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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:

85 out of 100
(Based on 563 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 23 Next »
  1. Nicole T.
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 18, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fast Results - Amazing
    • This product is GREAT. I noticed an improvement in the texture of my skin right away. I had been experiencing flaky skin and tried a number of (very expensive) products with no success and went for a professional facial - nothing seemed to work. Within one week of using this my skin was no longer flaky and started looking radiant. Other people commented on it as well without knowing I was using this. Love it.

  2. Kelly T
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 18, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Results within 2 weeks
    • I started using this liquid along with a cleanser, toner and RESIST Barrier Repair Moisturizer. It goes on easy with a cotton pad. For the 1st week I didn't see ANY results and contacted Paula's Choice customer service - they advised I try it for another week. I was pretty surprised that after the 2nd week it had made a huge difference. I had these tiny bumps on my chin & edges of nose that have been there since I hit puberty, and now they're gone. My skin has no more redness. Miracle product.

  3. Sharon K.
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 15, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Didn't work for me
    • I am in my 20s and have congested skin (mild) with blackheads and clogged pores under the skin. I used this nightly for a total of 7 weeks. I didn't not feel that it improved the condition of my skin. It remained bumpy, flared up some spots even up till the 7 week mark. After I stopped using it, I switched to benzoyl peroxide 2.5% which helped a lot more. My bumps have already started to flatten out after the 2 week mark.

  4. Lenore R.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Finally - a product that really works!
    • I have been bothered with blackheads and breakouts since puberty. No matter what I tried nothing really worked to clear my skin or diminish the appearance of my pores. I can not believe the amazing and rapid results I have gotten from this product. The blackheads are gone, my pores are rapidly diminishing. After all these years I had really given up hope. Thank you to Paula and her team for these effective products and thanks to Wayne Goss for his referral. I am so very pleased.

  5. SJR
    Reviewed on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Undecided
    • I like this liquid version because it doesn't leave a gooey/sticky residue on my skin like that of the gel. I gave the product 4 stars because I am unsure of exactly what benefit it is providing for my skin (that I can visibly see); so far, it has not posed any detriment. I use this product in combination with a complete skin care regimen by Paula's Choice, & the verdict is still out as to whether or not this product is a necessity within my regimen. I also use a gentle scrub every other day.

  6. Elizabeth D.
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 11, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Pretty good, but just not for me
    • I typically have dry sensitive skin, and accidentally bought the liquid rather than the lotion of this product. I used it anyway, figuring it couldn't hurt. My skin looked great for a little bit, but then I started to get dry flaky skin around my jaw line - where I typically react to products that are too drying for my skin. I'll be switching to the lotion and probably dropping down to the 1% BHA and giving this bottle to my husband in hopes that he will actually begin a skincare routine.

  7. Amie L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, May 10, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Ah-ma-zing!
    • LOVE this product! My skin has never looked better! :o)

  8. Melinda P.
    Reviewed on Friday, May 09, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Overnight results!
    • I was wary of trying this product because any time I attempted to use a salicylic acid product in the past, I experienced serious irritation. However, I have had large pores on my nose and cheeks since my early twenties (I am 42 now) and nothing helped! I tried a sample of this and had zero irritation and the clarity of my skin and pore size improved overnight. I bought the full size and one week later, my pores are nearly invisible and I'm getting endless compliments on my skin! Incredible!

  9. Ms. C
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Not working for me
    • I feel bad, because I've only seen good reviews for this product - which is why I got it - but 2 weeks in, I haven't noticed anything other than more small bumps on my cheeks and more oil. My skin feels tight and dry (but it does feel soft). I was really hoping it would help with the redness, pores and blackheads but I've seen no improvements so far. I will give myself another 2 weeks and then stop using it. Perhaps it's just not the product for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, May 08, 2014

    Hi there! We're sorry the 2% BHA Liquid wasn't a fit for you, but we would recommend contacting our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund or exchange. They will also be happy to provide recommendations on which product may be an even better choice!

    —Admin
  10. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, May 06, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Blackheads smaller, but still there
    • This product worked fairly well on me. The smaller blackheads on my cheeks did disappear, but the larger blackheads on and around my nose are still there. I have noticed the blackheads around my nose did shrink and the dark colour of the blackheads did lighten. I would repurchase it in the future.

  11. Reviewed on Monday, May 05, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Makes my skin glow, cured my acne
    • I use this with other BHA/AHA products for my moderate acne. It's a little too drying and irritating to use 2x daily, so I use the 5% AHA at night instead. I used to get the CLEAR 2% BHA which customer service told me was identical, however this product is silkier on the skin, dries just a tiny bit slower (independent of weather/humidity), and irritates less, however they are identical in effectiveness. I prefer this to the CLEAR version. The opening to dispense is also better, doesn't dribble.

  12. fraise
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 04, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Not a Miracle Worker, But Pretty Close!
    • I've been battling acne for 4 years, and have used a lot of products. None of them actually really helped, even the ones prescribed to me by my dermatologist. I've even been on antibiotics, both oral and topical. So I was pretty skeptical about trying this product with all the hype surrounding it. I did break out, and that lasted for 2 weeks, but I now have the clearest skin I've had in a long time! I wouldn't say this is a miracle product, as I still get 1-3 pimples but it's pretty darn close.

  13. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 04, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Doesn't work for me
    • I've been using this since March 31st--over a month now. It hasn't reduced acne, redness, or blackheads for me. My combination skin has become more oily, but this could be from the product and/or the weather. However, I've never experienced this much oiliness in the past during the month of April. I really had high hopes for this product. I'm disappointed, but I'll use it for another 2 weeks since it hasn't really done anything bad (I'm hoping it will start working)...... Acne is the worst!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, May 06, 2014

    Hi there! We're sorry to learn the 2% BHA Liquid wasn't a fit for you! You are absolutely right that acne can be very tricky to treat (and find the right system to fit your needs).  We recommend contacting our Customer Care Team for tips, and they can assist with a refund or exchange (as well as samples to try).

    —Admin
  14. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 01, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Stick to it - cleared my stubborn blackheads
    • I'm in my 30s with oily, acne-prone skin. I use Retin-A and Finacea, but there were not effective at removing stubborn blackheads on my nose. This cleared my blackheads but it took 3 months to see results, 5 months to feel like all the blackheads had cleared. It wasn't instantaneous. My large nose pores are the still the same size, but clear now - which is great! I spread it 2x day on my nose / chin with a pad. Effective for blackheads/whiteheads but IMO not a solution for hormonal/cystic acne.

  15. Lilian
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 01, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Oh my God!!!
    • I am 43 with mild adult acne. I have tried several products with "ok" results and never satisfied. Until I read about this product. I liked the price and gave it a try. I am beyond grateful for this amazing product. It is a miracle, it works right away the very second you apply it to your skin. I have a new face free of acne. I have order more of Paula's Choice products. I am a huge and faithful fan now.

  16. Tiffany
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Phenomenal!
    • I am in my mid 30's but have suffered from persistent acne since my mid 20's and, of course, I'm getting concerned about signs of aging as well. I apply this liquid in the morning, under my makeup, and at night, after cleansing, and breakouts are almost entirely a thing of the past. My skin, even when it's not broken out, has a tendency to get congested, and that's improving as well. My dark spots are fading and my skin looks fresh and bright. For any persistent problem areas, I add the BHA 9.

  17. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Monday, April 28, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    gettin this for my mom, who yes I love<3
    • I always get a huge&painful blemish somewhere on my combination skin around the time of my period. I've been using this for almost 3wks leading up to my period and nothin! Well admittedly, I do feel a small pain on my chin, but no redness or visible bump which is a huge deal! Also, I have noticed a small diff in my poors which should be noted since nothing like whipped egg masks or face washes have ever done anything for me in that department. Oh and this doesn't irritate my sensitive skin.

  18. heidi
    Reviewed on Sunday, April 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    best skin in a few years
    • Probably the best my skin has looked in 2 years and have only been using for about 6 weeks now. Every month I would get swollen hormonal acne on my chin which left red marks. This month I have just a small white spot, a huge improvement. Im trying this with the benzoyl peroxide now as well to see how this goes.

  19. Amy
    Reviewed on Saturday, April 26, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Too drying
    • The product overview said that this was for all skin types; however, this made my skin very dry to the point where I couldn't put makeup on without it flaking. It also really burned. Am thinking my sensitive skin just couldn't handle it. Purchased the 1% BHA lotion in hopes that this will be a better solution for my skin because I really want and need to use a BHA for my large pores and blackheads!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, April 28, 2014

    Hi Amy! We're sorry your experience with the 2% BHA Liquid wasn't a better one! Whenever sensitive skin is an concern, things can get tricky and not everyone who has sensitivty issues will be able to tolerate the 2% BHA Liquid. We would encourage you to contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  20. C R
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 24, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Made my skin worse
    • The blackheads on my nose got worse, and my forehead broke out for the first time in years. This was after just two days of use. I continued for 2 more days just to see if it was a coincidence, and my skin continued to get worse. After two nights back on my old routine, my skin has almost recovered.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, April 25, 2014

    Hi Chryssa! We're sorry the 2% BHA Liquid wasn't a fit for you. No matter how well-formulated a product, it won't work for everyone.  However, you needn't be stuck with it, just contact our Customer Care Team and they will be happy to assist with a refund or credit.

    —Admin
  21. Stephanie D
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wonderful product!
    • I have tried other chemical exfoliators in the past and had success, the problem was always the price. I was pleased with the price of the product, as well as the quality. I love that it is fragrance free, so I don't continue to "smell" it all day. I use it morning and night and apply with a cotton pad, after I cleanse. My moisturizer absorbs into my skin immediately. I had a few blemish marks that wouldn't go away, but now are gone. My skin is clearer and my pores appear much smaller. Fabulous!

  22. Amanda M.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Absolute perfection.
    • Finally, an exfoliant within the proper pH balance to actually do what it is supposed to do! This 2% bha liquid along with the c15 and resist retinol serum have cleared my skin up without use of my usual 10% Benzoyl Peroxide. Just a fabulous fabulous product. This stuff even made my pores smaller...no words for how incredibly satisfied with this product I am. Everyone needs this stuff...dry skin, oily skin, breakout prone and everything in between...you need this.

  23. Erica B.
    Reviewed on Monday, April 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing if applied correctly
    • This clears my skin like nothing else practically overnight. However, I MUST apply using a cotton pad! When applied lightly with a cotton pad, this works wonders, is lightweight, and perfect. When I tried splashing the liquid into my hands and rubbing it onto my face & back, it's horrible. If I applied this way, it's sticky & greasy like sunscreen. This is more powerful than the 2% lotion. So, just apply it with a cotton pad and you'll love it!

  24. Louise C.
    Reviewed on Saturday, April 19, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great addition to my routine!
    • I always thought that I couldn't use chemical exfoliators on my sensitive skin until I read Paula's informative articles. I have been using this nightly for 4 weeks and can't believe what a difference it has made! Smoother skin, dramatically reduced redness, smaller pores! It has been the greatest change in my skin care routine since starting Retin-A 5 years ago. Thank you!!

  25. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    On to week 2
    • I have only been on 1week tomorrow. Seen improvement. I was on Dermalogica before & caused my left side of my face to be irritated in red, & caused me to have red bumps on my cheeks. This along with my other products from Paulas Choice have started clearing that up. However, I am still getting the occasional pimple. Told that BHA's can cause this. I am hopeful that it will stop and I cn finally clear my face. hopeing that I am not alone and that others saw clear skin aftera few weeks.

« Prev 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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