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Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Breakouts, we’re through. This super-light, matte finish BHA lotion unclogs and shrinks too-big pores, dissolves blackheads.
Item #: 200
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Eczema, Enlarged Pores, Extra Sensitive Skin, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • For All Skin Types
  • Calms redness, builds collagen
  • Contains quickly absorbed 1% salicylic acid

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

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Customer Ratings:

77 out of 100
(Based on 177 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 8 Next »
  1. SUSAN C.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, February 04, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I like this more than the gel version
    • I have used the gel version for years. but felt I should try the lotion. Great difference for me! Spreads evenly, and just in the 4 days using it, my skin is gently exfoliating. I have the slightest bit of peeling that is noticeable in the PM after cleaning my face for bed. The brown spots on my cheeks have already diminished. Need I say more?

  2. M
    Reviewed on Monday, February 03, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I can't live with out this!
    • At first I didn't LOVE it, but after a week of diligent use morning and night after washing my face... I saw a huge difference, my skin was so soft and starting to glow; after a month use my skin was perfect! I will always use this product. I will also add my husband is now using this and loving it as well, he is oily sensitive with pimples. They pimples are clearing up very well and the product is not irritating his skin. My skin is dry combination, sensitive with blackheads.

  3. Daniela C.
    Reviewed on Friday, January 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Excellent Results and a Joy to Use
    • I love this lotion. I was very surprised it is much lighter than the 2% BHA Lotion which was too heavy for my combination skin. Similar names but meant for different skin types. (The 2% BHA Liquid is slightly difficult to use in my opinion so if I want 2% salicylic acid, I use the RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA which also sinks in easily.) I also love the cucumber scent, very refreshing. Not to mention it helps to clear my skin indeed. Thank you so much for your amazing products!

  4. K F.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, January 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Just enough for my sensitive skin
    • I have tried other chemical exfoliants and they all leave my skin terribly irritated and broken out. I have very touchy skin (everything flakes, acne prone, tight, irritated, red, itchy) but I need SOMETHING to exfoliate with since my pores are large and clog-prone. This exfoliant is perfect. I've had ONE instance of irritation in one spot from the samples I ordered, and that was from 2x daily use. I just avoided the area the next day, put on a little moisturizer, and no issues since.

  5. Sarah H
    Reviewed on Saturday, January 18, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Very Irritating
    • I have mild rosacea, and sadly, this product caused my skin to burn and redden terribly. 2 stars because my burning skin felt very soft, lol.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, January 20, 2014

    Hi there! We're sorry to learn the 1% BHA Lotion wasn't a fit for you! Rosacea can be tricky, but we absolutely encourage you to contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  6. M. W.
    Reviewed on Friday, January 03, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Really good!
    • This is my first review of a skin product ever, but I felt I had to write one because it is so good. I really like this lotion because it gives me a silky smooth skin that shines (in a good way). It doesn't irritate my skin, what a lot of other skin products do. I've been using this for over a year and I've noticed that the lotion smells different than it used to. I don't like the new smell (that's why I rated 4 stars) but still love the product! Thanks Paula!

  7. Naomi P.R.
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 19, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    BEST intro exfoliant for combo skin
    • I was pretty scared of exfoliants, since I tried the 2% BHA first and it seemed to irritate. (My skin has since acclimated). But I love this stuff. The left side of my face (which looked like a cystic acne scared, lava-redness warzone) has COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED just from using this consistently for a few weeks. And that was BEFORE I added the Benzoyl Peroxide to my routine. This product alone has made me feel more confident to try some antioxidants and masks!!

  8. Anne W.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, December 17, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Wanted to love it...thought it loved me too...but didn't work out!
    • I first tried this as a sample; at first, it worked fine, so I ordered the entire Hydralight Line. For about 7 weeks, my face was plagued with cystic acne, which I've never had! I couldn't figure it out, and thought it was my skin "purging" itself due to the BHA lotion. I read a review that said this BHA was "hydrating" -- I should have known! It turns out this BHA was causing the cystic acne. I have since replaced the BHA step with the CLEAR 2% solution, and now the whole line works!!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, December 19, 2013

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry this happened, but also wanted to note that your experience with the 1% BHA Lotion is highly unusual. It's a very thin lotion formula and doesn't contain ingredients known to cause acne, cystic or otherwise.

    —Admin
  9. JG
    Reviewed on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Improvement after 2 weeks
    • I'm so glad that this hasn't bothered my skin. After using this once daily for two weeks, I've noticed a definite improvement in my skin. The little white almost hairlike bumps on my nose and chin are reduced to the point that they're only noticeable if I put on heavy makeup. The redness has gone down as well. Now a good layer of tinted moisturizer or sunscreen is enough to smooth almost all of the redness away: I haven't needed concealer all week.

  10. Kathy Z.
    Reviewed on Thursday, November 14, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Love the product, dislike the smell
    • I am a very happy Paula's Choice customer for the past 5 years. I was recently diagnosed with roseaca and am so appreciative for the Recovery line of products which are gentle on my skin. However, I do have to comment on this lotion. Several years ago I bought the 1% BHA lotion and found it to be a wonderful addition to my skin care routine. Just ordered a new bottle of lotion and was shocked at the strong odor of the lotion.....it smells almost rancid. Help Paula!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, December 05, 2013

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry this product's scent wasn't to your liking. Please contact us for alternate BHA exfoliant suggestions.

    —Admin
  11. DAVID L.
    Reviewed on Monday, November 11, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Works well but really smells awful
    • This lotion works nicely as it is not too greasy and the 1% BHA works quite well for even sensitive skin. I got this as a sample and after a week of use my face seems to be clean and clear and also smoother-looking. But the scent, as others have mentioned, is really quite appalling, it smells sort of like a molding piece of cloths. So if you're one of those people that needs to have a nice smell on your face, this is not recommended. Otherwise a nice lotion for acne prone skin

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, November 11, 2013

    Thanks for your review! We're aware thats some customers are put off by the natural scent of this exfoliant, and are working to reformulate along with making other improvements. Stay tuned!

    —Admin
  12. Ali H.
    Reviewed on Sunday, November 10, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Spoiled cucumber?
    • Consistency seemed light and moisturizing, but I couldn't stomach the sour scent. Possibly from the aloe or cucumber? Ordered 3 of these in sample size and all had me checking the expiration date. This was a deal breaker for me. Sticking with BHA clearskin toner.

  13. Hannah S
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 09, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    love this
    • This was the first Paula's choice product that I used and I love it. I started using it every other night to begin with as I didn't want my skin to dry out, then built up to using it everyday. After 4 weeks my skin texture and appearance was dramatically improved and the pores on my nose were noticably smaller. If used correctly this product will work. I still have some stubborn break outs every few weeks but hoping with time for this to decrease

  14. Melinda S.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 08, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love this BHA Lotion!
    • I'm in my 30's but new to the skin system world so I don't have much to compare but I love this part of the routine. The smell is different but I got used to it and it doesn't linger. Actually, I think now when I smell it I get happy emotions because I know I am taking great care of my skin. I am not sure if this is from the exfoliant, but sometimes I get a little flake/peeling going on the skin surface, but it's not all the time. I'm so happy I found Paula's choice.

  15. Mary J
    Reviewed on Friday, October 04, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Don't like scent
    • I liked this lotion for use in the morning under SPF and makeup because it wasn't sticky like the 2% BHA I had been using. I used it for a month and liked the results, but the problem was I just couldn't get used to the unpleasant scent of it. I tried the entire Hydralight system recently and all of the products (except the toner) have this scent. Of all the products in the line this lotion had the strongest odor. I won't be repurchasing.

  16. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, September 13, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Bad Smell
    • Tried a sampler. Don't like it due to the smell.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Sunday, September 29, 2013
    Thank you for your review and we're sorry this product wasn't a fit for you. Paula's Choice does not add perfumes to our products due to their irritant potential for skin--any scent is a natural characteristic of the ingredients used (antioxidants like cucumber, etc.). Please feel free to contact our Customer Care team and they would be happy to help you find an alternative product that will work better for you!
    —Admin
  17. Nicole G.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love It!
    • I have very oily/acne prone skin, so I decided to add this to my night skincare routine (I use the gel version during the day). I've been using Epiduo for a few years now and it hasn't been doing so great lately, so now I put this on first and follow with Epiduo. I swear it's really improved the appearance of my skin along with controlling my acne a lot better! I The only thing I don't like about it is the smell, but it goes away once it dries. It has definitely been a miracle worker to my skin!

  18. Mikayla T.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • This is sensitive enough for my skin that it didn't cause it to dry out. After just ONE use, I saw a huge improvement to my skin's texture and appearance. My dark spots from previous bouts of cystic acne have even started to fade...not to mention, the current cysts I have on my chin were greatly reduced in inflammation and severity. Amazing product!

  19. JY
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 18, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not quite for me
    • I used this product for several months, and finally figured out what in the PC product line wasn't working for my combo/oily/sensitive skin. I didn't see the improvement in texture I was hoping for, and it caused milia in my skin, as well as feeling too heavy. The other gels and liquids felt sticky - the only exfoliant that's worked well is the CLEAR 2% which feels like water, & gives no irritation or milia. Sadly, I am stuck with this lotion but am glad I found a PC exfoliant that works!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Sunday, August 18, 2013
    Thank you for your review and we're sorry this product didn't work out for you (but thrilled you found happiness with another BHA exfoliant). We never want you to feel like you are "stuck" with anything so please contact our Customer Care team for assistance with a return or exchange. They are always happy to help!
    —Admin
  20. Cristina Z. (Montreal, CA)
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 18, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    The dream product
    • I am 29, and I was already convinced that having shiny skin, blackheads, some dry area it is normal for a human being and after trying expensive products I given up and convince my self that: ok, this is the way my skin looks and this is me, there is nothing to do about it. I was so wrong! I have being using PC for a week, I have a new skin, healthy, no blackheads, no dry or red area, it is truly amazing! BHA 1%Lotion is great, no blackheads no dry, the effect is astonishing! Love it-PC!

  21. Michelle R
    Reviewed on Friday, August 16, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This is the best Exfoliator I have ever used!!!
    • I have Rosacea, I have fair sensitive skin with some blackheads and whiteheads around my T-Zone! I have bought the Clarisonic ( which all it did it strip my skin of moisture) and have tried to exfoliate with mechanical exfoliants which also broke me out and made my Rosacea and broken capillaries worse! Since I started using the BHA 1% Lotion that I choose because I knew that the lotion would have some hydrating effect even though it is an exfoliant! My skin looks Flawless!!!!!! Thank you Paula!

  22. DSP
    Reviewed on Friday, August 09, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Not for me
    • While many PC products have transformed my skin for the MUCH better, I'm sorry to say this isn't one of them. After several months of use, this lotion doesn't seem to improve the texture or discolorations in my skin and seems to make me have tiny hard bumps in certain areas. The lotion texture was ok, but didn't seem to soak in completely on my combo/oily skin. I think I've had much better results using the water-light CLEAR 2% BHA exfoliant, and no bumps with that either.

  23. BIANCA j.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 31, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    caused breakouts
    • I have been using the Hydralight products. I included this exfoliant in my routine. I used the product for several months. I consistently had red irritated cystic breakouts. Now that I have stopped using the product, my face seems to be clearing up. I still have some small areas of breakout, but they are no longer inflamed. I hate that I have so much wasted product left! I will continue to use the Hydralight and hopefully my skin will continue to recover.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
    Thank you for your review! We are so sorry to hear this product didn't work out for you. This product does not contain any commonly problematic ingredients but we understand that everyone's skin responds differently. Most often, breakouts experienced after using any product is pure coincidence. The breakouts also may coincide with hormonal fluctuations. That being said we want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase so please feel free to contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a return or exchange. They are always happy to help!
    —Admin
  24. Jodi J.
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 21, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Was hoping this work work for me
    • Be careful and go slow when using - I started to use this every other day at night only but burned my face the next day. It felt as though my face was sunburnt. I was really hoping this would work for me but I guess its too strong. I am using the same cleanser and moisturizer as always so I know it had to be this. The smell was wonderful however - just like fresh cucumbers like others have mentioned and the consistency was very smooth and creamy. Disappointed.

  25. lisa V.
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 07, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    My skin has never looked this good
    • PC has absolutely changed my skin for the better. I will NEVER use anything else again and I am on month 3 of using the Resist line and AHA. I slowly creeped into the BHA and 3 weeks later I use it 2x day and love love it. My blackheads on my nose and chin are disappearing. I find myself stroking my soft skin and I just can't believe still how much money and time I wasted on department store (Lamer). Give this a try and ease into it until your skin gets used to it.

« Prev Page of 8 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant has a lightweight lotion texture that works to reveal smooth, clear skin by exfoliating both the skin's surface and inside the pore. Because BHA helps reshape the pore lining, it unclogs pores and exfoliates the built up layers on the outside of skin while improving cell turnover rate. The result is healthier, smoother skin. This creates a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function, especially if blemishes are a concern. 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 anti-bacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. This elegant formula is non-occlusive, contains no waxy, heavy ingredients and absorbs easily, setting to a soft matte finish.

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 dry skin.

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 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Biochemistry and Pharmacology, June 2007, pages 1,786-1,795; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2006, pages 416–421; 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; Preservatives for Cosmetics, 1996, by David Steinberg, Allured Publishing, pages 39-40; Pain, January 1996, pages 71–82; and Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305–308.

Key Ingredients: caprylic/capric triglyceride, Avena sativa, salicylic acid, allantoin, glycerin, BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

Product Ingredients:

Water, Cetyl Alcohol (thickener/emollient), Butylene Glycol (water-binding agent), PPG-14 Butyl Ether (thickener), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Allantoin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritants), Alteromonas Ferment Extract (water-binding agent), Dimethicone, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-repairing ingredient/emollient), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate (thickeners), PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer (film-forming agent), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (skin-conditioning agent), Polyacrylate-13 (film-forming agent), Polyisobutene (thickener), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol (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.

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.

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, white bumps, 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 something you step up to if and when the need arises or if your skin isn't responding well enough to the 1% concentration.

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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