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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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Customer Ratings:

76 out of 100
(Based on 260 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 11 Next »
  1. CW
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Life Changing for Acne Sufferers with Dry Skin!
    • Developing horrific adult acne is really devastating & embarrassing. The only thing worse than battling acne, is battling super dry skin with acne. I've spent more money on acne products & dermatologists than I care to admit. NOTHING compares to the BHA lotion... It has seriously changed my life! Instantly reduces redness & diminishes breakouts overnight while leaving my skin smooth & hydrated. Don't give up on BHA, you just have to find the right strength & formula for your skin type.

  2. SLW
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Works beautifully!!!
    • I have been using Paula's Choice products for a few years now and love them. Everyone's skin is different, and not every product works for all skin types. My skin tends to be dry and a bit oily at the same time. This product works beautifully to exfoliate, but not dry out my skin. After using it everyday for one week, my pores are noticeably smaller and my skin is clear and evenly toned. My skin has no problem absorbing this lotion. Others have stated that this was a problem for them.

  3. Dan F.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 03, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Nice Product!
    • This was a great solution for my dry winter skin. I have always used the 2% liquid but this year my skin was particularly dry so I switched to the lotion. It definitely doesn't absorb as well as the liquid (or even gel) but I had nice results without drying out my skin.

  4. Kiersten S
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 01, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Buy the gel instead
    • I love so much of Paula's line ... This is an exception. I love the BHA gel and it works wonderfully on my skin. I decided to try this instead, as it states it's better for dry skin (which I have). I have to disagree. It doesn't feel like it absorbs into my skin at all. I have also tried, and don't mind, the liquid (though I don't feel like it does much for my skin). I'm going back to the gel.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 03, 2014

    Hi Kiersten! We're sorry the 2% BHA Lotion didn't work out for you, but glad you found the BHA Gel does! Be sure to contact our Customer Care for help with a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  5. JD
    Reviewed on Saturday, March 01, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Photoshop in a Bottle
    • This is perfect. I tried the samples and loved the transformation. People at work noticed my skin and complimented the clarity. It's harsh but I use it for 3-4 consecutive days a month. Makes me look like I have gotten an expensive chemical peel. FLAWLESS. Must have.

  6. Alicia M.
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 01, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Good BHA
    • I got some samples of this product to try, as I use BHA products in my morning routine. This lotion is great, but be careful not to use too much! The sample pouch is enough for 3 days worth of applications! I found this lotion did not (for me at least) absorb as well as the liquid formula, hence the be careful not to use too much warning. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good BHA, but try samples first to find out which formula works best for your skin type.

  7. Ginger W
    Reviewed on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Not crazy about the smell
    • Not for me. It has a bad smell. Does not bring out the glow in my skin the way the Liquid does. I find it to be quite drying. don't notice any unclogging of pores or anything. glad I tried this in a sample instead of paying full price. I am switching back to the Liquid version of this product which I love. It adds the shine, closes the pores and makes the skin soft as velvet.

  8. MARY C.
    Reviewed on Sunday, January 26, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    BHA 2 Lotion
    • I've been using this lotion for at least a couple of years and just love it; my husband is also using it now, and his skin has been transformed. In addition, I'd like to comment on some of the reviews here...not every product is going to work for everyone, that is why Paula offers three different formulations on this one, and others. There really is no need to be ugly and condescending just because a product doesn't work for you.

  9. Debbie L
    Reviewed on Saturday, January 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love it!
    • I had been using the liquid for blackheads, large pores, and rosacea and it worked great but my skin always felt a little prickly and I needed extra moisturizing. The lotion works wonderfully and is so comfortable with no irritation at all. It sinks right in immediately and makes my skin feel so soft. I do use it right after toning so maybe that's why I don't have any problem spreading it like some other reviewers seem to have. Try the liquid if this is too heavy for you.

  10. Kristen P.
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 23, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Yuck
    • I received some free samples, and I don't like it at all. It felt very thick and dry and I had a hard time getting it to absorb into my skin. The rest of my sample of this stuff are going into the trash. I do love using the 2% BHA BODY lotion on my face, though!

  11. Mike
    Reviewed on Monday, January 13, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Help
    • Can you use this product everyday.

  12. JJ
    Reviewed on Friday, January 10, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Exceptional
    • I have been dealing with acne since I was 13, and have tried every prescription and OTC product. Now, 30, I felt like giving up, until I read incredible reviews regarding Paula's products. Well I have been using this product for about a week, and I can't believe how smooth my skin is. Plus my acne is disappearing. Thanks Paula and I will buy again. A great product for a great price!! I didn't think that existed anymore!

  13. AW
    Reviewed on Friday, January 03, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    thank you Paula & team
    • Acne has been a major concern for me since my pre-teen years, and it deeply affected my life and confidence. It got better once I entered my 20s, but never went away completely. In this, my 31st year, I resolved to either invest in expensive makeup to cover up the problem, or to attempt to tackle the issue one last time. Thankfully I opted for the latter, more sensible choice. I only wish I'd had Paula's products all those years ago. At long last my skin has calmed down and I am so thankful

  14. KS
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 02, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    MIRACLE PRODUCT!
    • Long ago I accepted that I'd always have ugly blackheads & large pores in my T-zone and that the only way to fix it was using a painful extractor. But I got samples of this lotion and--seriously--in just two applications, my blackheads were 95% gone & my pores looked so much smaller! I've used a small amount every night on my T-zone for about a week, & I cannot adequately describe the improvement in my skin. Now I feel confident leaving the house without foundation & powder. LOVE.

  15. Lauren C.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, December 18, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    I wish I would have tried a sample size first
    • I bought this over a year ago and have been trying it for a few months at a time to see if this was causing the reaction and it seems so. For some reason when using this I get these painful pimples around my jaw (possibly cystic acne) one or two at a time. I had originally used a sample of the 8% AHA gel and REALLY liked it, and I saw that this one was also for dry skin, and a lotion, so I thought that it would be doubly awesome. It may not be the case for everybody, but my skin did not like it.

  16. April Walters
    Reviewed on Wednesday, December 18, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    What pores?
    • I started using this about a month ago and my skin is transformed. At 41 I have large pores, blackheads and occasional acne. Within only a few days all the debris in my pores came to the surface and was really easy to express. I went through about two weeks of purging but now my skin is phenomenal; reduced pore size and clear but also the texture is tighter. Due to the heaviness, I started using only at night and switched to the Clear Regular Strenth during the day. LOVE!

  17. Dawn
    Reviewed on Friday, December 13, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Lifesaver
    • This product is a lifesaver! I've struggled with blackheads for a long time and have tried countless products and this is the only product that's helped reduced them significantly. I alternate it every other night with a nenzyl peroxide treatment that I use to keep away pimples. I use this after using the skin recovery cleanser, resist retinol serum, and skin recovery moisturizer. Afte abor 6 weeks the blackheads around my nose are much much less noticeable and my pores are much smaller.

  18. Marielle
    Reviewed on Sunday, November 17, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not for me...
    • I HATE to write a bad review about Paula's product, because I use a ton of Paula's products and I love them. This cream is just way too heavy for me. It is thick and doesn't absorb easily. It kind of feels like spreading dry glue on my face and body. Then it kind of sits there on top of my sking and other products, like prescription tretinoin or serums don't absorb at all. Luckily, Paula has many amazing BHA's and I can easily pick one in a lighter base that works better on my skin.

  19. Lenora G.
    Reviewed on Friday, November 15, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    BLACKHEADS NO MORE
    • This product has completely eliminated my blackhead problem. No more wierd lumps under my makeup. Thanks, Team Paula!!

  20. Dena
    Reviewed on Tuesday, November 12, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Best way I use this product....
    • Here is how I recommend using this product: as soon as you wash and pat dry your face, immediately apply 1 pump and gently spread all over your face until it disappears into the skin. The reason to apply right away is to prevent the white streaks on your face and the lotion is easier to apply on moist skin. Don't apply 2 pumps because it'll be harder to smooth on the skin to avoid the white streaks and it will feel dry. Wait about 2 min then apply your day or night moisturizer or serum after.

  21. Dena
    Reviewed on Tuesday, November 12, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Was skeptical at first, but now I like it
    • I am African American with eczema, dry-sensitive skin. Went through different products, buying this about a year ago. Stopped using it after getting a rash. Realized recently what ingredients work for me and what doesn't, realizing the ingredients in this is more beneficial for my skin. Eliminated the products that didn't work and started using this again 2 months ago. No rash. Skin glows, looks even, and soft: goodbye dull, dry skin. Pores around nose cleared up a lot and are smaller.

  22. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, November 01, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Caused breakout
    • I have had success with the liquid and gel BHA, but the lotion caused breakouts on my dry skin. I thought it would work well since my skin tends to be drier in the autumn and winter, but my chin broke out . I thought my skin would get used to the product and then be better, but the pimples just wouldn't go away until I went back to the BHA liquid.

  23. CHERYL L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, October 26, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    After all these years~
    • Well, after trying to use this for several years, and never liking the thickness or the difficulty I had spreading it, I have finally found a way to use it successfully! I apply it while my Toner is still damp; I use a spray bottle and spray it into my clean hands, and then apply it (I guess like a man applies after shave!) Then while my face is fairly damp I apply this BHA Lotion and it gives it perfect 'spreadability', as well as you use far less product! Make sure you let it dry completely!

  24. D Dickson
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Just doesn't work for me
    • I have been using Paula's skincare products for probably 10 years but this one is a nightmare for me. I hoped to close some of the pores and remove age spots but I think my skin looks worse. And, even stranger, when I apply this lotion my skin sweats for almost an hour. I don't know what it is. I will return this and body lotion---which had no effect--- and try other products/brands. Rats! I was hoping for the results that others describe.

  25. Robin L.
    Reviewed on Monday, September 23, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • After a year of struggling with the effects of menopause on my very dry, sensitive, rosacea-prone skin I had just about given up hope. After an IPL session, I decided to overhaul my skin care routine. This is one of the products I tried and I love it. I use it just in the morning, after cleansing and before my tinted moisturizer with SPF. I love that it doesn't burn or sting, and that it has made my skin so much smoother and healthier. I wouldn't be without it.

« Prev 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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