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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Pores, you are not growing on me. This 2% salicylic acid lotion unclogs and diminishes enlarged pores and reveals younger-looking skin.
Item #: 205
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Eczema, Enlarged Pores, Extra Sensitive Skin, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • Dry/Very Dry Skin
  • Formulated for maximum strength with 2% salicylic acid*

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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

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What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant moisturizes as it exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. This creates a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function, leading 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 lush texture of the 2% BHA Lotion makes skin feel satiny soft, while potent anti-irritants help calm a reddened, blotchy complexion.

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 very dry skin prone to blemishes.

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 Lotion EXFOLIANT

International Immunopharmacology, August 2009, pages 1,126–1,130; British Journal of Dermatology, August 2007, pages 295–300; 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; Archives of Dermatology, November 2000, pages 1390–1395; Pain, January 1996, pages 71–82; and Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305–308.

Key Ingredients: vitamin E, salicylic acid, willow herb, BHA (beta hydroxy acid), green tea, sweet almond oil, squalane, grape seed oil, beta-glucan

Product Ingredients:

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol (thickener), Squalane (emollient), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate (thickeners), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Epilobium Angustifolium (Willowherb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (anti-irritant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea)Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil (antioxidant plant oil), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (non-fragrant plant oil), Beta Glucan (antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Panthenol (water-binding agent), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (emulsifier), Xanthan Gum (thickener), Sodium Citrate (pH adjuster), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Acacia Senegal Gum, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum (thickeners), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Ethylhexyglycerin (skin conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate (preservatives).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime-sized amount over the entire face, including the eyes (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 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.

What strength of BHA should I use? Will a higher concentration provide better and faster results?

Which BHA strength you opt to use should be based on your skin type and the stubbornness (or severity) of your acne or blackheads. The 1% BHA strength is a great starting point to see how using a pH-correct BHA can improve the skin's condition. The 2% concentrations can be a next level to see how that benefits skin.

What makes the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant different from the 2% BHA Gel and Liquid?

The primary difference is texture. The 2% BHA Lotion is a lightweight cream, the 2% BHA Gel has a silky gel texture and the 2% BHA Liquid has a thin, toner-like consistency that's best applied to a cotton pad. All of them are formulated to provide the same key benefits to your skin. Which one to choose is a matter of personal preference and your skin type.

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.

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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