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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*

Please Note: Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin or its derivatives.

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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

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Customer Ratings:

76 out of 100
(Based on 274 Reviews)
Page of 11 Next »
  1. Katy D
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 26, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WORKS!!!!!!
    • Got the sample and have gotten about 4 uses out of it; although it's not a miracle worker, this stuff works better than anything else I've tried, (I also use retin-a). This is what it did for me: Reduced pore size dramatically, (you're still going to have pores on your nose, unless you get in there and do some manual declogging, but it def reduced their appearance) Almost completely got rid of the melasma on my cheeks Smoothed out skin and got rid of irritation Will def buy more!!

  2. Katy D
    Reviewed on Thursday, February 26, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WORKS!!!!!!
    • Got the sample and have gotten about 4 uses out of it; although it's not a miracle worker, this stuff works better than anything else I've tried, (I also use retin-a). This is what it did for me: Reduced pore size dramatically, (you're still going to have pores on your nose, unless you get in there and do some manual declogging, but it def reduced their appearance) Almost completely got rid of the melasma on my cheeks Smoothed out skin and got rid of irritation Will def buy more!!

  3. Laura
    Reviewed on Monday, February 23, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Doing nothing for my blackheads
    • I have been using this product religiously, after cleanser and toner, in place of my usual moisturizer, twice daily for about a month now. While I was initially impressed with how much softer and smoother the skin on my face feels now, this product has done nothing to diminish my blackheads at all. In fact, they have gotten worse since I started using it. I have extremely dry skin, and this has helped with it, but could you please recommend me a product that will ACTUALLY clear my blackheads up?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Hello, and thanks for your comments! We definitely recommend contacting a member of our Customer Care team - they're specially trained to help you find the best routine for your skin type!

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  4. Grace M.
    Reviewed on Monday, February 16, 2015
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Awesome stuff!
    • I wouldn't say this is a miracle product, but in the two weeks I've been using it I have noticed a big difference in the clarify of my skin. My breakouts are less often and my current acne is fading away. The "bumpiness" is also going away too. I use CeraVe face lotion & cleanser (which I STRONGLY recommend) to keep my face from being dry while using this. Without using them I'm not sure how much this would dry me out. I noticed dryness around the nose but not much.

  5. Feriba K.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 03, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Very thick, try the sample first
    • I have normal skin but in winter time my forehead and cheeks get dry so I decided to go with lotion formula. This is not the first time I’m using BHA products but this lotion made me break out. It’s very thick, not spreads out evenly and effects application of my foundation. I should have try the sample first.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, February 03, 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. Carey C.
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 29, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Awesome!
    • Used this in combination with the liquid last night for the first time. This is the best day of my skin's life. No product has ever reduced my blackheads even slightly. One use and my blackheads are nearly gone in most areas and hugely improved in my worst area on the sides of my nose. My skin isn't flaky like with most products that claim to improve blackheads. It's glowing!

  7. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 22, 2015
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Stings and doesn't absorb well for me
    • I tried this several times over a week and it stung and didn't absorb well. I don't have particularly sensitive skin and I use the AHA 8% perfectly well but that product has parabens so I wanted to try another exfoliant. I gave it 4 tries but it didn't give me results or feel good on. It just didn't settle in even though I only used a little pea sized amount and went section by section. I need a gluten free product or else I would try the 1%.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, January 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
  8. Lynn W.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing Results
    • I have only been using the BHA 2% Lotion for about a week and already I can see an improvement with the stubborn blackheads on my nose. I don't know how this stuff works, but it does. I will be ordering the entire Resist Anti-aging line in February and I cannot wait!

  9. ANITA
    Reviewed on Monday, January 19, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great moisturizer for my oily skin
    • Even though this is advertised for dry/normal skin types, it's no problem for my oily acne-prone skin. After I tone, I apply my hyaluronic acid serum and then two pumps of this as my moisturizer all over my face, and SPF 50 in the AM. The consistency of the 2% BHA lotion is of a thick cream that needs some working in to absorb properly, but it seals in my serum and helps keep the congestion out of my skin. Only down side is the completely opaque bottle, I can't see how much is left.

  10. SARAH
    Reviewed on Tuesday, January 06, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fantastic!
    • Years ago I tried the 1% BHA Gel and my skin HATED it, I got a stubborn rash and my face was pretty much a mess. Fast-forward to now, I'm in my mid-30's and encountering the dreaded hormonal acne roller-coaster. My skin is **very dry** but I was getting these bad breakouts. If you are dry but still have acne issues, definitely try a sample of the BHA lotion! My previously angry/confused skin is loving this stuff. No rash, and it's keeping me clear. I won't be without it now.

  11. Sasha
    Reviewed on Sunday, January 04, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Works great
    • This is my first skincare product to contain acids, and I'm very happy with my starter's choice. I never had acne, and was generally satisfied with my skin. My only concern were pores on my nose, and I tried a lot of products with no visible result, so I didn't put much hope in this. But it helped, and almost instantly! It also gives my skin a much more "polished" look and makes my face look very fresh and young. So, even if you think your skin is ok, try it, and see how "ok" becomes "great".

  12. Miranda M.
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 01, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not as absorbant as 1% BHA Lotion
    • I bought the 2% BHA lotion after running out of my 1% BHA lotion thinking that more BHA must be better... not in this case. 1% BHA absorbs into my skin fast and has the same amazing result. 2% also feels a bit too harsh for my sensitive skin. I ordered the 1% lotion again, and saving the 2% for when I have acne or skin irritations that call for more intensive exfoliation.

  13. Northstar5
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfect in winter
    • Most of the year I use a liquid or gel version of either PC's 2% or 1% BHA product on my sensitive, breakout prone skin, but this winter I switched to this lotion version as my skin had been getting flaky and dry in the colder weather. Turned out to be a great move. Same excellent exfoliation but better protection for dry skin, and not a pimple in sight. Great idea, to have all these different versions of the same basic product. Her BHA has been a staple in my routine for almost twenty years.

  14. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Please help!
    • Hi guys!So I wanted to order a few PC Products,especially BHAs:)Now i have two questions:1.Can I use BHA exfoliants on Birthmarks?(I have a few on my face rather small ones,but one is like the size of Cindy Crawfords...)2. I have combo-oily skin and i have some dry patches that you can see when putting makeup on,my skin is also dehydrated.I wanted to buy the 2%BHA lotion,but im scared itll clog my pores,since im very clog prone!i have whiteheads and blackheads.What formula to buy? Thanks!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, December 29, 2014

    Hello, and thanks for contacting us! We recommend talking to a member of our Customer Care team, who can assist you with finding the best product for your skin type! You can find all the ways to contact them here.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  15. Denita S.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfect!
    • I've used the liquid version of this and hated it. I went through it so fast because so much of the product was absorbed and lost inside the cotton balls I used to apply it. This lotion is perfect for me, and I think it will last me twice as long. It dries to a nice, matte finish that makes it comfortable to wear under makeup, if desired. I tried to go without a BHA for a few months, thinking I didn't need it, but I got far more acne and clogged pores without it. It's now a staple!

  16. Kelly
    Reviewed on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best thing ever for blackheads !
    • I have been using this product ever since I heard it from the Wayne Goss's make-up video. This thing works! I also let my pre-teen daughter uses it and it does reduced the blackheads for her but I guess it will need more taking care of if to eliminate the whole problem. After all, she is at an acne prone age.

  17. Nicole W.
    Reviewed on Friday, November 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Skin Brightening without Drying
    • I saw immediate results after using this product for just a few days. My skin is clearer, brighter, more evenly toned, and better than it's been in years. I was a little concerned about it being too drying for my skin type, but have had no problems whatsoever with dryness due to the 2% lotion. It's perfect for sensitive skin and for someone who struggles with the seemingly contradictory issues of dryness and clogged pores at the same time. The lotion is easy to apply and feels great.

  18. Brittney S.
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 26, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WORKS GREAT! DOESN'T IRRITATE MY SENSITIVE SKIN!
    • I love this product! It has done a great job minimizing/unclogging pores (even in the area around the sides of my nose) and has made my skin noticeably smoother and brighter. I don't have any serious acne, but I do occasionally get pimples or blackheads from makeup . Since I started using this, I have had nothing of the sort. If a small pimple does rise to the surface, I just dab this on top & it goes away. I added it to the Resist Retinal Serum and Moisture Boost Hydratinng Tx Cream. Awesome!

  19. Gia M.
    Reviewed on Friday, October 17, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    NOT FOR ME
    • Did nothing for me, my pores DID NOT minimized and it makes my skin kind of itchy, I did used it for about 4weeks giving it a chance to "adapt to my skin" NO LUCK, want to send it back since I cant use it.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry this didn't work for you and welcome your return. If you need assistance returning an item, click here.

    —Admin
  20. Stephanie H.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Makes skin nice & soft
    • This product's failure for me is due to my incorrect assumption that I had dry skin, but I actually had a damaged acid mantle. So the blame is all mine, I'll admit. It's a good product, but better suited for dry/very dry skin. I haven't seen a significant reduction in blackheads/whiteheads after a month's use, but again: my fault, not the product's. I will continue to use until I receive PC's 2%BHA liquid instead. If you have dry skin (for sure), get this product. I'm sure you'll love it

  21. Jacqueline C.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Works without drying my skin out!
    • I have dehydrated, combination skin in a really dry climate, and this product has smoothed out blackheads and closed comedones that I have had for years. The clogged pores on my nose and forehead are definitely diminished (without the flaking I've had with all the other products I've tried) and my skin looks brighter. As long as I follow with a moisturizer I don't have any tightness or flaking. The 'purge' only lasted a few weeks. Going to try the BHA 9 next!

  22. Dusty D
    Reviewed on Monday, September 01, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    GOOD AND BAD.
    • I didn't know that this BHA 2% lotion had alcahol in it!?? You know, I thought Paulas choice was so against alcahol and irritating ingredients in your skin care? What gives? I am not sure I will be using this anymore. I'm disappointed.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, September 03, 2014

    Hi there! We're against the bad alcohols used in some skin-care products, not the good ones, which are collectively known as fatty alcohols, which is what this product contains. More info here.

    —Admin
  23. Christina E.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great, but watch out for over-moisturizing!
    • I tried BHA (I usually use AHA), because I had a small breakout. I think I was over-moisturizing. I have combo skin, but on the dry side, so it's hard to strike a balance. Because of my dryness, I use either Moisture Boost or Skin Recovery cream. Covering this BHA lotion with those moisturizers was just too much, so I decided to go with the 2% liquid, which worked nicely. If you usually use a lighter moisturizer, this will likely work for you. Also leaves a nice matte finish!

  24. Jude2
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 24, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    IDEAL SOLUTION!!
    • Strange tiny white bumps on my chin that appear to be whiteheads or flaky skin at the base of tiny hairs: Esthetician said they were a combination of oil and dry skin cells. Tried lots of products that didn't work. THIS LOTION WORKS--RIGHT AWAY! I had a sample I was hesitant to use it as lotions usually make me break out. NO BREAKOUTS, NO IRRITATION! Had a tiny bit of flaking, which only lasted a day. I recommend starting out using sparingly every other day. I'm ordering more!

  25. Beth
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    best product I've tried so far
    • I've been using this lotion for about a year now (thanks to Wayne Goss for recommending it!). I'd never even heard of BHA, but gave it a try. My skin has calmed down considerably as a result of using this exfoliant and I will continue to use it. Very pleased with the result. It works without drying out my skin like other acne lotions I've tried. Just one tip: be careful when applying that you don't get it on or near your lips, as it can be mildly irritating to the skin there, I've found.

Page of 11 Next »

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 3.5-3.9. 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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