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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 774 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 31 Next »
  1. Michele W
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 05, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I really like it!
    • I've been using this products for the last 3 months (alternating nights with the AHA+ from acne.org). It has helped to smooth my skin (scars and dark marks), and reduce the size of some pores. I used it twice a week, at night, to start. Now I use it every other day, but only at night, because it does have somewhat of a film that needs to absorb into your skin. My advice for this product is to start slowly and always moisturize afterwards because it can be drying.

  2. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Wednesday, March 04, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Made my skin worse
    • I really wanted to love this, but after using it for nearly a year, my skin is worse than before. I have more issues with clogged pores and closed comedones. I did find this product to be non-drying compared to other BHA products I've used in the past, but it left a weird film on my face after it dried. It was very good for reducing redness though.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, March 04, 2015

    Hello, and thanks 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 for information on a possible exchange or refund of your latest purchase.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  3. David P.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, March 04, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Issue with Product
    • I purchased this product and realized it was liquid and not gel. What can I do?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, March 04, 2015

    Hello, and thanks for contacting us! Just contact a member of our Customer Care team, and they should be able to help you with an exchange.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  4. PAULA p.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 03, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Worst product ever!!
    • I have a mild form of rosacea and I ordered this product hoping it would relieve some of the redness on my cheeks. I applied a small amount before bed and because of the greasy tacky feeling it left, i did not apply my usual moisturizer on top. The next morning i looked in the mirror and to my horror my face was red and puffy, i mean REALLY puffy. That was almost 3 days ago and im still waiting for the swelling to subside. So much for non-irritating!!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, March 04, 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
  5. My N.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 02, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Work so well
    • BHA has done wonders to my skin! I was normally prone to acne and didn't know how to avoid acne when my skin's condition went down. But now thanks to using BHA regularly, my skin really improves.

  6. Link
    Reviewed on Sunday, March 01, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not for me
    • I have tried this product on two separate occasions and it stings and makes my face pretty itchy. And also red sometimes I think. For me it is not gentle. I will not buy this product again.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 02, 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
  7. wc
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 28, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    didn't work for me
    • I don't know if the formula has changed or not since I tried this a few years ago but it didn't work for me in reducing the appearance of pores or blackheads, whiteheads, etc. Since the product contains salicylic acid as in aspirins I am simply dissolving aspirins in warm water, adding honey and place this on my face, leaving it for about 5 minutes, so far I can't tell a big difference, nothing seems to work as far as reducing pore size along with blackheads and whiteheads.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 02, 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
  8. Margaret V.
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 28, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing
    • I've been troubled with large pores on my nose for years. I've tried all sorts of products but nothing has ever worked. I bought this product and even though I was using it incorrectly it still worked. I was using it in the shower and rinsing it off. It still made an improvement. Once I finally read the directions the changes in my skin are outstanding, I do not believe it has ever looked better and I am in my sixties.

  9. Louise
    Reviewed on Friday, February 27, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This product worked for brilliantly for me
    • This is the first time I have used a BHA. I have been using it for about 3 weeks. It did dry my skin a little, hence I decided to gradually build up the usage, but using moisturizer afterwards resolved this. My skin is combination, oily on the T-zone and much drier on my cheeks, with large pores on my nose. I am in my late 30s but sill get occasional cystic acne on my jawline. It has made a big change to my skin, which is now softer, with smaller pores, more even-toned and no acne! Love it.

  10. Hid R.
    Reviewed on Friday, February 27, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    from purging to cystic acne within a month
    • I have combination skin. I bought this last Oct and finally used it on Jan 8. It was fine with the purging (small whiteheads). Then a week after it got worse. Cystic acne, -bumpy, throbbing- began to form on right temple, then my right cheek, small ones at first then big ones came right after. It shows no sign of decreasing up to today. I had never had a cystic acne on my cheek, regardless during my breakout days in my teenage years. I want to love this so much but it's not working for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 02, 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, for information on a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  11. Nicole C.
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 26, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Do not use if sensitive..
    • I have combination skin and was looking to control my large pores. This dried my skin out so badly that I could barely move it due to the tightness. Do not use if your skin is easily dehydrated.. I am disappointed and frustrated that others have seemed to succeed- I have used many other salicylic acid products before, but this is just too harsh for my skin.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, February 26, 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 for information on a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  12. Keith C.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Everything I hoped for and more...
    • This is a phenomenal BHA. If you've never used salicylic acid, expect your face to start producing more oil so I recommend using at night. Salicylic will cause irritation, but in a good way. It's doing its job of clearing out your pores. Think of it as a hose full of dirt and you suddenly turn the faucet on and everything shoots out until the water runs clear. What makes this better than others, especially, is the green tea. It definitely helps soothe and clear the tone of your skin.Love!

  13. Tatiana F.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great!!
    • Best exfoliant I have ever used. Takes away all my redness and keeps new pimples from forming. My pore size has dramatically reduced. Make sure to apply less than a dime size on a cotton pad! For those who complained that this leaves a shiny residue I would recommend using PC's Shine Stopper after your entire skincare routine. It will leave your skin matte. Or switch to PC's Resist Daily Pore Refining 2% BHA which has a more water-like texture and no residue. So yes this is an amazing product!!

  14. Sofia C.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    So effective!
    • For some reason, I started having monthly breakouts a couple of months ago. About 2 weeks ago, I had a major breakout all along my right cheek and all over my chin. Nothing seemed to make it budge. I used tea tree oil to the point of causing second degree burns - I developed an actual liquid-filled blister on my face! Then I ordered this product and EVERY red angry bump has faded into clear skin within less than a week of use!! This product is gentle, absorbs quickly, and actually works!

  15. Phuong N.
    Reviewed on Monday, February 23, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    A good BHA exfoliant
    • This products really works to exfoliate and make my hyper-pigmentation less dark. It's a much better purchase than the 4%BHA foam (which I hates the texture of). It did not irritate my skin at all if I use it only once a day. However, I have not seen a difference in terms of white heads, which I have TONS of, literally (I don't have issue with black heads)! It's a good exfoliant to consider, but don't over apply it or else you face will look like an oil well.

  16. Victoria J
    Reviewed on Sunday, February 22, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Works!
    • My only gripe with this product is I find it drying...and my skin has always been more oily than anything. HOWEVER, I'll take the dryness because I absolutely see a difference in my pores and reduction of blackheads. Within 3 weeks of using this, I was able to remove a stubborn blackhead I've had for months. My pores shrink when using this and I'm seeing more blackheads come to the surface, disappear and not return. My skintone looks brighter and more even. This is a keeper.

  17. Rachel W.
    Reviewed on Friday, February 20, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Works a little too well
    • The 2% BHA at the drugstore must not really be BHA because this worked so quickly that it irritated my skin. The first week I started flaking like crazy, then I became really irritated with redness and stinging. Now I just use it every other day on my nose, chin, eyebrows(yes I have whiteheads all over my eyebrows and this keeps them under control), and my elbows. Next time I will try the 1% lotion or gel. On a side note this cleared my sisters moderate/severe acne beautifully.

  18. Tamara Lee
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 19, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Good product so far
    • I'm a 53 yr old female with somewhat oily skin and pores on my nose I'm convinced can be seen from space. I've been using the 2% BHA for about 3 weeks now. While it wasn't an "instant" improvement, I noticed this morning that, WOW, my pores are looking a lot better! Not nearly as huge or as full of gunk! I use a good exfoliator in the morning and at night before I apply the BHA. I haven't had any drying issues nor does it feel greasy. This seems to be working for me when nothing else did!

  19. Lisa B.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Surprised at the negative reviews!
    • I'm a blue-eyed redhead with very fair skin that won't tan but burns and peels at the drop of a hat. Also prone to rosacea, and blackheads and whiteheads around my nose and my chin. When I first got this, I used it only once a day; there is a slight warming feeling and I did have some minor peeling. BUT! After just ten days, the blackheads have pretty much disappeared and my face is so much smoother, brighter and clear! Maintenance 3 days a week from here should work for me. Will buy again!

  20. Alexis D.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I finally found it...
    • I've had terrible, dry, dull, acne prone skin all my life. Due to this combination of problems I also have terrible scarring in addition to the other unpleasant eyesores. This product, when used with a toner, has changed my skin. Not only is it clearer, but my skin retains moisture now, AND my scarring is almost completely gone! I haven't had a skin tone this even since I was a child. Thank you for giving me my confidence back! I can leave the house without covering my face in foundation now! :)

  21. Christian R
    Reviewed on Sunday, February 15, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Purging process hasn't stopped
    • I got this product about a week ago and I am either going through a serious purging process or this bha isn't for me. I have bumps in on my face that weren't prone to breaking out, so it's a bit aggravating. I'm going to give it a few more weeks and see how it goes, through this purging process should I continue to use it daily, or lower the dosage. Please help:/

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, February 16, 2015

    Hello, and thanks for the question! Continue to use daily, however, if your skin is still reacting this way in another week, definitely contact a member of our Customer Care team to see if there might be another product that works better for you!

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  22. Amy L
    Reviewed on Friday, February 13, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Breakouts and extreme itchy irritated skin
    • I really wanted to make this work that I tried it twice. I've never seen my blackheads more clearly than when I was using this. I also started to break out along my chin and jawline. I usually only break out hormonally. I kept thinking it's just purging, but after several weeks it became painful cystic acne. Stopped it but recently decided to try it again. Again, I have pimples in places I never break out at. My jawline is irritated and my whole face itches. Too scared to even try BHA again.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, February 13, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for your comments - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team for information on a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  23. Lee, S
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Flaky to ichy to burning
    • First time trying Paula's Choice products. I've heard so many good things about it, from the product quality to the customer service. Unfortunately my expectations were a let down. Day 1, flakiness. Day 2, I found my self touching my face more than usual. When I got home, the flakiness intensified. Day 3, applying moisturizer actually stung. I made no other changes to my routine so I can only attribute this to the product. Yeah, I think I'll be going back to mandelic acid...

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, February 11, 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
  24. Dustin L.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Can we talk about it?
    • I'm a male in my mid-20's with sensitive, dry skin. My face also tends to have tons of red, splotchy patches that I've tried everything in the world to get rid of. This product has made the difference! Not only has my skin been less reddened, it's also shrunk my pores and smoothed out the texture of my skin! I can't imagine living without it. If you're thinking about getting this product, just do it! It's worth it! You have nothing to lose.

  25. Elise H.
    Reviewed on Monday, February 09, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfect exfoliant for addressing multiple issues
    • I bought this product primarily to deal with breakouts, which it has done! However, what has impressed me most is how much more even and clarified my skin tone is after just a month of use. My skin looks smoother and my pores are more refined. It is 100% worth the hype.

« Prev 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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