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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:

84 out of 100
(Based on 749 Reviews)
Page of 30 Next »
  1. Holly W
    Reviewed on Friday, April 17, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Life Saver
    • I usually never review products because most of the time they never work, but this product does work. My mom introduced this to me in high school when I had acne and I had no idea of what it actually did then but it worked! Now I am 21 and using this product again for my dead skin build up issues which clogs my pores and this helps my condition drastically. I could not recommend any other product except this one.

  2. Cindy H
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great Product
    • I just turned 40 and I have always had a problem with the occasional acne. Mostly little bumps all around my hairline and cheeks. I also have rosacea and have gone to a dermatologist in the past to no avail. With that being said this product is great for rosacea. Other reviewers have mentioned that it is tacky or oily and I agree but I only use this at night and I feel it adds to the moisture overnight. I would definitely recommend this product. Skin feels and looks great!

  3. Jane B.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not Bad.
    • My mid twenties hit and with it came acne. I have been using for about six weeks. Cystic type acne mixed with more regular acne and my pore seemed to clog and fill up with junk. Within a few months my skin was a mess. After many trial and error attempts I started using this, which helped a lot, but not quite 100%. Didn't make my acne any worse, and it surely broke up the smaller blackheads and smaller acne spots, but the more enlarged, raised pores, and more cystic acne have still not resolved.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your experience with us. In a lot of cases, cystic acne can only be 100% cleared up with the use of prescription medications. Definitely see a dermatologist to get their recommendations.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  4. Alyssa B
    Reviewed on Monday, April 13, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fantastic!
    • I originally was using the 1% BHA gel, which worked ok. My skin seemed to be getting used to that so I decided to try this! WOW! I can't believe the difference! I've been using it for a week and I've had no new breakouts, my old ones have cleared, no blackheads, pores are clearer, and my skin is SO soft! On top of that my acne scars seem to be getting lighter. For reference, my skin is very oily and very acne prone. Great product!

  5. April K
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 07, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fantastic
    • My esthetician recommended this to me and I couldn't be happier. I had a lot of skin problems after moving to the desert and this really helped clear up small bumps and blackheads. I was afraid it would dry my skin out, but even during the dry winter, I had no problems. Sadly, the post office lost my last order and in the last couple weeks without using this, my skin is duller and breaking out again.

  6. Alex H
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 01, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Game changer!
    • My dull flaky skin is long gone now with this product. Holy grail! I just can't live without this, end of story. PS. is gentle enough for dry skin too, Score!

  7. Renn B.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    My skin is flawless now! A must-have, but needs to be used alongside other products.
    • At first, this product made my skin really shiny, but I kept using it and after a few weeks it stopped and my skin started to clear up. I no longer have blackheads or acne and my skin is radiant! I recommend using cotton pads (not cotton balls), letting the product completely dry then applying a moisturizer, and, personally, I have to use a peel-away exfoliant every once in a while to get rid of the flaky skin from the improved skin cell turnover rate (although I am also prone to dry skin).

  8. Nina
    Reviewed on Monday, March 30, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    OMG!
    • So at first I didn't really love this product, it was drying and I was still breaking out. However, once I made a few other adjustments to my routine and committed to using this every day, twice a day, I saw great things. I can't stop touching my skin - which I know is terrible - but it's so soft now! I had these little bumps on the bridge of my nose which have disappeared. Some other PC products have been misses for me but not this one - you need it!

  9. Melissa M
    Reviewed on Sunday, March 29, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Had great luck with this!
    • This dislodged the majority of my blackheads, softened my fine lines, got rid of my keratosis pilaris (those back-of-the-arm bumps) and, with about two weeks of once daily use, even removed a skin tag. My skin is slightly oily with dry patches and I used this every night - I didn't have any issues with over-drying even in the New England winter. Can't say enough about how well this product worked for me and, for how long the bottle lasts/how effective it is, I think the price is great too!

  10. Madison L.
    Reviewed on Friday, March 27, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Did not like
    • This made my skin very oily, tried it for a couple of weeks and didn't do anything for my skin. Very unfortunate because I love all of my other Paulas Choice products, but for some reason this did not work well with my skin at all.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 30, 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. SHELLEY L.
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 26, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    excellent results
    • Love this product, has kept our skin clear for years.

  12. Aileen M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not bad but not sure it's for me
    • As with all skin care products, what works for one person may not work for another. I had high hopes for this 2% BHA Liquid as it's gotten stellar reviews on other skin care blogs but after using it 3 times, it seems like it's leaving my face tight and darkening the overall color. It definitely shrunk my pores but only because it made my skin tight and somewhat dry despite moisturizer. I wanted a leave in exfoliant to help get brighter/clearer skin...maybe AHA would be a better option?

  13. Nora
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 21, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Luv BHA
    • This product has done wonders for my skin. I had an issue with break outs and untoned skin. I have been using this product for a few months and my face glows!! I have received so many compliments on my skin. The pores in my face have reduced and my blackheads and clogged pores and gone! I have sensitive skin too, prone to breakouts and this product is not irritating at all. I can use it everyday on my face and neck. It does not leave a residue at all. I follow with a light moisturizer.

  14. Meghan W
    Reviewed on Friday, March 20, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Loved it
    • The first week using this product my face was super oily and looked disgusting under my make-up. Then my face adjusted to the product and then I hated not putting it on under my make-up because my skin did not look as healthy and radiant. I did not however see a difference in the amount of black heads I had. But my skin loooked better all around so I happy. Looking forward to ordering the product again.

  15. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 17, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    very disappointed
    • i'm very disappointed : ( product feels sticky and thick on my skin, makes it feel gross, and after two days of use I got two huge zits...I haven't had zits in years! Serves me right for falling for ads in women's magazines....

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, March 18, 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. sharon
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 17, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    most blackheads stilll present
    • I am a huge fan of PC. I trust them and even though this product didnt work for me, I will try their other exfoliants. The 2% bha hasnt seemed to have shrunk my pores. It has eliminated a few blackheads on my nose, but most are still there.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    Ugh, how disappointing! Well, although we're sorry this didn't work as well as you hoped, it could be that your blackheads are more stubborn and will benefit from one of our stronger BHA treatments. Please contact us to discuss your options, including a refund or exchange should you not wish to keep the 2% BHA Liquid.

    —Admin
  17. Michelle B.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 16, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Makes my skin look pretty
    • I first tried the 2% lotion, then received a trial,size of this liquid, and I am blown away at how much more effective the liquid seems to be. My skin looks brighter immediately after using the liquid, and it feels softer and smoother. My serum absorbs quickly after using this BHA, too. I have super-sensitive skin plus Rosacea, and this works without irritation (except when I accidentally overdid the retinol, then everything stung). PC has been amazing for my skin and edification.

  18. Melea
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 14, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Goodbye scrubs!
    • I've been using the BHA liquid for almost 3 years. I use it in combo with Resist Retinol Serum, Moisture Boost moisturizer in the winter and Hydralight moisturizer in the summer. I'm 40 this year and have spent decades trying to exfoliate my flakey skin and get rid of blackheads & big pores. Thanks to finding PC products and info, the BHA has revealed smooth skin that needs little makeup. Friends and my sister noticed the difference in my skin right away. Thanks Paula!

  19. kirk r.
    Reviewed on Friday, March 13, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Quality service; bad reaction
    • I bought this product because i needed to incorporate an exfoliant into my routine. I got a discount on this purchase and the shipping was very quick; I was pleased by the service. I used this for about a week before i realized i was starting to break out in heavy cystic acne. Reading reviews and researching this product made me very hopeful of its effectiveness, but it is just not for me. I reduced my use of the product and applied it only to a small part of my face: it broke that part out.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 16, 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
  20. Jo
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 12, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Rough, dry skin much smoother
    • I love this product. I've been using Paula's skincare for about two months, and together with products from the Resist line the BHA liquid has transformed my skin. I am 56 y.o. and my skin has become very dry and rough in recent years. It is beautiful and smooth now. I used to have rosacea and I was worried that my sensitive skin wouldn't tolerate BHA, but I am able to use it every night with no problem. I love the fact that Paula's products do not irritate and are fragrance-free.

  21. V
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Can't live without
    • The only acne treatment works for me and it works so well that I can't live without.

  22. Huong D.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 09, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Textured skin evened out
    • I have been using this product twice daily for about 8 days and have noticed the following: (1) my pores on my checks are much smaller, (2) nose blackheads diminishing [might need the BHA9 for this so just purchased sample], (3) textured checks have evened out and bb cream/foundation goes on smoother/evenly, and (4) face discoloration has lessened - not as blotchy. Love this product! Thanks, PC team!

  23. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 07, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best Product I've Ever Used
    • Let me start off by saying that I have never in my life left a review for an acne product, since none have worked for me. Like so many, I have struggled with acne my whole life and have tried everything. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I have actually found something that has worked. I am 24 and had those skin-colored bumps and blackheads on my forehead and chin, and would often get white heads on the corners of my mouth too. This product has cleared my skin tremendously within a week!!!

  24. Jaclyn P.
    Reviewed on Friday, March 06, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Really great product
    • This product blows away any drugstore salicylic acid treatment I have used. Its gentle yet effective. Daily use without a moisturiser, you will notice flakes. That's normal and shows that its working! Use moistuizer and don't use daily if that bothers you. I had some KP on my cheek bone (basically really rough, bumpy skin that no moisturiser could fix) I fixed that after using this and one glycolic acid treatment. My skin is so smooth now and the acne is MUCH better and scars are fading a bit

  25. Claudia
    Reviewed on Friday, March 06, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Glad I tried it!
    • I saw an ad in Glamour magazine for a trial size of this product & was very skeptical. I use a cotton pad to apply it & it does leave a slight tacky residue, but I let it soak in & then follow with a moisturizer. I have very oily skin, some post-acne roughness & discoloration. I've only been using this less than a week & I can see & feel the difference in my skin. It is much smoother & pores are definitely smaller. Will definitely purchase the full size!! I like that they have sample sizes.

Page of 30 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 3.5-3.9. 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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