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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

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

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

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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

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Customer Ratings:

84 out of 100
(Based on 774 Reviews)
Page of 31 Next »
  1. Elyse V.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Success!
    • I'm very impressed with this product's ability to remove my blackheads, white bumps and fade dark spots. My blackheads and little white bumps are, for the most gone. My dark spots have faded. I've only been using this product for about two weeks. I can only imagine what my skin will be like with prolonged use.

  2. Brittany
    Reviewed on Friday, May 15, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Does EVERYTHING it says it does
    • Got acne? You need this! I've tried EVERYTHING... Between this, BHA 9, and the Resist AHA treatments, my skin is gradually improving. I have acne on my cheeks, and post acne hyperpigmentation red marks all over. It's unsightly and my derm told me BHA's work for active breakouts and AHA's fade the old marks. Paula's choice is making my skin a lot better! I shall soon no longer have problematic skin. :) I am hopeful! Thank you!!!

  3. Emily F.
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 14, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Changed my skin!
    • This changed my life. I have cystic acne, and using this leave on exfoliant dramatically helped improve my skin tone, while also exfoliating. Scrubs irritate me skin, usually causing more breakouts. This product is my dream come true. I have truly sensitive acne prone skin and I've had no problems with this -- it doesn't sting or dry me out (I do have oily skin, though). I apply it twice daily with my morning and nightly routines. Can't suggest this highly enough for people suffering from acne.

  4. Rose P
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    I prefer BHA 9
    • My skin and I are disappointed in this product. I did not care for the BHA 2%, as I believe it aggravated my skin, causing more breakouts, particularly on the sides of my face near the ears. I do appreciate that Paula's choice offers sample sizes, which is how I tried this product. In the future I think I'm going to try BHA 9, which I had better results with.

  5. Jessica S
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    My dry, sensitive, acne prone skin loves!
    • This is first BHA I've ever used. So I can't tell u how it compares. What I can tell u is that I have the most sensitive skin ever. And developed hormonal acne in my 30's. After only one use, I woke up w no flakies. 3 days & no acne. Usually have to deal w at least one issue. And I usually have to moisturize throughout day. LOVE this stuff!

  6. Jerrica
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 10, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    No burning!
    • I've been using it for about 4 months now and I still have about half a bottle of liquid left! I apply this product (at night) directly to the palm of my hand and gently pat my face with it. You don't need too much, just flip the bottle into your hand and that should be enough. Then I wait about 30 minutes before applying moisturizer. It is a process but it truly works. I have no burning but you do need to make sure you moisturize, even if you have oily skin!

  7. kahling
    Reviewed on Friday, May 08, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    My enlarged pores have minimised, my Mum loves it
    • I LOVE this, probably my favourite item from Paula's Choice. I have oily skin with enlarged clogged pores and some old acne marks. This BHA liquid minimised most of my pores. I've used this for 5 months. I'm already on my second bottle. My mum is a fan of this too. Use this along with Skin Balancing serum with retinol and I see a much radiant & smooth skin I'm always resisting the urge to touch my new skin. One of the few best BHA exfoliants you can possibly find in the market.

  8. LisaandTrixie
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 07, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Bye Bye Pores
    • I have combination skin. This has been the only, repeat only, product I've ever used to successfully fight the enlarged pores over my nose and cheeks. The CSR was very helpful in guiding me to the correct product and BHA seems to be the winner! The only drawback may be that, at 57 years of age, I might need a product to address the drier areas of my skin (under eyes, lower cheeks).

  9. Susan T.
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 07, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Very Disappointing
    • Very upset with this product. Was recommended this product by multiply Paula's Choice online advisers. All it did was dry my skin and and create a dull-looking surface.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, May 07, 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
  10. Stephen
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 06, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Is this a joke?
    • I've had problematic skin for over a decade and have heard tons of great stuff about BHA and have had good experiences with it in the past, but this exfoliator didn't work for me. I've been using it consistently for the past 4 weeks. My face becomes highly irritated--painful and red--when I use this, not to mention it leaves an incredibly sticky, greasy feel to my skin. I notice that my skin peels a ton the next day, but with that comes a ton of new breakouts, large and small. I'm disappoined.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, May 07, 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
  11. Sis H.
    Reviewed on Monday, May 04, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love love love!!!
    • This product is amazing! It has worked wonders on acne and large pores. The only thing is you definitly can't skip out on moisturizer at all while using this! Make sure you keep at it for at least a month or longer before deciding if it's for you or not.

  12. Aileen M
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 03, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    So it seems it may be working after all!
    • Last month I posted a review after using the product 3 times and experiencing a lot of tightening/drying, and skin darkening....well, over the past couple of weeks I've seemed to develop oilier skin and had some significant breakouts (the weather here in the desert finally started getting hot). I decided to replace my night moisturizer with this BHA liquid exfoliant. It really has made a difference - not as oily anymore and it's helped diminish the breakouts. And thats just after 3 days!

  13. Marie M.
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 03, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Almost perfect
    • I've been using this on and off for a few years. I try something else, realize it doesn't work as well or is less value b/c of the size and then always come back to the 2% BHA Liquid. Not sure that it does much to reduce blackheads but I have some sun damage and it has helped the redness and evened out skin tone over time. My only complaint is the tacky texture that takes a while to dry in the morning (even using just a small amount). Overall, definitely a good buy!

  14. Alexandria
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 29, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • I was drawn to this product in particular because I couldn't find another BHA exfoliant ANYWHERE! After reading about the benefits of BHA I knew I needed it. I've struggled with breakouts as an adult and it's really discouraging. I'm active, I drink lots of water, I eat right but I have never been able to have skin I was proud of. After just a couple days of applying this product 2x a day my skin looked totally different. It was smooth and blemish free! So impressed!! I had almost given up.

  15. Jack
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Gave me zits
    • This product gave me large pimples on my skin and made my skin generally itchy where ever I applied it. Serves me right for believing the hype of cosmetics companies.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, April 29, 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
  16. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, April 26, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Question!
    • i was wondering what cleanser and moisturizer you would recommend with this product?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, April 27, 2015

    Hello, and thanks for the question! Since this product is recommended for all skin types, what cleanser and moisturizer you use would be a matter of the type of skin you have. For assistance, you can contact a member of our Customer Care team - they are specially-trained to help you find the products that work best for your particular skin type!

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  17. Nora H.
    Reviewed on Saturday, April 25, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Does exactly what it says.
    • I think Paula's Choice is spoiling me by consistently selling me products that do exactly what they claim to do. BHA was exactly what I needed to clear the blackheads from my cheeks and nose. Instead of dreading a huge routine I have to do in the morning and before bed, I look forward to applying my entire routine of PC Products. It feels like pampering myself and I know that my skin is going to look better for it.

  18. Laura P.
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 23, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This is my Holy Grail product.
    • I've been struggling with acne, clogged pores and combination skin for a long time now. Up until about a year and a half ago, chemical exfoliation was not something I had heard of for acne treatment. I use this product twice daily and have received multiple compliments on the texture and appearance of my skin. After a few months of ongoing exfoliation with this and the 8% Gel, my skin is near flawless. I now just use a BB Cream and powder, something I would never have dared before. Love this!

  19. Genevieve D.
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 23, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Turns skin into silk
    • I'm loving this BHA treatment. I saw immediate, dramatic results during the first week. My skin glowed. By week 2 and 3, I noticed some purging action, which led to an annoying breakout on my cheeks; it was like Vesuvius for a few of my pores. I read somewhere that this was a normal reaction for some people, so I stuck with it. Now, more than a month later, my skin feels unclogged and silky. My pores seem to have disappeared. Pairs well with RESIST products.

  20. Jessica G.
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 23, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love this stuff!
    • This stuff is great. My pores are smaller, and I get fewer blackheads. Does leave an oily residue, which I don't mind at night, but under makeup I use the 2% lotion. I just have a quick question: I recently got my brother into using a BHA exfoliant (PC4Men), but it's so pricey for the small amount given! He uses it because it also works as an aftershave, and he doesn't want to use "girly" products. Will this also work for him, considering that he has to shave his face? Thanks!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, April 23, 2015

    Hello, and thanks for the question! He can definitely use this after shaving, since the anti-inflammatory properties of BHA should be able to help reduce any post-shaving redness!

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  21. Coushatta L.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    I am enjoying this product!
    • I apply this product with a cotton ball because it gets everywhere on just my palm. It feels good on my skin and I le tit sit for 30 mins before I put something else on. I have seen good results. Slow results but got rid of deep pores and made others smaller. Still hoping it gets rid of more though! I use it every other night and slowly doing it every night. It has lasted me some time too! Which is so great! I am going to buy it again as soon as I run out. I just wish it was cheaper.

  22. Lucy D.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Is it wrong to want to pet my face?
    • When I use this product faithfully, my skin clears up, the pores shrink, and my face feels so, so soft. Leaves me wanting to pet it! Weird, I know. But what's not weird is how well this stuff works. Sometimes I'm really bad about washing my face daily (gasp!) and I suffer the consequences (dull, flaky skin that looks 10 years older than it should, and bad acne). The incentive to using this product daily is gorgeous skin that glows. And kissably soft cheeks.

  23. Erin E.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Could be better.....
    • I bought this product a while back with the idea that this was going to feel super light on the skin. Almost water-like, at least that is what I had hoped for. In a world where most BHA products are in the form of a lotion this seemed like a great alternative option! Unfortunately, this left a greasy film on my face that took a few minutes to dissipate. I just couldn't get over the texture and my skin felt slightly irritated when using. The texture was really the deal breaker for me on this.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your experience with us - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! You might want to consider our Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  24. A.S.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Disappointed :\
    • I have been using this product once a day for 2 months. While I think it does help to reduce breakouts and makes my skin feel smoother, it is not really helping with post-acne marks, which is why I bought it to begin with. I'm disappointed, although I know that success with skin care products varies from person to person.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, April 22, 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
  25. Courtney D.
    Reviewed on Sunday, April 19, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Unpleasant Residue
    • First time PC user, and while I liked the other products in my first purchase, I really do not like this one. It leaves a weird sticky/greasy residue upon application and it doesn't do much for my skin so far. Personally, I don't get the hype on this product.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, April 22, 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
Page of 31 Next »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Ingredients:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I use an AHA or BHA exfoliant?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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