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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Shrink enlarged pores with this 2% liquid salicylic acid leave-on exfoliant that removes old skin cells both on the skin's surface and inside the pore.
Item #: 201
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Keratosis Pilaris, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • For All Skin Types
  • Creates radiant, even-toned skin
  • Reduces redness & builds collagen
  • Unclogs & diminishes enlarged pores

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

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Customer Ratings:

85 out of 100
(Based on 638 Reviews)
Page of 26 Next »
  1. Sophia S.
    Reviewed on Thursday, November 13, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I'm impressed.
    • I only used PC's 2% BHA for 3 days (2x daily), and I'm already seeing positive result! I got this group of acne on my forehead a month ago after trying a skin lotion that had very strong fragrance for only 1x. It kept fighting to come back. I never experienced acne like this before. Now it's finally started to really disappear. I'm not so worried about the holiday season approaching anymore. I know it's still too early to give it a fair review, but I just feel overjoyed! Thank you Paula!

  2. AS
    Reviewed on Monday, November 10, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Finishing trial size, see a big difference!
    • I was graced with adult acne and erupted in closed comedones (CCs) around my jaw/mouth. They would grow into big papules and left some pretty bad PIH. My usual 5% BP did nothing and they were spreading! I started using PC 2% BHA liquid nightly for the past few months. All my CCs from the outset have flattened! I still get 1 or 2 new bumps/month but they go away a lot faster now. I will definitely keep using the BHA, and will be adding PC 8% AHA gel to fade the PIH (will review this combo soon!)

  3. Laura H
    Reviewed on Friday, October 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    This is awesome for pores!
    • I love this product for my large congested pores. It has worked wonders!! I also have dry skin and since this is a liquid and not a gel or cream, I am comfortable layering my moisturizers over it. Seriously, the price is amazing for such a large generous size. Before I found this BHA liquid, I was using Blue Plasma, just OK -but expensive and smelly. This is superior for treatment of pores in every way!!

  4. Gigi G.
    Reviewed on Thursday, October 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    best best best game changer and keeper
    • That is a product that is essential to me. I use it every other night in combination with retinol and wow! Smooths skin! It so much better than physical exfoliation for my sensitive skin. Thank you for this perfectly formulated product with the right texture. On the minus side, it is a bit pricey but still better than any high end exfoliator out there. I have to add that Paula is great about her promos. THANK YOU for that and the wealth of knowledge you are bringing to us :-)

  5. Happy Customer
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    If you can't tolerate retinols, give this a try.
    • No matter what strength or type of retinol product I tried, it made my face raw and my pores look huge. I ordered the sample size of BHA for blackheads on my nose. Hesitantly, I went ahead and applied it all over my face. The first time, I was a little red, so I used it every other day for a week or so. Now I use it every night with zero irritation. My skin is looking softer and smoother after only a couple of weeks, and much to my surprise and delight, my pores are almost invisible!

  6. Alexis L.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    LOVE THIS PRODUCT!!!!
    • I have been using this product for about 6 months and it is the best product ever. I have large blackheads on my nose and cheeks and the first time I used this product I noticed a reduction in the appearance of them immediately. I have very sensitive skin and it does not irritate it. I have been getting compliments left right. Please don't ever stop making this product, there is no other like it!!!!

  7. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Staple Item
    • Been using for six months and can't imagine life without it! I have adult acne and even though I use Retin-A daily, this has helped me just as much. I use this in the AM. I'm still on my original bottle, so you really get your dollar's worth. I just put a few drops onto my palms instead of using a cotton pad. I did have mild purging at first, but so worth it - just stick with it! Noticeable difference in pores and fine lines in eye area. Very highly recommend!

  8. Gabii, B
    Reviewed on Monday, October 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Absolutely Amazing
    • I've had chemical peels, extractions, facials, and spent more than I'd like to admit on cremes, serums, lotions, and the lot attempting to fix my closed comedones and minor acne breakouts. Not only has the 2% BHA completely eliminated my closed comedones and significantly reduced the prevalence of any blemishes, the sebacious filaments on my nose are drastically less visible, as well! I will certainly be repurchasing in the future. Thank you SO much, Paula's Choice!!

  9. Hannah E
    Reviewed on Monday, October 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Can't live without this!
    • I love this product! It has lasting results and I absolutely can't live without it. If I skip a couple days without using it I notice a big difference in my skin. The appearance if my pores diminishes greatly too!

  10. Peter N.
    Reviewed on Saturday, October 25, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great product.. very oily skin consider lighter texture
    • I love how well this product keep my pores clean and skin exfoliated. Before I knew how bad SD alcohol wrecked the skin, I would have a reddened and tight complexion with my old exfoliator. I definitely see and feel smoother skin with glowing clarity after two weeks. I'm glad that this has a reasonable price tag as well -- this bottle should last me a couple months and more with daily use. However, I tend to get a greasy build-up after a while, due to my very oily skin.

  11. Kristin M.
    Reviewed on Friday, October 24, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Thumbs up!
    • I've been using this accompanied with the CLEAR cleanser and other products, and my skin s gradually getting better!! Would definitly recommend it! :)

  12. Brian
    Reviewed on Thursday, October 23, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Something that actually works!
    • I have tried everything from Retin-a (ended up giving me orange peel textured skin), vitamin c serums to high strength chemical peels and was only left with dry irritated skin with more breakouts. I'm not sure why but this lower strength exfoliant works MUCH better with my skin. I also use a waterproof japanese sunscreen daily and this product has prevented any breakouts that would've been caused by the sunscreen which Im sure of. Its also VERY effective on active breakouts. Awesome product!

  13. Kristin M.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Thumbs up!
    • I've been using this accompanied with the CLEAR cleanser and other products, and my skin s gradually getting better!! Would definitly recommend it! :) One question though. Would this be a substitute for the "Clear Extra Strength anti-redness exfoliating solution"? Do they do approximately the same thing, or do I need to use both? Or if not.. which one should I use, if I sometimes have acne break-outs and other times not?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Our Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is identical to our Clear Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid. You do not need both exfoliants; however, you may wish to alternate between a 2% and perhaps a 1% strength of BHA exfoliant, or you may find alternating between a BHA and AHA (glycolic acid) exfoliant works best. These are NOT musts, just suggestions.

    —Admin
  14. Kristin M.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Thumbs up!
    • I've been using this accompanied with the CLEAR cleanser and other products, and my skin s gradually getting better!! Would definitly recommend it! :)

  15. Katherine Y
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 19, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    MIRACLE IN A BOTTLE
    • I wish someone told me about Paula when I was 12. I could tell after 24 hours that this gel was different than anything I've ever used. I use Cerave foaming wash before this gel and I use the 8% AHA at night. I've been struggling with acne for years and just three days of using Paula's Choice has made a HUGE difference.

  16. Yasmin
    Reviewed on Thursday, October 16, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good exfoliant
    • I really like this exfoliant. It evens out skin tones, reduces mild blemishes and keeps skin smooth, but I do still suffer from blemishes and clogged pores so I wouldent say it makes a huge difference, but still a staple in my regime, I can't see myself not using it! If you have acne I don't think it will get rid of it completely but it will help a little because of the exfoliating action, this combined with other treatments can make a difference though.

  17. Nancy P
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    A Game Changer
    • I believe that this was my first PC skin care product -- way back when. I had been using harsh anti-blemish 'lotions and potions' that did nothing. This was the product that delivered. I still had the occasional breakout once a month, but my skin was clearer. And prettier. I was a quite young woman when I started with this and it was a game changer with respect to my skin care regimen and to my self-confidence. I now use the Resist Pore Refining BHA 2% -- I simply prefer the consistency.

  18. Naomi B
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Didn't really do much for me
    • I'm sorry to say I didn't find it as miraculous as others here did and it didn't visibly shrink my pores or calm down other minor skin conditions I have. I'll give it three stars as it didn't irritate my skin at all and might have done some good although I can't really tell after several months of use.

  19. KATHERINE D.
    Reviewed on Monday, October 06, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Super happy, got my skin back.
    • I have hormonal cystic acne and was checking out the products and reading reviews when I saw that this had such high ratings for this problem.Since I have been using Paula's products from the beginning I went to my drawer where I keep products that I haven't used in a while. Lo and behold there it was all this time just waiting for me to rediscover it. So I did. There was a small change after the first use and it has gotten better each day. Cystic acne gone. Skin tone evened out.

  20. Heather F.
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 05, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good for sensitive skin!
    • I have very sensitive, dry, acne-prone skin. While living in a desert, I found that nightly use of this exfoliant (in conjunction with a sensitive cleanser/moisturizer) left my skin radiant and slowly seemed to be reducing my adult acne (My dermatologist and I have pretty much tried it all. ANY reduction in painful cystic acne is fantastic!). Now that I live in a rainforest, this makes my freshly-washed face feel sticky and slimy all night. I guess the formula doesn't mesh well with humidity.

  21. Sara, D
    Reviewed on Saturday, October 04, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Holy Grail
    • I researched for weeks for a solution to my acne. I read scientific articles, watched dozens of videos, spent 100s on products that made my skin worse; I even took ph strips with me product hunting. I use this everyday (tried twice and ended up with flaky skin). It did not happen overnight but by month three my skin is clear, not even a residual scar! I've told everyone! I get compliments on my skin! People are shocked when they learn how bad my acne was. Thank you Paula's Choice!

  22. L N
    Reviewed on Saturday, October 04, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Transformed my skin
    • I have been using this product since mid August, along with the Resist BHA 9 serum and Super Booster just at night and have noticed that my skin is smoother, the skin on my chin is calmer and when I do get a breakout it clears up faster. My skin also seems more radiant and even toned. I love Paula's Choice products as it has done amazing things for my skin! I just placed an order for more items as I never want to be without my products. This product has truly transformed my skin.

  23. Shannon B.
    Reviewed on Monday, September 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    AmaZing ProduCt!
    • Struggled for years, Cant Thank you Enuff Miss Paula!

  24. Pierre M
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 27, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    New user
    • I got the 2% BHA liquid about 3 days ago and been using it for 3 days now and I got pimples everywhere the next morning of the 1st time I use it and seems like there's new pimples everyday.. Now I've read articles about some people broke out after using this BHA and that it starts to clear up after a few weeks and I'm just wondering if that will happen to me? And also can I use the 2% BHA lotion after the 2% BHA liquid?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, October 06, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Please contact us to discuss your concerns.

    —Admin
  25. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, September 26, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    A little disappointed
    • I bought this about a month ago to treat my large pores and small bumps (sebaceous filaments) on my forehead, nose and chin. After using it nightly (sometimes in the morning too) for a month, I have yet to see much improvement in my skin. It seemed to bring the sebaceous filaments more to the surface, making them slightly easier to extract, but now they seem even more visible. Overall my skin feels smoother, but I do suffer the occasional pimple now and my pores are still clogged up.

Page of 26 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant rapidly exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. The result is a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function which leads 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 lightweight, non-occlusive formula allows for a faster and deeper exfoliation rate than our gel or lotion BHA products, so it's an ideal choice for stubborn clogged pores or blackheads.

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 oily or combination skin, stubborn blackheads, and blemish-prone skin. It can also be used regularly to eliminate calluses on feet, elbows and knees.

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 Liquid exfoliant

International Immunopharmacology, August 2009, pages 1,126–1,130; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2007, pages 124-135; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2006, pages 416–421; 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; Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, volume 175, issue 1, pages 76–82; Preservatives for Cosmetics, 2006, 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: methylpropanediol, salicylic acid, green tea, BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

Product Ingredients:

Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Polysorbate-20 (solubolizing agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Lightly soak a cotton pad and apply over the entire face, including the eye area (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 the 2% BHA Liquid and the 2% BHA Gel?

First, texture: One is a fluid with a toner-like consistency, the other is a thicker, clear gel. Both contain the same amount of salicylic acid, though the 2% BHA Liquid contains an ingredient that allows the salicylic acid to penetrate faster and further. With the 2% BHA Gel formula, you're getting a slower release of salicylic acid. Both are great options for treating acne, blackheads, and signs of aging. Both are suitable for all skin types but best for normal to oily or combination skin.

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.

The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant feels sticky and kind of greasy on my face! Why is that?

If the BHA is feeling sticky, you are probably using too much product. The average amount necessary for facial application of the 2% BHA is less than the size of a dime. The product is best applied in a thin layer, and has great spreading properties. The "greasy" feel can be attributed to the high levels of glycol in this product (glycol helps the BHA penetrate the surface layers of skin and also works as a water-binding agent). If you live in a humid, moist climate, this effect will be more pronounced and, if too much product is used, can create a "greasy" feel on the skin. Many customers have remarked how silky-soft their skin is as a result of using the 2% BHA Liquid, and that is the result of the humectants working with the BHA to exfoliate and hydrate the skin.

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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