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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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Customer Ratings:

85 out of 100
(Based on 563 Reviews)
Page of 23 Next »
  1. Marie
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    wanted to like it
    • I really wanted to like this product after hearing great things about it from a friend. I have mild cystic acne that two weeks ago was clearing up after using an all natural soap. I received my order in the mail, used it for a few days and ended up with large cysts between my eyebrows, on my nose, and on my right cheek. I had always suspected that salicylic acid isn't compatible with my skin and now my suspicions are confirmed. Very disappointed as now these cysts will take a month to clear.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Thanks for your review! While it's possible your skin may not be able to tolerate salicylic acid, what's much more likely is that the exfoliation this BHA product provides loosened clogs deeper in the pore lining, causing them to surface all at once, thus resulting in more breakouts. For many who experience this, it's a temporary issue that resolves with ongoing use of a BHA exfoliant. We understand your hesitation to go back to using this product, but suspect if you stick with it you really will see clearer skin! If you remain unhappy, please contact us to discuss a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  2. Jill M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    No more blackheads
    • I have to say, my chin is my trouble spot, but this BHA not only made my skin really smooth (overnight), it uprooted and shipped out the colony of blackheads that have been, until recently, a permanent installation on my chin. In just a few days my skin was totally clear - i might even say it glows, if i didn't feel like i was bragging. I'm excited to try the Resist BHA product for extra anti-aging power, and am looking forward to ordering the weekly 4% resurfacing treatment as soon as it's back

  3. Sarah A.
    Reviewed on Monday, July 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    this really works
    • This product has cleared my skin up - no acne spots and the blackheads on/around my nose are rapidly reducing. I've tried experimented with many different products in order to try to clear my skin up but this is the only one that has really worked. The product is very light and easy to apply. I wouldn't be without this .

  4. Yves
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 19, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    It's alright.
    • This is the very first PC product for me, so I had high hopes. I have very stubborn whiteheads & blackheads and hoped this exfoliant would help reduce it. I love how smooth this makes my skin feel, but that really is the only positive thing I have to say. It has been almost 2 months and my pores are still the same size with no reduction in blackheads and whiteheads. Also, this product leaves a very shiny film all over my face that I really dislike. I'm not too impressed with this.

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

    Thanks for your review! Experienced like yours are why we offer a variety of exfoliants. Please contact us so we can help you find one that may work better for you (and we'd also love to discuss the rest of your routine, as you may be using other products that kept this exfoliant from working as well as it has for lots of others)!

    —Admin
  5. MICHAL S.
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 19, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Leaves shiny residue
    • I have used the 1% BHA lotion for years and love it but with all the positive reviews and the fact that my hubby dislikes the smell of the lotion, I thought I'd give this a try and hoped it might do my pores even better. While this didn't do anything bad to my skin, the consistency was so sticky and left an oily looking sheen to my face that I couldn't stay with it long enough to see if it was any better. I love the mat clean feeling the 1% lotion leaves, so I'll stay with that.

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

    Thanks for your review! Those who dislike the feel of the 2% BHA Liquid usually find that our CLEAR Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution, Regular Strength is more to their liking due to its water-light feel and near-weightless finish. Happy to send samples of this BHA exfoliant!

    —Admin
  6. crystal
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 16, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    the only product that works on my skin
    • i've tried so many products to combat my nodular and cystic acne. i was desperate to find a product that would prevent breakouts and diminish acne scarring. i had stubborn blind pimples on my forehead that lingered for a couple months. at first, after using this twice a day, these pimples came to surface and became red and inflamed, but this was just initial purging. after only a couple days my skin calmed down and redness and scarring have diminished quite a bit. i'm finally happy with my skin!

  7. Jenny
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    It made my skin worse for some reason...
    • After reading these amazing comments, I decided to try this product. I have had acne prone skin, but now in my mid-20s, I don't break out that much. My skin calmed down but I still have problems with redness, acne pigments, and big pores. I was hoping it would help with all those issues but instead this product gave me weird small red bumps.. sort of beside the bridge of my nose. It almost looked like cystic acne except I never get those. I stopped using it and in 2 days its gone. Disappointed..

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Hi Jenny! We're sorry to learn of your experience with the 2% BHA Liquid! Please contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  8. Vanessa T.
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 12, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This stuff really works
    • I am always skeptical about products that claim to shrink pores and all that jazz but I was willing to give this a shot after reading the customer reviews. I'm so glad I did! I noticed after a week or so a dramatic difference in the size of my pores. I couldn't believe it. It helped heal my scarring from acne as well. This product is a great addition to your skincare routine. I would recommend using it every other night.

  9. Lee R.
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 10, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I would not be without this product
    • This product cleared the redness, itch, and blackheads in my oily T zone without any irritation. My skin is so sensitive that pressure will leave a mark. I applied this with trepidation only at night 2-3 times weekly with no irritation. I now apply it with complete confidence a.m. and p.m. in the T zone and on my shoulders and back, areas which have been problem areas for decades. Aren't we fortunate to have products that actually do what they promise? Bravo, Paula!

  10. Roxanna L.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Shocking!
    • I started using this, and after about a week I started feeling non-irritated "bumps", all over my face, especially on my nose, chin, and around the hairline. Not only that, Id wake up each morning, and have pilling, little nodules, all over. I thought it was skin, sloughing off. Well, I was just about to quit using it, or call customer service, (which is awesome, btw!) when it dawned on me. It was blackheads, and junk being pulled out of my pores! I rode it out, my pores/skin are now great

  11. Lenore R.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Skin care holy grail
    • Thanks to this product I no longer have large pores and blackheads on my face. Almost immediately my skin began to improve and one month later I no longer have blackheads and my pores are shrinking. Product is very light and watery in texture. Easy to apply. I had given up on my skin after years of broken promises from other skincare lines. Then I found Paula's Choice! My skin looks better now than I ever thought it could! Thank you PC Team! If you have these issues this is a must buy!

  12. C.M.
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 06, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing
    • I'm a black woman with acne prone skin. I had lots of little bumps under my skin, & a few big ones from inflamed papules. The bha liquid cleared all the small bumps after 3 weeks of using twice daily. My skin is smooth again, the big bumps are becoming smaller. I found it drying at first but realised I was using too much. I use clear extra strength b.p. treatment & face wash. I don't have any inflamed spots on my skin! I won't waste time with other products again. Thank you Paula!

  13. Sandra C.
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 05, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Now a believer
    • I was at first very reluctant to try a BHA having had a nightmare episode when I was a teenager and ended up scaling and peeling. So imagine my surprise when I tried this and have not noticed any sensitivity nor peeling. I do however notice my blackheads have greatly diminished , my pores around my nose are significantly smaller and my skin feels amazingly soft. I also notice that the clarity in my over all complexion has cleared up dramatically . Fabulous product.

  14. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 03, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Eliminates Blackheads
    • I use this product as part of the Skin Balancing Kit, which I love, but the 2% BHA Liquid took some time to get used to. At first, it felt sticky on my skin, like it wasn't fully soaking in, but I learned that's because I was using too much. A little goes a long way with this product! Once I got the application amount right, I fell in love with it! It completely eliminates my blackheads, evens out my skin tone, smoothes rough patches, and leaves my skin looking fresher and younger.

  15. Nicole M
    Reviewed on Monday, June 30, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Stick with it!
    • I bought this product hoping it would help the deep acne i sometimes get on my forehead and help the clogged pores on my chin. After using it for about 3 weeks I started to notice a difference in both areas. By the 4th week my forehead and chin were both super clear however the rest of my face was breaking out where it normally doesnt! I contacted a Paula's choice representative & she encouraged me to stick with the product for another week and I'm glad i did because my skin is amazing now!

  16. Jennifer C
    Reviewed on Thursday, June 26, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Awesome!!
    • This is pretty awesome. In the past I could not combine BP with salicylic acid. It causes my skin to dry out and flake, but something about this makes it work harmoniously. Super impressed and my skin has never been better!

  17. aimee g.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best Decision I ever Made
    • I have had bad skin since I was about 14 (now 22) and my skin has never ever looked better! I hardly ever get pimples now, and if I do feel them coming up I make sure to pay extra care to that area with my exfoliator. I can not explain enough how much i love this and all of Paulas products.

  18. Robin T.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great!
    • I ordered this as a sample first because I still had some of my old brand left. The old brand is more sticky / gooy and though the old brand seemed cheap, this product costs less per ounce. My oily combination skin needs all the leave on exfoilant it can get. And it goes without saying, this product smells better and is more gentle & effective than my old brand.

  19. Helen R.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not for me
    • Paula's Choice products are normally great but not every one is a perfect fit. I tried the sample of this product and it seemed OK, so I ordered the full sized bottle. I started breaking out (on my cheeks) - not a lot, but noticeable to me. Not sure if it was this product, I stopped and the breakouts went away. But I am sure for other people it works just fine.

  20. Rabia
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not working for me
    • Unfortunately, this product just did not work out for me. I started out using it every night, and the only difference I noticed in my skin was dry patches around my mouth and chin area that weren't there before. I reduced the application to twice a week and I still have the dry patches, but no noticeable improvements. I was really excited to try this product but sadly, it just did not work for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry this product didn't work for you, and encourage you to contact us to discuss our other exfoliant options along with your skin type and concerns. We're happy to help you find your perfect exfoliant!

    —Admin
  21. Oksana P.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    BHA Liquid
    • Do not have enough words to thank PC for this wonderful product. Reduced my acne, black heads and white heads. Never had better skin on my face. I saw results after 2-3 weeks of using this and PC Clear acne solution set. Thanks, Paula!!!

  22. Vidhya
    Reviewed on Monday, June 16, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not working for me
    • I purchased this product from dermstore. From the first use my skin felt very soft.I have been using it for 3weeks and it is not working for the acne or acne scars.After using this I had more & more acne at unusual spots.This one doesn't work for me.But I love your resist light antioxidant serum & resist c15 a lot.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, June 16, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We encourage you to stick with this product, as for some people, the exfoliation can cause breakouts that would normally surface over time to show up faster, so it seems the product is causing breakouts. But after a bit more time, your skin becomes beautifully clear. If you remain unsatisfied, please contact dermstore or us for a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  23. Lilly M.
    Reviewed on Sunday, June 15, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA LIQUID EXFOLIANT REVIEW
    • During my last college semester, my acne-prone skin plus hormonal acne flared - mild acne on my cheeks and chin. My asian brown skin is oily and combination. I purchased this product because I thought it would help with my acne scars and acne. I started using the product on June 9, 2014 - so far, no major break outs. It works, but skin flakes so moisturizing is a MUST. My skin-tone, freckles, and blackheads, acne scars appears a BIT lighter :) - still soon to judge. WILL UPDATE progress later!

  24. Dorian G.
    Reviewed on Saturday, June 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    really eficient
    • I had some redness on my cheeks, and nose, and after just 1 day ( I applied it just at night ) my skin looked brighter, and the redness are less visible ! I also had some acne, and in 2 days the number of pimples tremendously decreased, this product is just amazing ! However I haven't yet seen an effect on my black head.... Thanks Paula's Choice !

  25. M-A
    Reviewed on Saturday, June 14, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Almost perfect
    • I've been using this since last year expecting great things. However, I still break out regularly and this does not help the acne to heal faster. Still, I do notice that my skin looks very bright and radiant and my pores are less visible now.

Page of 23 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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