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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 764 Reviews)
Page of 31 Next »
  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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
  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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
  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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).

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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
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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