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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 623 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 25 Next »
  1. Sherry D.
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 30, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Game Changer in my Skincare Routine
    • This product changed a LOT for me. Even when I was using it with a not-so-great skincare regimen, it helped to clear up a lot of my acne. I have red rosacea type skin and whenever I use this at night, I wake up with reduced blemishes and no redness. Which is saying something, because the minute water touches my face - even room temperature, it just flares up again. But at least I know this stuff is fighting to reduce it. :) I have been using this for years now and would not go without.

  2. AURA B.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 29, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Effective!
    • Very pleased with the results of using this product! I have combination skin and it helps to refine the texture and keep the appearance of my pores in check. It's not a miracle worker, but it is helpful, and I got best results when I started using it after a series of microderabrasion. The only thing I don't love is how it temporarily feels on my skin (sort of like a slick film that takes a while to soak in), but since I see results, it's worth overlooking this little detail.

  3. J.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective on my sensitive, acneic ski
    • My acneic skin has improved immensely since I started using this product coupled with PC's Clear Regular Strength Acne Treatment. My breakouts are fewer, and any remaining blemishes aren't inflamed unlike before. This product hasn't aggravated my eczema either. It took a little experimentation to work into my skincare, but it's so effective that I've been able pare down on products. I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective.

  4. J.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 28, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective on my sensitive, acneic ski
    • My acneic skin has improved immensely since I started using this product coupled with PC's Clear Regular Strength Acne Treatment. My breakouts are fewer, and any remaining blemishes aren't inflamed unlike before. This product hasn't aggravated my eczema, either. It took a little experimentation to work into my skincare, but it's so effective that I've been able pare down on products. I recommend and will repurchase this product. It is gentle and effective.

  5. Kirsten P.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I wish I had started using this ten years ago!!!
    • I've suffered with oily, acne-prone skin for over 20 years. Several weeks ago, I took a leap of faith and bought the BHA 2%, along with the Skin Balancing toner and antioxidant serum. WOW. Within a few days my enlarged pores looked more refined, dozens of blackheads disappeared, and my skin was noticeably smoother, clearer, and less oily! My skin continues to improve and I've added a slew of other PC products to my skin regimen. I will never use another skincare line again!!

  6. A. Michele
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best Product EVER!
    • I have been using this product for YEARS, along with a variety of other PC products (retinol serums, BHA, AHA, retinol body treatments, sunscreens, etc) and I will say that this products is the best exfoliator I've ever used. I used to use physical exfoliators/cleansers and they broke me out. Once I switched to this, my skin as never been better. My skin is feels soft and looks firm; I can't remember the last time I had a blackhead. This stuff with a retinol and good SPF does amazing things.

  7. Christina E.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Balancing for combo skin on that is on the dry side
    • My skin is what I call "Crazy Combination" - dry & flaky, but a little oily on T zone AND I have occasional breakouts. I can't use lines for combo skin, bcuz they dry me out, & I didn't think I needed BHA because of my dryness. Using AHA only, I was breaking out more. So I used this for a few nights, & found the bumps, pimples and redness gone almost immediately. Also healing old red marks nicely! I'll stick to my AHA routine & use this weekly to keep things in balance. Love!

  8. Jill K.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wow what a difference!
    • I have acne prone skin and have always avoided any products with salicylic acid because they never worked for me. This BHA product really works though. Even after only using for a few days I notice a big difference in my skin. I alternate this with AHA at night and my skin has never looked better! I am very impressed with Paula's products.

  9. JM
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 21, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Does not work :(
    • This product has so many great reviews so I was excited to try it. I've been using it everyday for a month now and I hoped it would remove the little under-the-skin bumps on my forehead but this exfoliating liquid didn't do anything for me. Disappointed.

  10. sharon f
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    the best so far
    • I bought this by mistake i had been using the clear bha , the resist seemed to work better, but this really made my skin texture smooth. i use this the light anioxident serum and any moisturizer for normal to dry skin and my face has never looked this good. No more clogged pores . i am 58 and need more moisture but it clogs my pores this combo works great.

  11. chrisy
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Works well, but be patient
    • I've been using this exfoliator for ~6 months now and can say yes! There has been improvement. Certainly. I found this exfoliator evened out my skin tone; it's brighter now, less red/dark spots. There was no irritation, breakouts or anything. Note: It takes time. Don't expect result immediately, and start of with a quite small amount to prevent irritation, dryness,etc...as your skin needs to adjust to the composition of this (currently I use a pea size amount). Would recommend.

  12. lynn E.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    disappointed
    • Very disappointed. I've been using this product for about 3 weeks and have not seen any change in pore size. .in fact no charge in my skin at all. For all the claims make about this product I should have seen some change but nothing.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We encourage you to contact us to discuss your routine, as one product cannot do it all. You're also welcome to return the product to us for a refund or exchange. We're happy to help tailor a routine to your skin type and concerns.

    —Admin
  13. Wendy
    Reviewed on Monday, August 18, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Why doesn't this work?
    • I was using this for my hormonal acne (as well as eating healthy, taking fish oil, etc.) and not only did it not help acne, I also developed keratosis pilaris on my cheeks after a few months. This seems especially raw, since it's supposed to help AGAINST keratosis pilaris! I don't understand why this happened when it works for so many others. I stopped using this product a few months ago and still have my KP :( My skin (the rest at least) did feel soft, as a saving grace. What do I do now?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We suspect salicylic acid (BHA) isn't compatible with your skin, and suggest you exchange this exfoliant for an AHA product, which may be a better bet for your particular skin. Please contact us to arrange this.

    —Admin
  14. AC
    Reviewed on Friday, August 15, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Do I still need to use other exfoliate my skin?
    • I have only been using this product for 5 days. I was wondering if I still need to exfoliate my skin with other exoliator? I haven't seen a big change with my skin, but my skin is breaking out like crazy, I have a lot of red dots, but after reading the reviews of others, I am assuming it is this: "what's much more likely is that the exfoliation this BHA product provides loosened clogs deeper in the pore lining, causing them to surface all at once, thus resulting in more breakouts"?

  15. Shaela D.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 14, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    One of my favorite PC products.
    • I have been using this for 2 months now, twice a day, and I have to say that it was the best purchase I have made. It took about 2-3 weeks to see good true results, so don't expect to use it in 1 week and get miracles. It takes time, but it's well worth it. After applying, wait 15-20 minutes before continuing your routine - it helps. I have noticed a lot of improvement in my pores, texture of my skin, and it really helps my acne steer clear from showing. I will always keep this in my routine.

  16. Annie, T
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great for cystic acne
    • This was great my pimples and cystic acne, but it didnt help my blackhead at all. I used this for 4 months, and it was a life saver for my skin. I was suffering from pretty bad, consistent break out on one cheek, and cystic acne on another. After I started using this, the breakout decreased significantly. However, no significant change on my blackhead though. This has more moisture than the clear strength one, and can be oily layering under moisturizer.

  17. Elizabeth m.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 11, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Tightens skin
    • I've only been using this product for a week so I'm still not certain how effective it is, but it noticeably gives me a glow and tightens my skin, leaving it softer. I hate my large pores and hope this will improve their appearance, too early to say just yet. It has surfaced some blackheads which I expected, and of course this doesn't look great, but I still have blackheads. Not sure how long is a realistic time frame to see a reduction.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, August 11, 2014

    Thanks for your review! Depending on how stubborn the blackheads are and how long they've been forming, it can take several weeks of consistent (daily) use to eliminate them, and even then you may need to see an esthetician for extractions, after which point the BHA exfoliant will work to keep the extracted pores clear, so no new blackheads form.

    —Admin
  18. Terrie O.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Supreme Results - You won't be dissapointed
    • You will see noticable results within 1 application. The liquid formula is stronger than the lotion, I didn't notice any change for a couple of weeks using the BHA 2% Lotion, therefore I would recommend the liquid. It does leave your skin feeling a bit tight so you need to use a moisturizer over this product. This product did cause a slight reddening of the face, so I started using it once a day instead of twice a day and it went away.

  19. Terrie O.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Moisturizing Exfoilant
    • This product does not leave my skin too oily or dry, it's perfect for night time or morning underneath an SPF. This product is good for keeping pimples from forming but didn't help much in clearing up exsisting pimples whatsoever. I recommend the BHA 2% liquid over the lotion for better results in clearning up acne.

  20. Vanessa P
    Reviewed on Friday, August 08, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Incredible Results
    • I received this product as a sample and it was my first time ever trying or hearing about BHA. I was hesitant of using it on my sensitive skin but I'm so glad that I did! I have been using this product for the past three nights and I see a huge difference already! The blackheads on my nose are diminishing, the large pores on my cheeks are getting smaller, and my skin has never been softer. I hope that over time it reduces my redness and under the skin bumps.

  21. Liz
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Outstanding!
    • Wow! I've never used a BHA this good before. It works beautifully despite my dry and sensitive skin. I've only been using it for two weeks and I don't have a single blackhead left. I've also been using it on post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation marks and those are almost gone. I've been hard-pressed to find BHA's at the drugstore and am glad Paula's Choice is around!

  22. Rachel E.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Disappointed
    • I got the sample size and was very pleased with how it made the pores around my nose look as well as my blackheads, but once I bought the full sized, I didn't see any change in my skin and the formula felt greasy and oily. I don't know what happened between the two sizes, but it didn't agree with me at all.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, August 11, 2014

    How unusual! These products are exactly the same. Please contact us to discuss which of our other BHA exfoliants may be a better fit for you.

    —Admin
  23. Yarlene Z
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Will be buying this product
    • I received this product in my voxbox this month and I love it. I have large pores on my cheeks and this is getting rid of all the junk that was clogging them. It does leave my skin looking a little oily but I can deal with that, seeing as it is doing good things for my face.

  24. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 02, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    best skincare must have
    • First of all, let me say I'm on my second bottle and wanted to wait until I had used this product enough in order to give a reliable review. I used to have clogged pores around my cheeks that looked like whiteheads and bumps on my forehead that looked like pimples. Simply put I had a lot of congestion on my skin. This has dramatically improved my skin. I can honestly say I have 90% of it gone! If you have sensitive skin like me start slow then increase little by little but be consistent.

  25. Beth
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    good stuff!
    • I use this liquid exfoliant in combination with the BHA lotion a couple of times a month when my skin "acts up" and the morning after my complexion is visibly clearer. It does feel greasy when you apply it but it does the job :)

« Prev Page of 25 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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