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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 641 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 26 Next »
  1. Shannon B.
    Reviewed on Monday, September 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    AmaZing ProduCt!
    • Struggled for years, Cant Thank you Enuff Miss Paula!

  2. Pierre M
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 27, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    New user
    • I got the 2% BHA liquid about 3 days ago and been using it for 3 days now and I got pimples everywhere the next morning of the 1st time I use it and seems like there's new pimples everyday.. Now I've read articles about some people broke out after using this BHA and that it starts to clear up after a few weeks and I'm just wondering if that will happen to me? And also can I use the 2% BHA lotion after the 2% BHA liquid?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, October 06, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Please contact us to discuss your concerns.

    —Admin
  3. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, September 26, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    A little disappointed
    • I bought this about a month ago to treat my large pores and small bumps (sebaceous filaments) on my forehead, nose and chin. After using it nightly (sometimes in the morning too) for a month, I have yet to see much improvement in my skin. It seemed to bring the sebaceous filaments more to the surface, making them slightly easier to extract, but now they seem even more visible. Overall my skin feels smoother, but I do suffer the occasional pimple now and my pores are still clogged up.

  4. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 25, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good product
    • I have only been using this product for a few days but it has calmed my skin down which has been suffering from what seems like an outbreak of milia. Although I am still waiting on actual results (milia decrease). One drawback is that the skin has become really dry and in some spots flaky. I use it once a day at night.

  5. Melynda
    Reviewed on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing results!
    • Prior to using this exfoliant my skin tone was uneven, I had large pores, and I suffered from underground pimples and blackheads. I can't say enough positive things about this product. Within a 2-3 weeks of consistent nightly use I begin to see my pores shrinking and skin tone was more even and blemishes were not occurring as often. Every week my skin is getting better and better. I am finely able to leave the house without makeup and feel beautiful! I highly recommend this product!

  6. Elyse D.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love this, will repurchase
    • This is the first chemical exfoliate I have tried, and I LOVE it. I had been wanting to try Paula's Choice for a long time, and this was an awesome first purchase. For how inexpensive it is I will for sure be buying many more bottles. My skin looks amazing. Pores are smaller, less redness, and my occasional breakouts and blackheads have basically stopped. And I've only been using it for two weeks (nightly). I also have severe keratosis pilaris on my arms that has been drastically improved :)

  7. Mikey S.
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 20, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Still AMAZING!
    • Still absolutely loving this! Makes my skin so smooth and radiant while taking care of little blemishes. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider offering a LARGER SIZE. I feel like I can go through this a little too quickly. I would much rather pay like $60 for a 400ml rather then $25ish for a 118ml.

  8. Taylor Y.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Worked for bumps, not redness
    • I have keratosis pilaris on my upper arms and the backs of my thighs. I liked this product because it was quick to apply. It definitely helped in combination with a manual exfoliant before and lotion after to reduce the bumps. It did not have a big impact on the redness associated with this skin condition. I think I'm going to try the KP wipes next and hope for the best.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We strongly encourage you to stop using the scrub along with the BHA exfoliant, or using a scrub at all for KP. Scrubs tend to worsen the redness of these bumps, working against the redness-reducing properties of a good BHA exfoliant. KP cannot be scrubbed away, but scrubs can absolutely make KP and its symptoms worse.

    —Admin
  9. Dawn W
    Reviewed on Friday, September 12, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best Exfoilant
    • The proof this product works was when I didn't use it & my Resist AHA one day but instead used a microderm device called Rejuvaderm. I used it on my arm as a test, and there was a lot of tiny skin particles removed from it. Using a new filter, I ran the device across my entire face. When I looked at the device's filter, there was no dead skin sitting on top of it, as before. Talk about impressed! The device is pretty much collecting dust right now. I love Paula's Choice products. I have a lot!

  10. Michael S.
    Reviewed on Friday, September 12, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Awesome!
    • Smoother, more even skin after first use ! I really like this product. I saw results after only 1 use. My skin was softer and more even and any blemish I had was almost gone. I'd love to see a jumbo size of this available please *hint*hint*

  11. Lauren
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 11, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Leaves a Sticky Film
    • I have EXTREMELY oily skin and this made it worse. After I applied it, I would be left with a sticky film on top of my skin that wouldn't dry. I waited 30 minutes and by that point I still had the sticky film and my face had become so oily on top of that. I used it twice a day for two weeks and had to stop because without the product drying, I couldn't finish the rest of my routine.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, September 15, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Most likely, this happened because you applied too much of this product. A dime-sized amount if sufficient for the entire face and neck. Consider one of our lighter exfoliants with BHA, such as the CLEAR Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution, Regular Strength.

    —Admin
  12. Denise S.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Ruined my skin
    • I fell into the hype, and instantly regret it. I purchased many samples of the bha liquid and the first time I used it, my skin started to itch and feel tight. After a week, my skin began to break out in places I have never broken out before. I continued to use it, thinking it was just a "purging" phase and that my skin would be clear afterwards. Now my skin is terrible, clogged, and full of hyper pigmentation spots.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry you had such a bad experience with this product. Although your experience was not typical (as the hundreds of positive reviews attest), we hope you'll contact us to arrange for a complete refund.

    —1 W
  13. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    FABULOUS!
    • I was super impressed with this! I've never had such an amazing reaction to a facial product before. My skin improved immensely after just a few days of using it. All flesh colored bumps, mild breakoutage, blackheads, and clogged pores have drastically diminished if not disappeared completed. My skin is super soft and smooth now. I never write reviews but I felt obligated to with this product because I had such a positive reaction to it. DEFINITELY worth every cent and DEFINITELY stockin' up!

  14. Cherl M.
    Reviewed on Monday, September 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love!
    • I am 57 have very oily sensitive skin, very fair and have never been able to use any exfoliating without breaking out and severe redness. This has been the best item I have every tried. I ordered the trial size but reorder the full size. I love it! I love that it is leave on and my skin feels so soft and looks so much better. No redness or breakout at all.

  15. paige p.
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 04, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Disappointed
    • So I bought a bottle and used the whole bottle in a month. It didn't seem like it did much but I decided to keep at it because that's what the other reviews said. So when I opened my new package today I guess there was something wrong with the lid because it was spilling. I'm just disappointed. I feel like I wasted 50 bucks on these bottles and my skin is no better. I'm just ready to give up.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, September 05, 2014

    Don't give up! Please contact us to discuss your concerns and we're happy to provide a replacement for the product that leaked.

    —Admin
  16. heidy v.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Mixed review
    • I bought this for my husband. He has sensitive skin but a lot of blackheads. I had tried a sample of the gel on him and result was good. This time around though he had major reaction. His face tingled and his skin became red. And I mean RED! He obviously stoped using it. I tried it after that episode because i didn't want it to go to waste. It was the complete oposite on me. My skin looks good! I have normal skin so i guess if you have sensitive skin, don't.

  17. Christina B
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great product, slippery bottle!
    • I really love this product. It absorbs easily into the skin and makes my skin glow. HOWEVER, make sure not to try to use this with wet hands! I was trying to use mine with wet hands and it slipped onto the floor and the cap popped off causing the product to pour onto the floor! Maybe the bottle is due for a redesign, because if this were a pump it probably wouldn't have happened.

  18. Yen
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 31, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Glowing!!
    • I've never tried a chemical exfoliant before and I'm so glad that Paula's Choice 2% liquid was my first. I didn't believe that this thing could do much after just one use, but boy was I wrong. I woke up the next morning to the softest skin! Almost like baby skin soft! It doesn't irritate me at all, and I'm starting to notice more of a natural glow and evening tone of the skin. The only thing I'm still struggling with is a moderate case of acne.

  19. Sherry D.
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Game Changer in my Skincare Routine
    • This product changed a LOT for me. Even when I was using it with a not-so-great skincare regimen, it helped to clear up a lot of my acne. I have red rosacea type skin and whenever I use this at night, I wake up with reduced blemishes and no redness. Which is saying something, because the minute water touches my face - even room temperature, it just flares up again. But at least I know this stuff is fighting to reduce it. :) I have been using this for years now and would not go without.

  20. AURA B.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 29, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Effective!
    • Very pleased with the results of using this product! I have combination skin and it helps to refine the texture and keep the appearance of my pores in check. It's not a miracle worker, but it is helpful, and I got best results when I started using it after a series of microderabrasion. The only thing I don't love is how it temporarily feels on my skin (sort of like a slick film that takes a while to soak in), but since I see results, it's worth overlooking this little detail.

  21. J.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective on my sensitive, acneic ski
    • My acneic skin has improved immensely since I started using this product coupled with PC's Clear Regular Strength Acne Treatment. My breakouts are fewer, and any remaining blemishes aren't inflamed unlike before. This product hasn't aggravated my eczema either. It took a little experimentation to work into my skincare, but it's so effective that I've been able pare down on products. I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective.

  22. J.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective on my sensitive, acneic ski
    • My acneic skin has improved immensely since I started using this product coupled with PC's Clear Regular Strength Acne Treatment. My breakouts are fewer, and any remaining blemishes aren't inflamed unlike before. This product hasn't aggravated my eczema, either. It took a little experimentation to work into my skincare, but it's so effective that I've been able pare down on products. I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective.

  23. Kirsten P.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I wish I had started using this ten years ago!!!
    • I've suffered with oily, acne-prone skin for over 20 years. Several weeks ago, I took a leap of faith and bought the BHA 2%, along with the Skin Balancing toner and antioxidant serum. WOW. Within a few days my enlarged pores looked more refined, dozens of blackheads disappeared, and my skin was noticeably smoother, clearer, and less oily! My skin continues to improve and I've added a slew of other PC products to my skin regimen. I will never use another skincare line again!!

  24. A. Michele
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best Product EVER!
    • I have been using this product for YEARS, along with a variety of other PC products (retinol serums, BHA, AHA, retinol body treatments, sunscreens, etc) and I will say that this products is the best exfoliator I've ever used. I used to use physical exfoliators/cleansers and they broke me out. Once I switched to this, my skin as never been better. My skin is feels soft and looks firm; I can't remember the last time I had a blackhead. This stuff with a retinol and good SPF does amazing things.

  25. Christina E.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Balancing for combo skin on that is on the dry side
    • My skin is what I call "Crazy Combination" - dry & flaky, but a little oily on T zone AND I have occasional breakouts. I can't use lines for combo skin, bcuz they dry me out, & I didn't think I needed BHA because of my dryness. Using AHA only, I was breaking out more. So I used this for a few nights, & found the bumps, pimples and redness gone almost immediately. Also healing old red marks nicely! I'll stick to my AHA routine & use this weekly to keep things in balance. Love!

« Prev Page of 26 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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