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Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Breakouts, we’re through. This super-light, matte finish lotion unclogs and shrinks too-big pores, dissolves blackheads.
Item #: 200
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Eczema, Enlarged Pores, Extra Sensitive Skin, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • For All Skin Types
  • Calms redness, builds collagen
  • Contains quickly absorbed 1% salicylic acid

PLEASE NOTE: Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin or its derivatives.

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Customer Ratings:

78 out of 100
(Based on 160 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 7 Next »
  1. Mikayla T.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • This is sensitive enough for my skin that it didn't cause it to dry out. After just ONE use, I saw a huge improvement to my skin's texture and appearance. My dark spots from previous bouts of cystic acne have even started to fade...not to mention, the current cysts I have on my chin were greatly reduced in inflammation and severity. Amazing product!

  2. JY
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 18, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not quite for me
    • I used this product for several months, and finally figured out what in the PC product line wasn't working for my combo/oily/sensitive skin. I didn't see the improvement in texture I was hoping for, and it caused milia in my skin, as well as feeling too heavy. The other gels and liquids felt sticky - the only exfoliant that's worked well is the CLEAR 2% which feels like water, & gives no irritation or milia. Sadly, I am stuck with this lotion but am glad I found a PC exfoliant that works!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Sunday, August 18, 2013
    Thank you for your review and we're sorry this product didn't work out for you (but thrilled you found happiness with another BHA exfoliant). We never want you to feel like you are "stuck" with anything so please contact our Customer Care team for assistance with a return or exchange. They are always happy to help!
    —Admin
  3. Cristina Z. (Montreal, CA)
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 18, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    The dream product
    • I am 29, and I was already convinced that having shiny skin, blackheads, some dry area it is normal for a human being and after trying expensive products I given up and convince my self that: ok, this is the way my skin looks and this is me, there is nothing to do about it. I was so wrong! I have being using PC for a week, I have a new skin, healthy, no blackheads, no dry or red area, it is truly amazing! BHA 1%Lotion is great, no blackheads no dry, the effect is astonishing! Love it-PC!

  4. Michelle R
    Reviewed on Friday, August 16, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This is the best Exfoliator I have ever used!!!
    • I have Rosacea, I have fair sensitive skin with some blackheads and whiteheads around my T-Zone! I have bought the Clarisonic ( which all it did it strip my skin of moisture) and have tried to exfoliate with mechanical exfoliants which also broke me out and made my Rosacea and broken capillaries worse! Since I started using the BHA 1% Lotion that I choose because I knew that the lotion would have some hydrating effect even though it is an exfoliant! My skin looks Flawless!!!!!! Thank you Paula!

  5. DSP
    Reviewed on Friday, August 09, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not for me
    • While many PC products have transformed my skin for the MUCH better, I'm sorry to say this isn't one of them. After several months of use, this lotion doesn't seem to improve the texture or discolorations in my skin and seems to make me have tiny hard bumps in certain areas. The lotion texture was ok, but didn't seem to soak in completely on my combo/oily skin. I think I've had much better results using the water-light CLEAR 2% BHA exfoliant, and no bumps with that either.

  6. BIANCA j.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 31, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    caused breakouts
    • I have been using the Hydralight products. I included this exfoliant in my routine. I used the product for several months. I consistently had red irritated cystic breakouts. Now that I have stopped using the product, my face seems to be clearing up. I still have some small areas of breakout, but they are no longer inflamed. I hate that I have so much wasted product left! I will continue to use the Hydralight and hopefully my skin will continue to recover.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
    Thank you for your review! We are so sorry to hear this product didn't work out for you. This product does not contain any commonly problematic ingredients but we understand that everyone's skin responds differently. Most often, breakouts experienced after using any product is pure coincidence. The breakouts also may coincide with hormonal fluctuations. That being said we want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase so please feel free to contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a return or exchange. They are always happy to help!
    —Admin
  7. Jodi J.
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 21, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Was hoping this work work for me
    • Be careful and go slow when using - I started to use this every other day at night only but burned my face the next day. It felt as though my face was sunburnt. I was really hoping this would work for me but I guess its too strong. I am using the same cleanser and moisturizer as always so I know it had to be this. The smell was wonderful however - just like fresh cucumbers like others have mentioned and the consistency was very smooth and creamy. Disappointed.

  8. lisa V.
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 07, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    My skin has never looked this good
    • PC has absolutely changed my skin for the better. I will NEVER use anything else again and I am on month 3 of using the Resist line and AHA. I slowly creeped into the BHA and 3 weeks later I use it 2x day and love love it. My blackheads on my nose and chin are disappearing. I find myself stroking my soft skin and I just can't believe still how much money and time I wasted on department store (Lamer). Give this a try and ease into it until your skin gets used to it.

  9. Anna
    Reviewed on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    exellent
    • I have never really suffered from acne, just a few whiteheads on my nose and chin. I absolutely love this product!!! It does wonders for my sensitive skin. At first I used it twice daily, my skin started to react (redness on cheeks.) I then started using it only at night. The reaction went almost immediately away. A week later, I stared using it twice daily and my skin feels so smooth now. I still a few whiteheads but they seem to be decreasing as time goes by. great product!!!!

  10. Nicole B.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This has saved my skin
    • I was so skeptical about using a BHA product because of my skin's sensitivity and rosacea. I have tried products containing salicylic acid in the past and they ruined my skin. However, this one is different. My skin loves this product. My redness is greatly reduced and my pores are looking smaller. A lot of my blackheads are disappearing. I love the fact that I have found an something to exfoliate my skin that doesn't turn it bright red. Thank you for such an amazing product!

  11. M L
    Reviewed on Monday, May 20, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love!
    • I barely used the gel in the past. I liked the results but it dried out my combination skin. This lotion is so nice. I can use it everyday and I love the cucumber smell. Highly recommend!

  12. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, May 11, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    I broke out with little red bumps!
    • First of the smell is really awful. I thought maybe it was an old sample that got "stale" or something! I tolerated it for the sake of testing the product anyways. The next morning my face felt and looked fabulous (that evening I tried the toner for dry skin and the bha 1%). I have some clogged pores on my temples and jawline and these products seemed to help with reducing size and the texture of skin. Unfortunately, the next 3xs I used just the bha I brokeout in red bumps! Not for me....

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, May 13, 2013
    Thank you for your review! We're sorry to hear this product wasn't a fit for you. It's tricky to know what the cause of the breakouts may have been, as it could have been a combination of factors (such as how you are using the product, other products combined) and so on. It also may have been a coincidence! Please contact our Customer Care Department and they will be happy to help answer your questions, as well as assist with a refund or credit.
    —Admin
  13. Kiah K.
    Reviewed on Monday, April 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Game Changer
    • Something truly amazing is starting to happen to my skin, now that I've been using this stuff for close to a month. I am new to PC products and had never before used an exfoliant like this. Everything I had been told in the past about exfoliating revolved around facial scrubs, home masks, and irritating toners. I live in a super dry climate and have been claiming dry skin for quite a while, but with flaky breakouts on the lower half of my face. Finally seeing my true combo oily skin type again!

  14. Kiah K.
    Reviewed on Monday, April 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Game Changer
    • Something truly amazing is starting to happen to my skin, now that I've been using this stuff for close to a month. I am new to PC products and had never before used an exfoliant like this. Everything I had been told in the past about exfoliating revolved around facial scrubs, home masks, and irritating toners. I live in a super dry climate and have been claiming dry skin for quite a while, but with flaky breakouts on the lower half of my face. Finally seeing my true combo oily skin type again!

  15. MIRIAM L.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 17, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Excellent BHA for drier skin
    • I had previously tried the gel and liquid versions of this product, but both left my skin (on the drier end of combination with occasional minor breakouts) constantly dry and flakey, despite my regular use of moisturizers intended for dry skin. This is the perfect solution. It still has the BHA, but the texture of the lotion feels great and keeps my skin from getting flakey. I know it's not an added fragrance, but I also rather like the cucumber smell.

  16. DARCY M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love this stuff!
    • I recently stopped using my prescription rosacea treatment to see how Paula's Choice products alone would work on my redness. I was amazed that two weeks later my redness was gone! I use the entire system but I think this is the magic product that is helping so much with the redness. I love this stuff! The other huge benefit is that this product has gotten rid of the blackheads I've had on the sides of my nose for 30 years! I like all the rosacea products but I really love the exfoliant!

  17. K.
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 28, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Not Quite Strong Enough
    • I normally love Paula's Choice products, but have to admit I was disappointed with this one. It doesn't seem to have the power to clear my cystic acne/other pimples, and I have used it for over 5 months. I am hopeful that the 2% will do a better job (??) It remains to be seen. I use other Paula's products that I am fully satisfied with, so perhaps it's just a matter of trying out some more of her lines.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, April 05, 2013
    Thank you for your review, and we're sorry the 1% BHA Lotion wasn't a fit for you. BHA in 1% is typically best for those with infrequent, minor breakouts. We would recommend experimenting with our 2% BHA options, as these are often a better fit for more stubborn skin concerns. Contact our Customer Care for assistance with a refund/exchange (or samples)!
    —Admin
  18. Andrea M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 26, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wonderful!
    • I bought this as part of the Skin Recovery line. Literally OVERNIGHT my pores were so improved and redness in my skin was gone!

  19. Rebecca W.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 25, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    The smell is overwhelming
    • The smells and it broke my face out. I've switched to the 2% and am going to try the 5% AHA. I need to return this product or throw it in the trash.

  20. lara j.
    Reviewed on Sunday, March 24, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    like it!
    • I have very dry skin that is usually clear. I started getting some redness and occasional small blemishes near my t-zone and I had some minor blackheads that I wanted to clear up so I decided to try the 1% (samples of the 2% made my skin quite red). Pros: cleared up my blemishes & redness, reduced blackheads. Cons: dried out my skin a bit which was ok for my t-zone but I can't use this under my eyes, even when following with PC moisturizer and sunscreen. Good spot treatment though.

  21. Deirdre M.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 18, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfect for rosacea
    • I love this product so much I could cry. I have rosacea, BAD rosacea, the kind Finacea and Metrogel does nothing for. The kind of rosacea that 99% of products applied to the skin turn my face into what I call "raw hamburger' face. One of the side effects of having rosacea this bad is your skin gets very rough, almost sandpaper like. Make-up is a nightmare because imagine what applying foundation to sandpaper looks like. The exfoliating properties of this product are extremely subtle. Love this!

  22. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 16, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Lotion does sink in more
    • Smells like old cucumbers, but that does not last. That is the smell of real cucumber, not fragrance. Lotion textured, but you use very little. It is not a moisturizer but a BHA with moisturizers in it. Use a tiny amount. Sinks in better then gel and leaves no shine and is not harsh. I got some flakes and red spots that faded. At first I felt dry, but that subsided in a few days. . CS has been very helpful with suggesting products. I had to try a few to figure out what worked.

  23. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 14, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    initial impression
    • i just received this a few days ago, along with the 8% AHA gel. i'm planning on alternating AHA and BHA each day. compared to the AHA gel, i like the texture and smell of this one much more. however, this doesn't leave my skin feeling very moisturized. i have normal to dry skin. i just ordered the AHA body treatment and am hoping that i like the texture better so that it leaves my skin feeling more hydrated. note that i always follow up with a moisturizer, my new favorite is PC body butter!

  24. Tiffany H
    Reviewed on Monday, March 11, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Overwhelming Odor
    • I just finished a bottle of the old version of this 1% and tried a sample of this 1% updated version. I absolutely hate the sickly cucumber smell of this version. I realize that there is no added fragrance, but the odor of medicinal cucumber brought tears to my eyes! If you are sensitive at all to certain odors, this might not work for you. Luckily, I tried the 2% lotion and there is no overwhelming cucumber smell and I will thus use it instead.

  25. JEANIE S.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 05, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Impressed!
    • I have been blessed with fairly nice skin...though aging! I am impressed with this product. I especially appreciate the slight scent--though I usually eschew scented creams or cosmetics. This scent is subtle and fresh. I also like that my face feels refreshed after application. I use it at night and in the morning before applying moisturizers. I have never written about a product before-- I am pleased with all of Paula's products--and just relieved to let someone else do all the research!

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What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant has a lightweight lotion texture that works to reveal smooth, clear skin by exfoliating both the skin's surface and inside the pore. Because BHA helps reshape the pore lining, it unclogs pores and exfoliates the built up layers on the outside of skin while improving cell turnover rate. The result is healthier, smoother skin. This creates a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function, especially if blemishes are a concern. 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 anti-bacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. This elegant formula is non-occlusive, contains no waxy, heavy ingredients and absorbs easily, setting to a soft matte finish.

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 dry skin.

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 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Biochemistry and Pharmacology, June 2007, pages 1,786-1,795; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2006, pages 416–421; Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2002, pages 1531–1532; Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, January 2002, pages 137–142; Archives of Dermatology, November 2000, pages 1390–1395; Preservatives for Cosmetics, 1996, 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: caprylic/capric triglyceride, Avena sativa, salicylic acid, allantoin, glycerin, BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

Product Ingredients:

Water, Cetyl Alcohol (thickener/emollient), Butylene Glycol (water-binding agent), PPG-14 Butyl Ether (thickener), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Allantoin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritants), Alteromonas Ferment Extract (water-binding agent), Dimethicone, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-repairing ingredient/emollient), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate (thickeners), PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer (film-forming agent), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (skin-conditioning agent), Polyacrylate-13 (film-forming agent), Polyisobutene (thickener), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime-sized amount over the entire face, including the eyes (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 Skin-Care 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.

What strength of BHA should I use? Will a higher concentration provide better and faster results?

Which BHA strength you opt to use should be based on your skin type and the stubbornness (or severity) of your acne, white bumps, or blackheads. The 1% BHA strength is a great starting point to see how using a pH-correct BHA can improve the skin's condition. The 2% concentrations can be something you step up to if and when the need arises or if your skin isn't responding well enough to the 1% concentration.

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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