Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Get your glow on. Apply this leave-on exfoliant once or twice a day. Smooths skin, fades sun damage, and reveals younger-looking skin.
Item #: 190
  • Anti-Aging, Wrinkles
  • Dry/Very Dry, Combination Skin
  • Hydrates and stimulates collagen production

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Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

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Customer Ratings:

87 out of 100
(Based on 160 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 7 Next »
  1. Anthony
    Reviewed on Sunday, September 23, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great, just a bit sticky
    • I like this product. It applies nicely, the only downside is that it's sticky and leaves a sheen on your face.

  2. Shannon
    Reviewed on Wednesday, September 12, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    A miracle
    • I turned 60 this year and I was noticing my neck starting to show signs of aging. I tried Trivectin neck cream and saw limited results and a very expensive price tag. I tried PC's exfoliant and was stunned how effective it was not only for my neck but my face. I recently had a photo taken of myself and I was amazed how radiant my skin looked. I look 20 years younger!

  3. Stacy
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 11, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fantastic!
    • This is one of the first products I tried from PC, and it did not disappoint. Just under a year ago I had been trying various drugstore brands to try and clear these tiny bumps on my forehead. Nothing worked, and my combination skin was starting to get flaky in certain areas. Then I tried this Skin Perfecting 8% AHA along with Hydralight Moisture Infusing Lotion and my skin has never looked better! No more bumps, and no more flakes, just a nice even skin tone. I have recommended PC now to all my friends.

  4. Kim
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 09, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Fantastic product
    • This stuff works wonders for my skin. The bottle goes a long way. Price is fair when it's on sale to offset the somewhat high cost of shipping.

  5. Amy
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    not for my sensitive skin...
    • I tried samples of this and had high hopes...but after ordering the full size, I started breaking out with little bumps along my jawline. Fortunately, I had ordered samples of the 2% BHA lotion at the same time, so I switched to that. After using it once a day for 2 days, the redness from my rosacea was noticeably decreased and my skin texture was smoother. The BHA lotion did not sting or make my skin itch like this AHA 8% does. SO wishing I had tried the BHA first and had a full size of that. The AHA is much too strong for my sensitive, dry skin. 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. For that reason, we have located your account information and applied an in house credit for the product which may be used on a future phone order. We are happy to hear the BHA works much better for you! Please contact customer care with any questions.

  6. Kelly
    Reviewed on Monday, July 09, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love this exfoliant for my hyper pigmentation!
    • My skin is very fair and sensitive, and I have extensive post acne hyper pigmentation. I started off using this every couple days for about two weeks, then switched to every night when my skin adjusted. It's lovely! I use it right after removing my makeup with the Earth Sourced cleanser and it leaves my skin feeling very healthy, not stripped or dry in the least. I'm very optimistic that my skin will recover in due time thanks to the use of this exfoliant. Couldn't recommend enough!

  7. Amy
    Reviewed on Friday, July 06, 2012
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    disappointing
    • This product certainly didn't make my skin worse, but it did not help at all. I have always had very dry skin but never exfoliated as part of my daily regimen. I have used Paula's Beautypedia site to pick out products in the past but this was the first time I ordered something from her line. Unfortunately, I still have dry, flakey skin, especially in the middle of my forehead and around my temples. I have no idea why this product didn't help. I have used it for about 3 weeks now. For the first week I used it every other day and now I use it every evening after my toner and before placing moisturizer. Hmmmm... I guess my search continues...Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear you have not noticed better results. The amount of time it will take to see improvement really can vary from person to person and ultimately depends on the extent of the condition or concern they are trying to address as well has how they are using the products. Some consumers will notice results promptly while others will notice results over the course of a few weeks or months. We have located your account information and applied an in house credit for the product which may be used on a future phone order. Please contact customer care so that we may help you find a routine based on your skin type and concerns.

  8. Tyler
    Reviewed on Thursday, June 28, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Impressed! No breakouts since!
    • I started using this product every night since it arrived, Wow am I impressed! I was on accutane up until 6 months ago and I was getting some mild acne reccuring, this stuff in combination with the 2% BHA cleanser has made me breakout-free. Will repurchase.

  9. Carrie
    Reviewed on Thursday, June 14, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing product
    • I have difficult skin.Combination, breakouts, flakes, sensitive at times.I have battled with unexplainable flakyness for as long as i can remember. I have tried exfoliants from other lines and one helped a bit but not nearly enough, then I tried this, it is awesome! It makes my skin sooo smooth! I use all Paula's Choice products now but this is the one I cannot be without! Thank you!

  10. Jennifer
    Reviewed on Tuesday, June 12, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good
    • I get samples of this product when I place my orders. I only use this a few times a month. I normally use the 2% BHA lotion, but I use the 8% AHA gel once a month for a few days to really exfoliate my skin.

  11. Alefiya
    Reviewed on Tuesday, June 12, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Can't do without it!
    • I realize I can't do without this product if I go a day or two without using it! The skin around my mouth will look visibly rough and the skin all over my face will feel very different as well. I'm really pleased with this product!

  12. A. I.
    Reviewed on Saturday, June 09, 2012
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Exfoliates, but too drying for dry skin
    • I used this product for a couple of weeks and liked the results - at first. However, after 2 weeks my skin became really tight and red and started cracking. I did moisturize afterwards, but it did not help. I had to stop using the product (although I did reintroduce the BHA exfoliant into my routine), and the redness and dryness dissipated. The product does its job, but it is too drying for me. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear the product did not respond well with your skin, it is designed to help your skin retain its own moisture but we do realize everyone can respond differently. We are happy to hear the BHA is a better option for you and have left the purchase price of this product on your account to be used as an in house credit for a future phone order by calling: 1-800-831-4088. Please contact customer care with any questions, we are happy to help!

  13. Cathy
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 06, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    ouch
    • I'm sure that it's exfoliating wonderfully...because I can feel it. I tried a sample of it and it stings in this weird uncomfortable way. I put on benzoyl peroxide every night, so I'm used to the sting of that, but the sting of this AHA just feels unnatural. Not for sensitive skin, guys. But it had a nice consistency and dried quickly to a matte finish.

  14. Tel
    Reviewed on Tuesday, May 08, 2012
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Red marks go away...Pls
    • I've been using this for six months now. My skin has improve yet the red marks are still there moreover I've developed some sun spots on my cheeks maybe because of the added sun sensitivity from using the product. ( yet I'm using a sunscreen) I'm not using a Paula's choice cleanser so maybe that was the problem. So I'm going to order a cleanser soon hope that it'll work better somehow. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear you have not noticed better results. The amount of time it will take to see improvement really can vary from person to person and ultimately depends on the extent of the condition or concern they are trying to address as well has how they are using the products. Some consumers will notice results promptly while others will notice results over the course of a few weeks or months. Ultimately, we would love for you to continue use the products to see how they will work for you. We are happy to credit you for the product however cannot locate an order for this product in our system. Please contact customer care so that we may credit you for the product and discuss your skin type and how the products were being used.

  15. Tiffany P.
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 03, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!!!
    • This product has been like a miracle for me! In the past I had wounds and lacerations to my face and arms. I eventually got multiple V-beam and Fraxel procedures (as of Saturday I'll be 27 years old). I had been considering another go with Fraxel, but decided to give this product a try first. WOW! It made an overnight change in my skin's texture and after about a week I could see a difference in even-ness/tone as well. This is a wonderful product and I can't recommend it enough. It has cut down my makeup application time greatly because I don't have so much to hide! Thank you so much Paula and all the Paula's Choice/Cosmetic Cop team. You are like the guardian angels of skincare.

  16. Linda M.
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 03, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great product but the packaging...
    • I have been using this product for years and love it. However, your new packaging is somewhat perplexing although it's quite attractive. First there's less product, same price. On the otherhand I don't have to use an alternate container because it meets the TSA guidelines. But, because of the pump it's really too big to get in that little quart bag. I thought no problem, the cap from the old container works so I'll just dispense with the pump for the trip not realizing that the container was hard sided and the product was difficult to get out without the pump. How about making a travel size or going back to the softer sided container. I'm sure those of us who travel would appreciate it.Customer Care Response: Thank you for the review. We will be sure to pass on your suggestion promptly. Just to clarify, Paula and her team chose the new packaging for our exfoliants in response to customer feedback. Many customers told us they were disappointed in the quality and usability of the original packaging. The change to more functional, attractive packaging plus sturdier, more stable, dent free plastic and rising manufacturing costs resulted in a slight reduction to the fill weight although we hope most customers will continue to enjoy the multiple benefits Paula's Choice unique and unparalleled Skin Perfecting exfoliants provide.

  17. Harry
    Reviewed on Monday, April 23, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good product, but broke me out.
    • I don't think I'm being too forgiving when I rate this product 4 stars, despite the fact that it broke out my cheeks fairly consistently throughout the 3-4 week period I used it. I have very oily skin; it's obnoxious really, and this product dries to a matte, imperceptible finish in less than a minute. Despite the breakouts I've attributed to this, it definitely made my skin feel much smoother in about a week of use. The improvement in visible texture was minor, but my skin is actually fairly nice when it's not reacting to something. I think I'll experiment with the BHAs from now on til I find the sweet spot for my skin; I just hope I can find something that my skin sucks up like it does this gel, because the finish of this gel is surprising, to say the least. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear of your experience with this product. While the response you have indicated 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 using BHA exfoliants if you have oily skin and are prone to blemishes. We have located your account information and applied a credit for the product. Please contact customer care with any questions.

  18. Dylan
    Reviewed on Friday, April 20, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing Product!
    • I am an 18 year old guy and I am in love with this product! I have fairly oily skin but I actually prefer this over BHA products. I feel like this helps just as much as a BHA in providing razor burn relief and it also prevents it just as well. The only time I reolace this with BHA is when I have active acne because the BHA absolutely works better at reducing acne. This has a wonderful texture and never pills up when products are applied on top of this. Anyone interested should buy this. Paula has a great returm policy and her customer service team is more than willing to help if you decide to return the product. A+++

  19. Elaine
    Reviewed on Monday, April 09, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great product!
    • I've been obsessed with makeup and skincare products since I was a teenager, but I only recently discovered Paula's Choice through my sister. I used to spend a lot of money on products that didn't seem to do much, although I've never tried an exfoliant. I read a few reviews of this product and decided I should probably start using this to clear my dead skin cells and to rejuvenate my complexion. After using the product for about two weeks, I can say that I'm really impressed! My skin looks bright and healthy, and I have not developed a single blemish since I've begun using this. I am lucky to not have acne-prone skin, but I feel that this product really does a good job of making skin look polished and fresh, and even though I was worried that it would dry out my skin (I have normal-dry skin), I haven't had any problems with dryness at all! Side note - I also use this product on my arms, as I've always had little bumps on my upper arms, and I can tell that they're slowly disappearing.

  20. Meagan R.
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 05, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love it!
    • This stuff is great. It was not a product I would have immediately thought would help me, however when I finally broke down and purchased a bunch of samples of paulas products (after dealing with my adult acne for seven years, on and off, with mass-marketed products from walmart) I thought Hmm, well, i've never used an AHA exfoliant, so I wonder what it does? Well, what it does for *me* is magic. I did not use it for about a month of having the samples, and had already fell in love with the 2% BHA liquid from PC, and had never before used glycolic acid so when I finally took the plunge I felt some stinging during my first application- lord, I washed it off after ten minutes. I continued with my regular routine (PC skin perfecting 2% BHA liquid) and and it was the day for my my twice weekly application of 10% benzoyl peroxide. The next morning, my previously zits were FLAT. Flat! They did not hurt anymore, though still red. I thought it was a fluke, so I ordered still more samples of this product. Again, same effect. it was glorious. This time I believed it and ordered a full size bottle and yes, my previously angry pimples are today much flatter, much less painful. I love this product and cannot wait to see what longer term use will do for the rest of my skin!!

  21. Brittany
    Reviewed on Tuesday, April 03, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • I have been using Paula's choice products for almost 2 years now and will never stop. They have completely changed my skin. I get comments all the time about how great my skin looks, how smooth it is, how I have no wrinkles. Part of my regimen is using the 8% AHA gel religiously. It has single-handedly changed my skin. Smoothed it out, gotten rid of fine wrinkles. If i had to only use one product (which would be crazy!), I would hold on to this one. Can't say enough good things. I will tell all my dermatologist friends in training about this line.

  22. Dee
    Reviewed on Monday, April 02, 2012
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Beware: Loses Effectiveness Quickly!
    • I received a sample of this product and was amazed at the immediate result of glowing skin.Fast forward a few weeks later and my skin looks horrible! As a former acne sufferer I feel traumatized by all the small pimples I see forming. I haven't had a pimple in years and in just a few weeks this product has managed to completely screw up my complexion. My skin is rough, dryish and broken out! Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. It is hard to know exactly which ingredient, combination of ingredients, or outside factors contributed to your skin responding negatively to this product. It can be difficult to identify which ingredient in any formula, even a well-formulated one, which could be causing breakouts and dryness. Based on what you have described, it would be best to discontinue use. We will credit you for the product and send the BHA exfoliant to try instead. BHA is able to prevent breakouts as it can exfoliate the pores unlike the AHA. Please contact customer care with any questions.

  23. Julie
    Reviewed on Friday, March 30, 2012
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Never again
    • I have been using the 2% BHA liquid for several months now and I think it's wonderful. I decided to try the 8% AHA gel even though several people said it made them break out. I couldn't understand why it would do that. Anyhow after about 3 days of using the AHA gel I noticed a couple of zits on my face, and I hadn't gotten any with the BHA lotion. So I thought I would just use the AHA gel on my chest and neck to use it up. After 2 nights of applying it there I noticed a zit on my chest. I won't be using this product again. I will be sticking to the BHA lotion. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear this product did not work well for you; there is nothing in the formula that can clog the pores. It really just depends on how your skin personally will respond and what other products you may be using. We will credit you for it and hope the BHA exfoliant works better for you. Please contact customer care with any questions, we are happy to help.

  24. Maureen
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 29, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This stuff ROCKS!
    • I am 57 years old with good skin, no wrinkles anywhere, however I did have red areas and mild rosacea so I was looking for something to help with that and I found it. This product did for my skin, in 2 days, what no other product I have ever used has been able to. No more red areas my skin is plumped up and I can't even see my pores. I will NEVER be without it again. Try it you will not be disappointed.

  25. Nicole
    Reviewed on Friday, March 23, 2012
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    not sure if it works
    • My skin is very normal, not oily or dry, so I had a difficult time selecting which products to try. I have never tried an AHA product, so I purchased this. I'm really not sure if it had an effect. I did not have any adverse reaction to it. But I don't think I noticed much of a difference. I used it for about 3-4 weeks before purchasing the 2% BHA gel, and I think that works better for exfoliating my skin. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your comments, we will be sure to share your experience with the product to Paula and her Product Development Manager. We are happy to hear the 2% BHA Gel works better for you! We will credit you for this product in the meantime and please contact customer care with any questions.

« Prev Page of 7 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant has a sheer, weightless texture that works to exfoliate the skin's surface and fade signs of sun damage. The ultra-light formula corrects uneven skin tone for a brighter, smoother, more radiant complexion. Substantiated research shows that AHAs improve collagen production for firmer skin and increase skin's moisture-binding ability. 8% AHA Gel works to sustain the results of professional peels and wears beautifully under a moisturizer or serum.

This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free with a pH range of 3.5-3.8.

Who is this product for?
8% AHA Gel is great for all skin types but those with normal to dry, sun-damaged skin will find it especially beneficial.

Sources to support the claims made for SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel EXfoliant

Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170–176; Dry Skin and Moisturizers: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, April 2005, pages 1156–1162; Cutis, August 2001, pages 135–142; Dermatologic Surgery, May 2001 pages 1–5; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, July 2000, pages 280–284; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, March-April 2000, pages 81–88; Chemistry and Function, edited by Marie Loden and Howard Maibach, 2000, page 237; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, May-June 1999, pages 111–119; Journal of Cell Physiology, October 1999, pages 14–23; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 1996, pages 867–875.

Key Ingredients: green tea, AHA, sodium PCA, glycolic acid, sodium hyaluronate, chamomile, Aloe barbadensis

Product Ingredients:

Water, Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (chamomile/soothing agent), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (water-binding agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-identical ingredient), Panthenol (water-binding agent), Sodium PCA (skin-identical ingredient), Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-10 (thickeners), Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben (preservatives).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime-sized amount over the entire face, avoiding direct contact with eyes and lips. 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 Skin-Care 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.

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.

Can the AHA and/or BHA products be used during pregnancy or while lactating?

Although topical exfoliants should not pose a problem for pregnant woman, we do recommend asking your doctor before using any product you are concerned about.

Can I alternate using an AHA and BHA exfoliant? Is this even necessary?

You can alternate using an AHA and BHA exfoliant if desired, but it isn't necessary. Both work to exfoliate skin, improving texture and tone. Ideally, consider an AHA if breakouts and blackheads are not a concern but visible sun damage is. Choose BHA if you're concerned with signs of aging and are struggling with breakouts, blackheads, and white bumps. If you opt to use both, choose one to apply in the morning and one to apply at night. If you're only using an exfoliant once daily, alternate use between the AHA and BHA product.

At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my AHA 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 an AHA exfoliant, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to wait until skin has returned to its normal texture and color. This may mean waiting a few days or, depending on the depth of the peel or laser procedure, it may mean waiting several weeks. Both peels and laser procedures can temporarily leave skin extra-sensitive, so if in doubt it's best to wait rather than rush things. Once you begin using your AHA exfoliant again, pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust frequency of use accordingly. Discontinue use if you notice signs of irritation.

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