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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Pores, you are not growing on me. This 2% salicylic acid lotion unclogs and diminishes enlarged pores and reveals younger-looking skin.
Item #: 205
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Eczema, Enlarged Pores, Extra Sensitive Skin, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
  • Dry/Very Dry Skin
  • Formulated for maximum strength with 2% salicylic acid*

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

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Customer Ratings:

76 out of 100
(Based on 257 Reviews)
Page of 11 Next »
  1. Brittney S.
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 26, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    WORKS GREAT! DOESN'T IRRITATE MY SENSITIVE SKIN!
    • I love this product! It has done a great job minimizing/unclogging pores (even in the area around the sides of my nose) and has made my skin noticeably smoother and brighter. I don't have any serious acne, but I do occasionally get pimples or blackheads from makeup . Since I started using this, I have had nothing of the sort. If a small pimple does rise to the surface, I just dab this on top & it goes away. I added it to the Resist Retinal Serum and Moisture Boost Hydratinng Tx Cream. Awesome!

  2. Gia M.
    Reviewed on Friday, October 17, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    NOT FOR ME
    • Did nothing for me, my pores DID NOT minimized and it makes my skin kind of itchy, I did used it for about 4weeks giving it a chance to "adapt to my skin" NO LUCK, want to send it back since I cant use it.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry this didn't work for you and welcome your return. If you need assistance returning an item, click here.

    —Admin
  3. Stephanie H.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Makes skin nice & soft
    • This product's failure for me is due to my incorrect assumption that I had dry skin, but I actually had a damaged acid mantle. So the blame is all mine, I'll admit. It's a good product, but better suited for dry/very dry skin. I haven't seen a significant reduction in blackheads/whiteheads after a month's use, but again: my fault, not the product's. I will continue to use until I receive PC's 2%BHA liquid instead. If you have dry skin (for sure), get this product. I'm sure you'll love it

  4. Jacqueline C.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Works without drying my skin out!
    • I have dehydrated, combination skin in a really dry climate, and this product has smoothed out blackheads and closed comedones that I have had for years. The clogged pores on my nose and forehead are definitely diminished (without the flaking I've had with all the other products I've tried) and my skin looks brighter. As long as I follow with a moisturizer I don't have any tightness or flaking. The 'purge' only lasted a few weeks. Going to try the BHA 9 next!

  5. Dusty D
    Reviewed on Monday, September 01, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    GOOD AND BAD.
    • I didn't know that this BHA 2% lotion had alcahol in it!?? You know, I thought Paulas choice was so against alcahol and irritating ingredients in your skin care? What gives? I am not sure I will be using this anymore. I'm disappointed.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, September 03, 2014

    Hi there! We're against the bad alcohols used in some skin-care products, not the good ones, which are collectively known as fatty alcohols, which is what this product contains. More info here.

    —Admin
  6. Christina E.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great, but watch out for over-moisturizing!
    • I tried BHA (I usually use AHA), because I had a small breakout. I think I was over-moisturizing. I have combo skin, but on the dry side, so it's hard to strike a balance. Because of my dryness, I use either Moisture Boost or Skin Recovery cream. Covering this BHA lotion with those moisturizers was just too much, so I decided to go with the 2% liquid, which worked nicely. If you usually use a lighter moisturizer, this will likely work for you. Also leaves a nice matte finish!

  7. Jude2
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 24, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    IDEAL SOLUTION!!
    • Strange tiny white bumps on my chin that appear to be whiteheads or flaky skin at the base of tiny hairs: Esthetician said they were a combination of oil and dry skin cells. Tried lots of products that didn't work. THIS LOTION WORKS--RIGHT AWAY! I had a sample I was hesitant to use it as lotions usually make me break out. NO BREAKOUTS, NO IRRITATION! Had a tiny bit of flaking, which only lasted a day. I recommend starting out using sparingly every other day. I'm ordering more!

  8. Beth
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    best product I've tried so far
    • I've been using this lotion for about a year now (thanks to Wayne Goss for recommending it!). I'd never even heard of BHA, but gave it a try. My skin has calmed down considerably as a result of using this exfoliant and I will continue to use it. Very pleased with the result. It works without drying out my skin like other acne lotions I've tried. Just one tip: be careful when applying that you don't get it on or near your lips, as it can be mildly irritating to the skin there, I've found.

  9. Lianne Y
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Holy Grail Status!
    • WOW, this product saved my life. For so many years, I've been lead to believe that I'm a genetic freakshow because I have both atopic AND acne-prone skin at the same time. Paula's Choice saved my life because this product is designed for my exact skin type. I am forever thankful because modern skincare advertising tells me that my skin type should not exist, and I finally found a product that accommodates both issues. If you have both dry and acne-prone skin, give this a try.

  10. Anna Mary W.
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 20, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    GREAT lotion
    • I didn't like the topical options that came with the acne formulas Paula has created. However, I tried this product as a sample and loved it! It really helped clear up my tricky areas. Since I am using an exfoliant with BHA and am pregnant I am not adding this to my regimen until after I deliver (I'm nervous about using too much BHA--though it's probably harmless). Thankfully pregnancy has cleared up my skin too :) I can't wait to add this into my daily routine, though.

  11. Marcela
    Reviewed on Sunday, June 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for Acne!!!
    • I have been dealing with low/moderate acne in cheeks for almost 10 years now I'm in my thirties. I have tried too many things and have never worked. I have been using this lotion for 3 months already and it's the only thing that has helped me get rid of my acne. However, Im not gonna lie that I have had maybe one pimple a month or none. This is a miracle for me because I was use to break out every month and some of them left me scars. It does work for my skin I really recommend it!

  12. Anika
    Reviewed on Monday, June 09, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Makes my skin GLOW!
    • I love this stuff! Its just the right amount of daily (or every other day) exfoliation to keep my skin looking fresh and clear. I get less breakouts when I am using this daily. Also give my skin a pretty glow. I definitely recommend!

  13. Robin C
    Reviewed on Saturday, June 07, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    FINALLY!
    • I have been using PC products for years. I thought I needed AHA exfolients because I do have some sun damage, and so I used them for awhile but over the years I have found the AHA to be too harsh for my skin. I am 58 and have Northern European very fair and sensitive skin, prone to redness and rosacea. My dermatologist took me off of all AHAs and I used nothing for awhile. Then I discovered Paula's 2% BHA, hoping it might help with the sensitivity and redness. BINGO! Perfection.

  14. Amanda C.
    Reviewed on Sunday, June 01, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Shrunk My Pores!
    • This lightweight lotion is a miracle worker on my face! After a few weeks of use, I have noticed that my pores have shrunk. I only need to use one pump to cover my whole face, awesome! It rubs in well, sinks right in, and it works wonders! I only use this once a day (AM) also. I love this stuff! It does not cause any redness or irritation to my face; no flakes either! My face never looks oily or greasy after using this or any of the Skin Recovery line products.

  15. Susan A
    Reviewed on Saturday, May 31, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good stuff & improving my skin
    • I have rosacea with very fair, very dry skin. My skin is dry from taking Accutane in my 20s. I've seen improvement in the redness from my rosacea since I've been using this product. I've been using it in the morning, and it's a little difficult to blend makeup over it, even if I put Skin Recovery Moisturizer over it. I think I'll try using it at night although I usually use my Metrogel at night. I'd like to see a smoother texture on this product, so only 4 stars.

  16. Sarah I.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Don't think this is for me
    • A first time Paula's choice customer and so far really happy with my Clear cleanser, Moisture Boost Toner and moisturizer. However, the BHA lotion is making me break out and I know this is the culprit since I am only applying it to my nose, upper lip and foreheaed and these are the areas where I NEVER break out. I just really wanted to love this. My black heads aren't disappearing either and it has been two weeks...

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, May 29, 2014

    Hi Sarah! We would recommend considering one of our liquid BHAs (or treating with our RESIST 4% BHA Foam), as the rich formula of the 2% BHA Lotion may be too much for you! Please contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  17. Linda B.
    Reviewed on Sunday, May 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Transformation of mature skin and adult breakouts
    • Every version of Paula's Choice BHA products has helped me with millia, blackheads, redness, and even cystic acne. I am now 65 and still have these issues, so I recommend BHA to everyone! Now my breakouts are much, much less frequent. Even the the occasional millia (whiteheads) resolve themselves with time. It was pretty exciting recently when the only one on my face came off when I was applying the BHA!! Plus, my facialist now has to do virtually NO extractions when I go for a facial.

  18. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Sadly no miracle for me
    • Look, it's a great product for smoothing your complexion. But for me (after a year), it hasn't worked miracles - I still have blackheads everywhere. This is true even with the BHA9. The fact is, if your skin suffers from inflammation or barrier damage or just sheds cells too fast the best that BHA can do is control/limit the damage - it cannot fix the underlying problem.

  19. claudia
    Reviewed on Thursday, May 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    CBrown
    • This is the most amazing miracle product! I have struggled for years with black heads and enlarged pores. Having EXTREMELY sensitive skin, makes it very difficult to find products that work and don't cause an allergic reaction. From the first this product I noticed my pores shrink drastically and the black heads gone. I have been using it for about 2 months and my skin looks great! I am most happy because it has not irritated my skin in anyway! Thank you for your amazing products!!

  20. Terrie O
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great product but the pump mechanism doesn't dispense the last few tablespoons of lotion
    • This product is a miracle worker , you will notice a difference after 24 hours. It's amazing, thank you Paula and her team for creating this superior product. The problem is the packaging, once you get down to the bottom with a few tablespoons of lotion left the pump doesn't work anymore. You only need a small amount of product so lotion stuck at the bottom could last a month using it everyday. I have to stick a q-tip in the bottle to get the product out twice a day for a month until it's done.

  21. JENNIFER M.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Amazing!
    • I have dry skin but this BHA lotion does a fantastic job of exfoliating and keeping my skin moisturized. i loved the BHA 2% liquid, but this really helps during the dryer months. I use this almost everyday and have had no problems with it! LOVE IT!

  22. Mark G.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, May 06, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Too Heavy
    • I like the 1% BHA lotion, so I thought I'd see if I could handle the 2% BHA lotion, assuming that it was just a stronger version of the 1%. Boy was I wrong. The 2% BHA lotion is a vastly different product. The 2% BHA lotion looks and feels like a typical sunscreen, thick and white. It goes on like sunscreen, and requires a bit of extra rubbing to get rid of its white appearance. It actually looks and feels kind of greasy on my face and led to pimples for me and my girlfriend. No bueno.

  23. CW
    Reviewed on Thursday, March 27, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Life Changing for Acne Sufferers with Dry Skin!
    • Developing horrific adult acne is really devastating & embarrassing. The only thing worse than battling acne, is battling super dry skin with acne. I've spent more money on acne products & dermatologists than I care to admit. NOTHING compares to the BHA lotion... It has seriously changed my life! Instantly reduces redness & diminishes breakouts overnight while leaving my skin smooth & hydrated. Don't give up on BHA, you just have to find the right strength & formula for your skin type.

  24. SLW
    Reviewed on Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Works beautifully!!!
    • I have been using Paula's Choice products for a few years now and love them. Everyone's skin is different, and not every product works for all skin types. My skin tends to be dry and a bit oily at the same time. This product works beautifully to exfoliate, but not dry out my skin. After using it everyday for one week, my pores are noticeably smaller and my skin is clear and evenly toned. My skin has no problem absorbing this lotion. Others have stated that this was a problem for them.

  25. Dan F.
    Reviewed on Monday, March 03, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Nice Product!
    • This was a great solution for my dry winter skin. I have always used the 2% liquid but this year my skin was particularly dry so I switched to the lotion. It definitely doesn't absorb as well as the liquid (or even gel) but I had nice results without drying out my skin.

Page of 11 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant moisturizes as it exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. This creates a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function, leading to healthier skin. There is a great deal of research indicating that BHA (beta hydroxy acid) increases collagen production and drastically smooths the surface of skin. Additionally, BHA has antibacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. The lush texture of the 2% BHA Lotion makes skin feel satiny soft, while potent anti-irritants help calm a reddened, blotchy complexion.

This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free with a pH range of 3.2-3.8. Every Paula's Choice BHA product is formulated with additional soothing agents.

Who is this product for?
All skin types may use this product, but the texture is especially suited for those with normal to very dry skin prone to blemishes.

NOTE: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid).

Sources to support the claims made for SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Lotion EXFOLIANT

International Immunopharmacology, August 2009, pages 1,126–1,130; British Journal of Dermatology, August 2007, pages 295–300; Journal of Cosmetic Science, November-December 2004, pages 519-531; Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2002, pages 1531–1532; Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, January 2002, pages 137–142; Archives of Dermatology, November 2000, pages 1390–1395; Pain, January 1996, pages 71–82; and Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305–308.

Key Ingredients: vitamin E, salicylic acid, willow herb, BHA (beta hydroxy acid), green tea, sweet almond oil, squalane, grape seed oil, beta-glucan

Product Ingredients:

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol (thickener), Squalane (emollient), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate (thickeners), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Epilobium Angustifolium (Willowherb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (anti-irritant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea)Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil (antioxidant plant oil), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (non-fragrant plant oil), Beta Glucan (antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Panthenol (water-binding agent), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (emulsifier), Xanthan Gum (thickener), Sodium Citrate (pH adjuster), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Acacia Senegal Gum, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum (thickeners), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Ethylhexyglycerin (skin conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate (preservatives).

DIRECTIONS: Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime-sized amount over the entire face, including the eyes (avoid the lower lash line and eyelids). Do not rinse. For daytime, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater.

Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skincare Routine article.

What's the difference between AHA and BHA exfoliants? Do I need both?

When properly formulated, both AHAs and BHA are brilliant options for exfoliating the surface of skin. Both AHA and BHA work to reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and firm skin but each has its special qualities you'll want to consider when deciding which one to use:

  • AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin and have the added benefit of also improving moisture content. 
  •  BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps because BHA can get through the oil that's clogging your pores, normalizing the lining of the misshapen pore that contributes to acne.
  • BHA has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. Those are two more reasons to use a BHA exfoliant if you have acne or sensitive, reddened skin.
  • BHA is preferred for those struggling with rosacea. Not everyone with rosacea can tolerate an exfoliant, but it is wise to experiment with a BHA product to see how your rosacea responds.

If your skin is sun-damaged and you're also struggling with acne or clogged pores, add a BHA product to your routine.

If you'd like to use an AHA and BHA at the same time, that is an option, though not really necessary. Some people find they work well when they're applied at the same time, but if you want to give this a try it is best to apply them separately, one during the day and one in the evening.

How do I use an AHA or BHA exfoliant?

  • You can apply an AHA or BHA product once or twice a day.
  • You can also apply either of these around the eye area but not on the eyelid or directly under the eye.
  • Apply the AHA or BHA product after your face is cleansed and after your toner has dried.
  • Once the AHA or BHA has been absorbed, you can apply any other product in your routine, such as moisturizer, serum, eye cream, sunscreen, and/or foundation.
  • If you're using a topical prescription product such as Renova, other retinoids, or any of the topical prescription products for rosacea, apply the BHA or AHA first.

What strength of BHA should I use? Will a higher concentration provide better and faster results?

Which BHA strength you opt to use should be based on your skin type and the stubbornness (or severity) of your acne or blackheads. The 1% BHA strength is a great starting point to see how using a pH-correct BHA can improve the skin's condition. The 2% concentrations can be a next level to see how that benefits skin.

What makes the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant different from the 2% BHA Gel and Liquid?

The primary difference is texture. The 2% BHA Lotion is a lightweight cream, the 2% BHA Gel has a silky gel texture and the 2% BHA Liquid has a thin, toner-like consistency that's best applied to a cotton pad. All of them are formulated to provide the same key benefits to your skin. Which one to choose is a matter of personal preference and your skin type.

Your AHA (glycolic acid) products have a higher percentage than your BHA (salicylic acid) products. Does this mean AHA is a stronger exfoliant?

AHA products are most effective at a 5% to 10% concentration and BHA at 1% to 2% concentration. Think about it like making bread, the amount of yeast you need is tiny in comparison to the amount of flour you use but equally important to get the results you want. The percentage of effectiveness varies depending on the ingredient. Rest assured that the BHA products are not any less effective due to lower concentrations of the exfoliant.

At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my BHA exfoliant again?

First, we urge you to follow the post-procedure instructions your doctor or nurse provided. If nothing was mentioned about when to resume use of a BHA exfoliant, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to begin using your BHA again as soon as possible. Or, if your skin seems extra-sensitive, you may want to wait and apply the BHA exfoliant a few days post-procedure. Salicylic acid is an excellent anti-inflammatory ingredient that can enhance skin's natural healing process as it works to reduce post-procedure redness.

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