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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 173 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 7 Next »
  1. Stephanie
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 07, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    AHA versus BHA
    • I have used different forms of glycolic acid for a few years always with good results. After reading Paula's book, I decided because I have acne-prone skin to switch to a BHA. Well for whatever reason, after using for several months, my skin was reacting badly to the BHA. Not sure why but my skin has always tolerated AHAs well and so I switched to this product. Absolutely NO tingling/burning/redness associated with using it. I use this in AM and Retin-A in PM and my skin looks beautifully clear!

  2. Michelle G.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 04, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wonderful!
    • I've been using Paula's Choice BHA Gel and love it. I decided to add the AHA to my skin care routine. I am 38, combination, acne prone skin and have some cystic acne on my neck. I wasn't thinking this product might help my cystic acne breakouts but it has! I've been using this stuff for a little over a week and my breakouts on my neck are actually going away. I don't know how the Glycolic Acid helps the breakouts but its the only thing that has helped. My skin is looking better than ever.

  3. LISA M.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Perfection!
    • Only 2 weeks and my skin looks more refreshed and wrinkles have softened. Tone has improved too. Must have if you need an anti-aging formula!

  4. SARAH H.
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 02, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Life changing
    • I know skin care is an art and not a science, but for me this is a miracle product. I have been using it for years and love it. Occasionally I run out and go without, and I am always amazed when I return to it. Smooth, even skin. Love it.

  5. MH
    Reviewed on Tuesday, January 08, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    The texture is nice but it didn't work for me
    • I had high expectations for this product considering the previous ratings. I really wanted this to work for me, so I used this for more than a month but unfortunately my skin broke worse than ever, especially in the T zone :( I used this product combined with other Paula's Choice products, including Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser and Toner but it seems that this was not the right combination for me. However, I liked the feeling of the product after the application. I hope that I can find another Paula's Choice product that can help me to improve my skin, so I don't look as a teenager anymore!! Customer Care Response: Thank you for your comments. We will be sure to share your feedback with Paula and her Product Development Manager. If you would like to contact customer care we are happy to discuss your skin type and make suggestions for some alternative options, as well as arrange for samples to be sent out. If you have any questions please let us know, we are happy to help!

  6. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 09, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    The best product ever
    • This is the only thing that has worked for me to reduce acne scars. Please don't ever stop making it! :D

  7. S.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing for my combination, acne prone skin!
    • I've been using the CLEAR Regular Strength BHA with much success for about eight months or so. After really enjoying the Weekly 10% AHA, I decided to try using this 8% at night, keeping the BHA in the morning. And, WOW, what a difference. While the BHA kept my skin pretty clear, it didn't help as much as I'd like with hyperpigmentation left over from old acne. This AHA not only make my skin much softer and more glowing than BHA alone, it's fading all the red on my face at a much faster rate. My skin almost looks like porcelain, compared to a red, pitted mess. I had tried the RESIST 5% a while ago, and it was too heavy for my skin, but this is just right. I think it's worth trying in rotation with BHA if you have acne and aren't getting the results you want with BHA alone.

  8. Anissa
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 03, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    8% AHA plus 2% BHA = GREAT SKIN!
    • I use this product plus the 2% bha almost every day and my skin's texture has improved dramatically, though it's leveled off now. (which I would expect since I'm 40+ lol) My 13 year old daughter also uses the 2% BHA daily and, when I can get her to do it, this product as well. Her hormone-riddled skin looks best when she uses both products, one in the am, one at night. The only down side to this AHA product is that it's a gel and she hates the stickiness of it, which she claims she feels no matter how small of an amount she uses. I tend to agree with her. Love the product --but would prefer it in the liquid form. I really encourage people to buy both AHA and BHA since they exfoliate at different levels. Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review. While for some, using both an AHA and BHA may work well, we do not recommend this for everyone as most people really only need one or the other. You can always contact customer care for recommendations and with questions to determine what type of exfoliant will work best for your skin type. We are happy to help!

  9. Carrie
    Reviewed on Thursday, November 01, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Works on Pores
    • Bought the new Resist BHA 9 and after using it for a few weeks hoping to minimize pores, gave up and found this 8% gel from ages ago. Tried it on enlarged pores, and found it works better than any BHA product, CLEAR product, et cetera, that I have been using for years (all Paula's products). What's up? Thought BHA worked on enlarged pores? This producted produced results far superior to any other! Customer Care Response: Thank you for your feedback. BHA Exfoliants are a better option for helping to unclog pores and reduce blackheads because they penetrate the pores as well as exfoliate on the surface level. AHA's exfoliate only on the surface of the skin and help to smooth out dry skin, and reduce sun damage. For some AHA's may work better than BHA's. It is possible that you needed that extra surface exfoliation. While no product can shrink your pores, BHA's help your pores to behave more healthy, and to return to their normal healthy state over time. If you would like to contact customer care, we are happy to discuss your routine and make further suggestions.

  10. Matthew
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 23, 2012
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Redrum!
    • I have tried both of paula's choice exfoliants; this AHA 8% and the BHA 2% and know for sure that BHA is better for my skin than AHA. There is nothing wrong with this product but my skin just can't tolerate AHA. It's murder on it;turns it red and irritated after using it twice. BHA is somehow better and seems to calm my skin rather than flare it red. I would suggest to anyone trying AHA for the first time to get a sample of both AHA & a sample of BHA to see what your skin tells you works best.

  11. Shawndra
    Reviewed on Monday, October 01, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    My skin feels so nice...
    • This product has drastically improved my skin. I used to scrub my face mercilessly until I found this product - now it does all the exfoliation for me and is WAY better for my skin. I love it and highly recommend it. I use it at night because for me makeup does not apply well over the top of it. One of my favorites in my Paula's Choice arsenal!

  12. Lena
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 27, 2012
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great but less is not more...
    • The product itself is great and although my skin type needs a BHA, using this AHA once a day has really improved my skin. It's more smooth and soft after adding this to my routine. However, my complaint is that with the new packaging they are selling a smaller amount of product for the same price!!! Customer Care Response: Thank you for your review! We are happy to hear this product has worked well for you. The change to more functional, attractive packaging, plus sturdier more stable dent free plastic and rising manufacturing costs resulted in a slight reduction in fill weight. We understand you may be disappointed with this change; however, please know that the Paula's Choice exfoliants remain some of the most affordable, well formulated options the cosmetics industry has to offer. Feel free to compare your options at www.beautypedia.com As you may know our BHA and AHA exfoliants are particularly unique; no other cosmetics line offers as many options in this category-all formulated to provide the impressive results you have experienced. We will certainly note your feedback and pass it along to Paula. Please contact customer care with any questions, we are happy to help!

  13. D. H.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 25, 2012
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wonderful
    • I really am impressed Paula's AHA here. This one goes on silky and absorbs very well. I will definitely be buying this one again. Deb

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

« 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 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.

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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