reviewed on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing even for Combo Skin!
    • I have used this product for years now and absolutely love it. I use it every night and every morning before my ultra-light antioxidant serum, and ultralight resist moisturizer. I have sensitive, acne prone, combination skin and this product is perfect for my skin even though it was designed for those with dry skin. It helps prevent breakouts, brightens my skin and leaves it feeling soft. In fact, I used this throughout my pregnancy to control breakouts since I couldn't use the BHA products.

  18. Tracy N.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, December 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Da bomb!
    • 44 year old with acne prone skin my whole life...BHA's never work for me, they break me out but give me some AHA's and my skin is awesome. This stuff is the best of the best! My skin glows after each use...never will be without this one!!

  19. VICTORIA D.
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 20, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    the best treatment
    • This AHA is the best I have ever tried in my whole life. Keeps my skin clear, moist and glowy. Use 3 pumps every night before my Resist Anti aging clear skin hydrator. I can tell when I skip using it my skin looks dull and dry. I can use it every night without any irritation. Highly recommended!

  20. Emily S
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wow!
    • This has saved me! Pairing with the 2% BHA gel, 80% of my closed comedones, cysts, and dryness are gone. I use this only at night and have not had any problems with dryness since. I never had any adverse reactions like I did with Ole Henriksen's AHA resurfacer. The biggest difference I have seen besides the acne and dryness cutting down is that my red/pink acne marks on my jaw are slightly fading. Packaging and value on this are great! :)

  21. Laura V.
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 11, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Adore this!
    • After only a few uses, it's like I have a brand spanking new skin. Smells odd, but that's to be expected from acids. Leaves my face glowing. That said, I find it very strong, and can't use it more than 3x a week, even though I've had it for months now. I know some folks can handle it daily, but I'm not one of them. Would love if PC had a lactic acid option for sensitive skin.

  22. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    It Just Works
    • You know how everyone says their product reduces wrinkles, blah blah and then nothing happens? This is NOT that product. I use it every night and it makes such a difference. My skin texture is improved and, best of all, the fine lines that were developing around my eyes (I'm 31) are now practically invisible. For real. It does sting just a tiny bit, but doesn't irritate/dry out my skin (unlike the Alpha Hydrox AHA I'd been using). I really think Paula makes the best facial products out there.

  23. Amber W.
    Reviewed on Monday, October 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Holy grail!!!!
    • If I had to choose just one skin care product to take to a deserted island with me, this is it. I love many of paula's products, but this is my absolute favorite! I've struggled with acne, acne scars and clogged pores for a long time and the 8% aha gel is the only product I've ever come across that makes my skin look smooth and glowing. It is a life saver and I will continue buy it as a long as paula's choice sells it. (Hopefully forever! ) ? ? ?

  24. Mary S.
    Reviewed on Thursday, October 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    My personal miracle
    • I had acne for many years until I started using this product. It's been night and day - my skin has been clear for the last few years. I hope you never stop making this. I have also been buying it for my teenagers, so they don't suffer like I did. Thank you, Paula!!!

  25. 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.

Page of 8 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 3.5-3.9.

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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