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Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Breakouts, we’re through. This super-light, matte finish BHA 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:

77 out of 100
(Based on 177 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 8 Next »
  1. 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!!!!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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
  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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
  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. Naomi W.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 26, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Doesnt work with make up over it
    • I don't really know what to say - It seems to have made acne marks look darker to me, my make up looks weird...Maybe the lotion just isnt for me . On the plus side I see none of the usual shine I see at noon, my pores looke smaller and already blackheads look smaller and a lot less of them. Maybe I will try the gel - possible the lotion is just not for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
    Thank you for submitting your review! Don't forget you may certainly return/exchange your 1% BHA Lotion for the BHA Gel (or contact Customer Care for samples of alternative BHAs to experiment with).
    —Admin
  19. JeanAnnVK
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 24, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Works great on my sensitive skin
    • I ordered a couple of samples of this and I am loving it! Right now, I am using it as a spot treatment for breakouts. I find it really effective in making them disappear! I dab a little on my problem spots at night and in the morning, they are significantly diminished. I also have rosacea and have read reports that say BHA is good for it. I'm going to buy this in my next Paula's order and give it a try.

  20. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, January 06, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for my Rosacea skin
    • I have been using a topical medicated cream for the last 4 years. It has kept my condition under control. But I still had some stubborn bumps that just wouldn't go away. I also used a cream exfoliant once a week. I finally decided to give this product a test drive. I was a little concerned about the combination of products ( prescription and BHA) but I spoke to customer service and was given reassurance that all would be OK.. Well I must report that all is well after 3 weeks of using this product. In fact I can't believe the improved condition of my skin. I see faster results using the BHA than my prescription cream which is also an acid. Everyday i check my magnifying mirror to appraise the results and find a great reflection!!!! It's short of a miracle. I never dreamed that a skin product could work so well. Now, of course I'll have to investigate more of Paula's products.

  21. LC
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 03, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Thickeners not for me
    • After careful testing, I've determined that the thickeners in this lotion are causing tiny blemishes. I am going to stick with the 1% BHA gel and use the anti-aging clear skin hydrator when I need to add moisturizer. I was disappointed with this because I prefer the application of the BHA lotion to the gel. The lotion is easier for me to spread thinly, while the gel can cause me to apply too much. The rest of my routine consists of CeraVe foaming cleanser, Paula's Choice toner, serum, and SPF from the skin balancing line.

  22. lasara
    Reviewed on Monday, December 31, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Must have!
    • I have oily, acne-prone skin and pores that clog easily, contributing to breakouts. I started using this 4 years ago, every night after I wash my face and before I apply my moisturizer. It's not a "cure-all" but the texture and tone of my skin improved significantly when I started using it and I haven't stopped. If you try this and have a skin reaction, don't be discouraged! Sometimes you need to slowly transition to a new product, or try out different combinations. But I think this is the one thing that has really improved the texture of my skin and reduced my breakouts over the years.

  23. JENNIFER C.
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 09, 2012
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Oddly, caused a reaction
    • I've used this 1% BHA lotion for years because I thought it was important to have an exfoliant in my routine and this was the recommendation of the Paula's Choice team. I have dry skin with Rosacea. This causes my skin to flush bright red for at least 10 minutes. I thought this was just a normal reaction to an exfoliant so I've continued to use it, however since it didn't appear to be doing much I thought I'd give some of the 2% BHA's a try. I've since tried the regular strength Clear Toner and 2% Gel and both were very effective and caused no irritation or flushing! I'm beyond shocked that somehow the 2% is working better for me. I thought they would only suit those with oily, acne prone skin. Apparently not! It must be something in the lotion I'm reacting to. I'm sure it's still an option for others - everyone reacts differently of course. I just want people to know that if you react to one of the BHA options- do make a point of trying the others. This may seem obvious, but since I believed this was the gentlest option I didn't experiment. I'll definitely be switching product now that I know I can exfoliate without causing a flushing episode! Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear of your experience with this product. While this response is not typical, we do understand that each customer is uniquely different in how they will respond to products or ingredients. This along with everyday environmental factors can sometimes play a part in how someone will ultimately respond to a product or combination of products. We are happy to hear the other BHA's work better for you and encourage you to stick with what works! Please contact customer care so that we may off your an in house credit for this product to use toward a future purchase.

  24. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 08, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Cured My Rosacea
    • I'd been taking a rosacea oral prescription and using a prescription topical on my sensitive dry skin. After using this product for just a couple weeks I no longer needed either of these prescriptions. After a year, I tried not using it for a week to see what happened—rosacea came back and had to start the topical prescription again. Used the 1% BHA again—prescription was needed at all a and smooth, clear flawless skin was back! Further, I have no flares at all. I apply it morning and night. (My rosacea is the red flush, swelling, few bumps.) This product is a miracle and I'll use it forever!

  25. SUSAN H.
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 06, 2012
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Unpleasant odor
    • I have very mild rosacea and wanted to try something else. I have been using 8% AHA gel with decent results. Also use all the Moisture Boost products which I love. The odor is offensive and I have to quickly apply and not take a breathe at the same time. I will switch back to the AHA product and will not buy this again. This is the first product I have purchased from PC that I have been disappointed with. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear you are not happy with the smell of this product. We don't use masking fragrances as they are irritants in the formulas so what you smell is the natural raw ingredients which can vary in intensity from batch to batch. We can assure you each batch is tested to ensure stability and potency of the ingredients. Please contact customer care so that we may offer you an in house credit for this product which may be used on a future purchase.

« Prev Page of 8 Next »

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 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.

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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