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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 253 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 11 Next »
  1. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, May 28, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    huge difference in my skin
    • PROS: My dry/sensitive skin has never looked better. Pores are noticeably smaller & wrinkles look better. No perfumey fragrance. Did not bother my sensitive skin, either. It's so gentle that I even use it under my eyes to get rid of milia. Helps my pores stay unclogged. Still need moisturizer after this. CONS: Can ball up under my foundation (I use an spf, then primer, then foundation), so I use it at night before treatments like retinol.

  2. Jemma O'C
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 23, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Poor
    • I adore most of my other PC products but this one...is a dud. The texture is difficult to manage, beading on my skin no matter what application method I apply, this beading effect makes it terrible to wear under makeup as it causes foundation to literally rub off. Additionally, my bottle seems to literally have beads in it - it's very odd, tiny cylindrical beads which feel like brittle plastic. My pump also broke within the first week. Would not repurchase and don't recommend.

  3. Viva
    Reviewed on Saturday, May 04, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Just okay...
    • When I first tried this product it worked great, now a month into it and I feel like it stopped working. Another thing I don't like about it is that it makes my face super shinny and tight, like my skin is about to tear any minute now. I wouldn't recommend it, try the 8% AHA gel I've had amazing results using that in two days than I have for a month with this product.

  4. Geeta, S
    Reviewed on Saturday, April 20, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Excellent Product
    • This is an excellent exfoliator. I have used Paula's products for many years, upwards of 5 years. This 2% gel/lotion has given my skin a glow and cleared the dry, flaky bits that crop up every once in awhile. My skin is so much smoother. Thank you Paula and staff for all the hard work into making a wonderful product, among many others.

  5. Katie S.
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 11, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Beads up
    • I really wanted to like this, but it doesn't seem to be working. When I use this and put on moisturizer, it beads up and rubs off. If I just use the moisturizer, I don't have that problem. On top of that, I think it's causing my skin to be too "oily". I'm wondering if I used the liquid BHA, it'd work better.

  6. Amber W.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Rosacea success!
    • This is the best exfoliant I have ever used. It does wonders to my skin. I started by using it 1x every 2 days and slowly worked my way up to 2x day. I have mild/moderate rosacea and dry skin. People often joke that I have a "ghotee" of dry skin. This product completely eliminated the crusty flakes. After one week of use, I was so happy with my skin that I teared up. I have never had such soft skin before. Thank you to Paula and her team.

  7. Sadee W.
    Reviewed on Friday, March 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazed.
    • I've only used this product a few times from the samples I ordered (just placed an order for a full size). I am in my mid-forties with dry skin, uneven tone, millia on my forehead and above my lip, and starting to get visible wrinkles. Plus I have blackheads on my nose, chin, and a little on cheeks. After just three uses of this product, the millia on my forehead are less visible, skin tone more even, and my other products are working better. I am blown away. Seriously. Blown. Away.

  8. Lina
    Reviewed on Wednesday, March 20, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    So disappointed
    • I have purchased this lotion together with the Balancing Cleanser. I love the cleanser but I hate this lotion. My skin has mild acne to begin with but after using this lotion, my skin breaks out like crazy. I get huge cystic acne all over my chin, nose area and places that I've never had acne before. Too sad. I have to stop using it after almost two months of using this.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, March 25, 2013
    Thank you for your review, and we're sorry this wasn't a fit for you! There are a variety of factors that can influence breakouts, and as the 2% BHA Lotion is designed to be ultra-rich for dry to very dry skin types, it may have been too moisturizng for your needs. Please contact our Customer Care Team, they would be happy to assist you with a refund or exchange.
    —Admin
  9. JuliaB
    Reviewed on Friday, March 15, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Must Have for Me
    • I use this a different way which works great for me. Kristen G. in previous review may want to try this. I mix about a nickel size of 2% BHA Lotion in with the Hydralight Cleanser and apply to my skin with a bit of water. Then the two get worked in together with the Clarisonic Mia -- that I also use. Rinse off with water. My skin feels smooth, clean and brighter and not at all tacky.

  10. Kristin G
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Don't think it's right for my skin
    • I have been using Paula's Choice for about 5 years now and have been pretty happy with them. I recently ran out of my 1% BHA lotion which worked pretty well for me but I didn't notice a big difference so I decided to try the 2% BHA lotion, unfortunately it doesn't work for me at all. I've been using it for about a month and it's making break out. And it has a tacky feeling on the skin( it does go away after a few minutes). I think it is way to moisturizing for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
    Hi there! We're sorry this wasn't a fit for you, which is likely due (as you pointed out) to its very rich formula. Consider the RESIST Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA, which (despite targeted for "head to toe" usage), is super-light and works for nearly anyone who prefers a lotion texture. Many customers with combination, oily or dry love it. Be sure to contact our Customer Care Department for help with a credit or exchange.
    —Admin
  11. JILL L.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 11, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    perfect for sensitive skin
    • I have always been very very sensitive to any kind of acne medication. Sylicic acid or benzoyl peroxide usually leave my entire face stinging,my eyes swollen shut and peeling. Because this isonly 1% acid and a lotion , it dose not effec my skin in any way but positive. This isn't a miracle product for me as my pores are all still clogged, and still large. But the size is definitely smaller, and it definitely fights acne. I have been using this product twice a day for 2 months on my dry skin

  12. Claudia
    Reviewed on Sunday, March 10, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    great product for dry skin with acne
    • Anyone with dry and acne-prone skin would benefit greatly from P.C. BHA lotion. I've been using it for 3 weeks now and have already seen great results. My flaky winter skin, which was also on a bad bout of acne from the excessive use of moisturizer, is balanced out, the dryness is gone and the acne is clearing up. Great product! I agree with other reviewers that it takes some time for it to sink into the skin but it doesn't bother me because it truly moisturizes my dry blemish-prone skin.

  13. SUZANNE T.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 26, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    It's Great But...
    • I love the results of alternating an AHA and a BHA on my face and neck but I prefer the gel to the lotion. I ordered the lotion because I tend to be normal to dry and it was the recommended choice but since then, I've tried the gel samples and I like it a lot better. To me, the gel absorbs easier and dries quicker so I can move on to the other steps.

  14. Susanna
    Reviewed on Monday, February 25, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Takes time but gives results
    • Give this TIME. Now, after 3 months, I see amazing difference in my skin. Before had very visible pores-gone, redness at cheeks and nose- almost gone and now I have such a beautfiul even skin tone and most importantly that make-upless glow I always dreamed about. I was very close to stop using this products after 2 months because I didnt notice anything but I'm so happy I stuck with it. I have dry skin with oily t-zone and the lotion is suitable for me.

  15. D
    Reviewed on Monday, January 14, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love it!
    • I had used the CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid for years and had great results. But as I've been getting older, my skin has been getting drier,....and I was finding the product I had been using was causing flaking and tightness. This Lotion Exfoliant worked wonderfully! It keeps the acne at bay, and keeps my skin nice and moist so there is no flaking. I use it with the Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and I love it!

  16. AMY W.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, January 02, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Just what I was looking for!
    • I also switched from the AHA (I was using it while I was pregnant), and I was looking for something for my breakout-prone skin that tends to be dryish in the winter. I love it! I'm using it in combination with the Earth Sourced Cleanser and Toner. It is the perfect combination to keep my skin clear, glowing (not oily!), and happy. I

  17. Heidi
    Reviewed on Wednesday, December 26, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Switched from AHA to this and love it!
    • I too just switched from the AHA products to the 2% BHA and love it. I found with the AHA that my skin was breaking out so emailed customer service and Moniqua (who is fabulous) suggested I try the BHA and even sent me a sample to try!!!! It is such a wonderful product and I use it in between the Weekly Resist Treatment. I just started using Paula's products about a month ago and previously was using a face cream that was costing me $115.00 and a serum that was costing me $105.00. After comparing the ingrediants on this site I realized I had a lot more options and options with more effective ingrediants. For those looking to try a new product just order the samples and that way you can try the products and then order the ones you love!

  18. Mostlym3
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 08, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Switched from AHA - Very Happy!
    • I started using the AHA lotion as my exfoliant, given that I have dry, sensitive skin. My main concern right now as my skin is aging is the appearance of my pores so after reading Paula's advice, I switched to a BHA. I chose the lotion because my skin is dryer and I use it with the skin recovery toner, resist anti-oxident serum and a moisturizer. I'm so pleased with how my pores look smaller and tighter. The pores on my nose are clear without any scrubbing or irritants. I'm really happy with this product and plan to keep it in my routine. Now I'm looking for a great exfoliating body lotion.

  19. Crystal
    Reviewed on Monday, November 05, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Heaven Sent
    • I have post accutane sensitive skin. About 6 months after my accutane course was completed I started developing clogged pores again. I began using this shortly after that and I have remained clear and non-irritated. I'm going on a year now using this, and I cannot say enough just how pleased I am with it. This is a miracle lotion to me. Very very well done Paula :)

  20. Alexandra
    Reviewed on Friday, November 02, 2012
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Disappointed
    • I have been using this twice daily for 1 month. I do not yet know how it affects my skin imperfections (mainly acne, milia, and hyperpigmentation) but I do know that it is completely uncompatible with any of my other products. When worn under sunscreen or makeup, it causes the products to ball up and flake off of my face. Therefore I can only use this on days that I don't leave the house, which really limit s its potential. Even when worn under the Paula's Choice moisturizer samples that came with my order, I had the same problem, even if I waited half an hour before applying it over the exfoliant. I am pretty disappointed that I cannot even use this product often enough to know whether it helps the condition of my skin. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. The balling up of textures may have to do with how the product was being applied as well as the other products you are using with it. We would like to encourage you to contact customer care so we can discuss your routine, and how the product was being used. We are happy to make recommendations!

  21. Isabelle
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 24, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • I have been to numerous dermatologists over the years to try and treat my acne. It was absolutely horrible. I also have extremely sensitive skin. All of the treatments I have tried have dried out my skin and made me pink. I had given up on medications and instead only washed my face with a mild cleanser followed by a moisturizer. Online, people with sensitive skin recommended Paula's Choice and I decided to give it a try. Life changing! My skin is so clear! I have only gotten 4 pimples since starting this product and that is because I was lazy and did not wash my face. My pores have shrunk, the overall texture of my skin is improved. Small lines are gone. Most amazingly of all, my skin is less pink! It is also less oily and almost seems to glow with health. Those at my work are convinced that I am 10 years younger than I am. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel beautiful. This product worked so well for me that I told my friends that they had to buy it. They now refer to it as the Miracle lotion. They too have had amazing improvements to their skin! This product has become a staple for me. I could not be more pleased! Paula, you have made me feel beautiful and like I no longer need makeup!

  22. Sheri
    Reviewed on Friday, October 19, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best exfoliant I've tried
    • I love the 2% BHA lotion exfoliant that I bought after using the 1% BHA lotion for a year. This gets rid of bumps that appear behind your knees and inside your elbows and they are no longer there. I assume it is sloughing off dead skin on my face as well.

  23. Susanna
    Reviewed on Friday, September 21, 2012
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Not as Effective as the liquid
    • I finally got around to using this after I finished my PC's BHA 2% Liquid. I bought this BHA 2% Lotion (instead of re-purchasing the Liquid) because my skin has become more dry, and I thought it would be a great way to decrease 1 step in my routine. In other words, I thought by using the BHA Lotion instead of the Liquid, I wouldn't have to also use a moisturizer. However, this product did not work for me. Even though this is a lotion that is to be used for Dry skin, it was not moisturizing. In addition, the exfoliating properties were not as effective as the liquid. After using the lotion for about 2 months, my pores and breakouts seem to have returned to the previous sizes when I didn't use Paula's Choice products. When I used the Liquid, my pores and breakouts were less and smaller. I also find the Lotion is hard to apply; I have to kind of smear it along my skin, which is odd. Overall, I am disappointed with this product, and wouldn't recommend this. I think a better alternative is to use the Liquid or Gel, and then use a more effective moisturizer on top (especially for those with really dry skin). I feel that using 2 separate products maximizes the effectiveness of the 2 products, instead of trying to use 1 product to do two things (exfoliate and moisturize, even with the the possible side of effect of an interaction). Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear of your experience with this product. While this response is not typical, we do understand that each customer is uniquely different in how they will respond to products or ingredients. This along with everyday environmental factors can sometimes play a part in how someone will ultimately respond to a product or combination of products. We are happy to hear the liquid works better for you and encourage you to use this exfoliant. We have left the purchase price as an in house credit to be used on a future phone order and encourage you to contact customer care with any questions.

  24. Hugo I.
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 15, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Just perfect!!...
    • I was using a neutrogena exfoliant (good reviewed in beautypedia)...but i've been usign this one of pc for 4-5 months and my skin coudn't be better...even when it is supossed to dry skin it leaves my skin matt and smooth...acne marks have totally dissapeared (i also use resist serum, toner and moisturizer am))... So i guess the combination of the whole line have made miracles on my skin...thank you for such amazing products, my family is loving pc too...even my mom, who used the re-nutriv ultimate line of lauder for 10 years, now is even happier with these (and also her banking account)....

  25. BQB
    Reviewed on Wednesday, September 12, 2012
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Too waxy?
    • I really love the liquid-it's perfect under makeup and all the sunscreen and serums I use, but I bought the lotion by mistake. I put it on yesterday morning before I went out for an early walk and I literally needed a towel to wipe off the sweat from my face after a couple minutes. I am just finishing a flare of rosacea so I washed my face as soon as I got home. I wanted to like the lotion--I thought I would get better coverage than the liquid which I tend to use very sparingly, but something in the lotion feels like it smothers my skin. I will use it for my feet at night but not on my face. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear you did not like the texture of this product, it does require a pea sized amount per application as it is a richer lotion. We will certainly accept it back for an exchange, simply contact customer care with instructions for exchange, we are happy to help!

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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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