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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 574 Reviews)
Page of 23 Next »
  1. Beth
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    good stuff!
    • I use this liquid exfoliant in combination with the BHA lotion a couple of times a month when my skin "acts up" and the morning after my complexion is visibly clearer. It does feel greasy when you apply it but it does the job :)

  2. M
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not for everyone
    • I was very excited about this product from reading the reviews because I have recently begun noticing some enlarged pores on my nose and forehead. I used this product once daily for 4-5 days but I did not notice any change, and even more surprisingly, it made me break out in two areas. It also had a very oily feel that lingered. However, it worked great on my husband, who has normal skin. I suppose it is a great product, just not for everyone.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Definitely don't give up on a BHA exfoliant, though. We have several with different strengths and textures; one will be perfect for you! Please contact us if you need assistance with a return or exchange, or help selecting the best BHA exfoliant for your needs and preferences.

    —Admin
  3. Mariela T
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WOW
    • One word. AMAZING! I got this in my vox box this month and I was skeptical about it. But I've been using it for 3 days 3 DAYS!!! and I already see my skin getting clear. I'm a teenager so acne is something right now and I've tried everrrrryything to get rid of it but nothing worked. So thankful for getting this because it saved my life this lovely miracle water.

  4. KB
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for stubborn milia
    • Buying my second bottle because this stuff is SO amazing. I have suffered from extreme milia and blackheads on my face for the past couple years (especially during the humid summer months). After using this product for a few weeks, my esthetician noted that my blackheads and milia were almost nonexistent. Any milia that were left over were MUCH easier to extract. I use this at night with a gentle cleanser as I find it a little too greasy/shiny to wear during the day.

  5. Rachelle
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Necessary for your skincare regime!
    • I bought this just 2 months and I've used it religiously, at first just once a day because of the drying effect, then later on 2x a day as my skin adjusted. It has done wonders for my oily/combo skin! My skin texture is so soft, my post-acne pigmentation is fading, and the occasional breakouts I have heal very quickly since I've started using this product. Pores look great too. I did develop unusual breakouts on my cheeks close to my ears, but with persistent use that has also gone away.

  6. Amber H.
    Reviewed on Monday, July 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    holy grail product
    • I've tried numerous BHA exfoliants and they've all resulted in dry, irritated skin. This product is the complete opposite; it's both gentle and extremely effective. My skin is very oily and prone to blackheads, particularly around the nose and chin areas. Although I still have problems with blackheads, I've seen a drastic improvement and my pores appear significantly less noticeable. The more I use this the more I love it! Side note, I do only use this at night because it leaves a shiny finish.

  7. Cristina
    Reviewed on Monday, July 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    questions
    • Hi, I am using your product, with great results consisting in forgeting about blackheads. Thank you! I would like that my 22 year old sun use it but I am very sure that he would not use any sunscreen during the day. My question is: can he use it just once, twice weekly but only in the evening if he will not protect his skin from sun?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Regular use of any exfoliant means protecting skin from sun damage becomes even more important. However, getting some people to wear sunscreen daily can be a challenge, so your compromise sounds workable. Please discourage your son from tanning, though, or if he insists on tanning, make sure he stops using any type of exfoliant beforehand.

    —Admin
  8. Andrew L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 26, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Its not for everyone
    • Needless to say this product provides good results. Its really soothing, helps to reduce pimple size, and clear up blackheads. However, it should not be advertised "for all skin types". For my skin, which is combination, it dried out a lot of my face, while being just fine for oily areas. It all depends on the PH of the product, and this is a bit strong to recommend for everyone. However the 2% BHA lotion and Clear Regular Strength Acne Exfoliant work a lot better for me and are more mild.

  9. Shelby H
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 24, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Haven't seen any results yet
    • I was very excited to try this product along with the skin balancing pore reducer toner and the shine stopper. I've been using all three now for three weeks and I haven't seen one difference. Still just as big pores and just as many blackheads all over! Not sure if I should have tried something else from Paula's choice or if it takes a long time to see results. I chose this after describing my symptoms this seemed to be the best fit for an oily face with a big blackhead and large pore problem.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Thanks for your review! For some people, results take longer. You also need to consider every other product in your routine. Using one problematic product (for example, bar soap) can reduce or completely block the benefits of many other products. Be sure you're only shopping from the products we rate BEST or GOOD on Beautypedia.

    —Admin
  10. Marisa S.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Hmm possibly not for
    • I really wanted to like the product and was hoping to see a change in pore size. I did not see any change in my pores but I did notice it slowly helped the occasional blemish and when used on my neck it did a great job exfoliating. The product tingles each time I use it and the finish was a bit tacky for me. I used it in with the Hydralight moisturizer after cleansing daily. I have combination (oily t zone), clear, sensitive skin.

  11. 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
  12. 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

  13. Anays B.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Oily/ shiny finish
    • I came across this while I was looking for a BHA with the added benefits for wrinkles but I cannot get over the oily/shiny finish of the product. I have acne prone skin and although it hasn’t exacerbated my symptoms, it doesn’t exactly provide me with any extra benefits than the Clear Regular Strength. I absolutely love the water like texture and quick absorbency of the Clear Regular Strength.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Based on your skin type and concerns, if you love the CLEAR Regular Strength BHA exfoliant, you have to try the RESIST Daily Pore-Refining Treatment with 2% BHA. It feels the same as the CLEAR exfoliant you love, but with lots of anti-aging ingredients. It is perfect for those struggling with breakouts, large pores, wrinkles, and oily skin.

    —Admin
  14. 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 .

  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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!

  18. 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
  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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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