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Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel

Skin Type: Combination to Oily Skin
Skin Concern: Acne-prone | Blackheads | Breakouts | Enlarged Pores
Full product name: Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
Size: 100 ml
Item: 2040

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Availability: In stock

Break up with breakouts, clogged pores, and redness for good. This exfoliant removes old skin cells both on the skin’s surface and inside pores using 2% salicylic acid.

  • Great for blackheads and acne breakouts
  • Smooths wrinkles, reveals younger looking skin
  • 100% fragrance and colourant-free
prices are including VAT
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  • SAMPLE : £0.70


  • When using a BHA product make sure you use a sunscreen during the day
  • Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) or its derivatives
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
I deem this a hero product, but there is a "but"
Review by Helen
I have hormonal acne, it's cystic and no, this product alone does not solve all my problems, but for a single product this is amazing (if your skin likes BHA) if your chin breaks out in the meanest and most painful zits ever.
I don't find this drying but I do find it difficult to layer with other things because it's quite sticky. I tend to reserve the use of this for when I have real breakouts and then i put a decent amount on and leave it overnight. I don't think it'd be good for during the day because of the formula, but for overnight I really think this works better than the liquid.
The one plus i've found with this is that it lasts forever, I have had my bottle since 2014 and it's still going - the smallest amount goes a really long way so it's definitely a worthwhile investment for breakouts, although for daily use the liquid would be better. Basically, i use this as a treatment/overnight mask type of thing and yes... this is the absolute bomb. Just keep applying on the affected areas overnight until they calm down. Wonderful stuff. (Posted on 17/01/2017)
surprisingly fast effect
Review by emily
i actually bought this almost a year ago, but only now have had the good sense to start using it daily (up until now i only used it about once every week or two).

i have combination skin with an oily t-zone and dry patches on my cheeks and hair line. ive always had pretty enlarged and dirty looking pores (i blame genetics) and ive tried all sorts of things to get rid of them: pore strips (which im pretty convinced might help but i dont like the idea of them also ripping out all the small hairs, it seems like it must be kinda harsh on the skin too), scrubbing my skin daily (which dries it out too much) and using deep cleansing gel cleansers (which also dry out and sensitize my skin). the best i had settled for lately had been using a clay mask every three days or so, although it would always make my skin look fresh for that day, and by the next morning my pores would be "dark" again.

but now that ive started regularly using the bha gel... i was so surprised. after just three days my skin started looking different and at first i couldnt figure out what it was, until one evening i looked closer in the mirror and noticed that i could barely see my pores, they were so clean, the same color as the surrounding skin. and this is just after three days, so my hopes are high that this product might actually help in the long run too.

im really happy and surprised seeing such good results in such short time, and i really recommend this to anyone who has trouble with enlarged pores. ive studied the subject quite a bit and have come across very convincing cases made for salicylic acid being one of the only effective remedies. i havent tested other salicylic acids apart from this one, but im very impressed with the results! (Posted on 04/10/2016)
This product will change your skin!
Review by Magda
Before I used this BHA gel, I have to admit my skin was in decent condition. I had the occasional acne problem, a lot of skin texture (bumpy) but no blackheads or enlarged pores. I didn't have bad skin so I didn't have great expectations from a BHA exfoliant. After trying just one sample... I am in awe. I never thought my skin could become so smooth, poreless, without any bumps, texture, simply breathtaking! I have never in my life seen skin like this, it looks better than with foundation on. It looks better now in my 30s than ever before in my life, no joke. I am so happy. If I could attach a photo for everyone to see, I would. Definitely recommend this if you can't tolerate the BHA liquid like me. I am ordering the full size asap.

Thank you Paula's Choice!
Oh, also, best customer service ever, replies fast and incredibly helpful. (Posted on 07/07/2016)
Review by Alex
I ordered a few samples of all of PC BHAs to try them out after disappointing results with the Calm 1% BHA lotion. This gel was the first on my list to test out.

I started using the gel on a small area of my face, the same area that I had tested the Calm 1% BHA lotion. With the Calm BHA, I had an initial breakout of angry red pimples that quickly turned into whiteheads and left many scars. It also did nothing for my blackheads in the long run, and did not reduce redness or minimize pores.

Perhaps because I had previously used the Calm BHA, the initial breakout wasn't so bad with the 2% gel. I got one cyst which could have been hormonal and therefore inevitable anyway, and a couple of small whiteheads. An old cyst that was no longer inflamed also surfaced, perhaps as a result of the exfoliation. However, I have now been using the gel for 2 weeks and have seen NO IMPROVEMENT. Blackheads and sebaceous filaments are still forming, pores still appear large and noticeable, my skin tone is still red, uneven and I have a lot of new and old scars which aren't showing any signs of improvement.

I will give it another couple of weeks, by which time I will have used all of my samples but I'm not holding out any hope of this gel actually doing what it says it will.

The only positives have been that I haven't noticed any irritation as I did with PC Clear regular strength anti-redness exfoliating solution (2% BHA liquid). That made my skin so red and tight and when I washed my face with a gentle cleanser, it was burning! The gel is not like that at all. It hasn't dried my skin out any more than usual and I have only noticed a slight stinging very occasionally straight after I applied it. It also seems to absorb well and doesn't just sit on the surface and peel off as some gels can.

Overall, disappointed!

(Posted on 06/04/2016)
Great results!
Review by Zuzana
This changed everything. First BHA product for me to try, but it really really helped with my comedones. Absolutely recommend! Also prefer this over the lotion consistency, it feels lighter on the skin and easier to spread around. Both are great tho. (Posted on 28/01/2016)
Love Love love
Review by Dami
I have used Clinique for years, followed the 3 step process, bought the even tone serum/moisturiser with little effect on the way my skin looked. My skin is very oily and I am prone to spots during my period. I knew I could not keep spending large amounts of money on products that do not make a difference. So I went online checking reviews, blogs and whatever else came my way. I stumbled across Paula's choice. I thought I would it it a go. Best decision I ever made in regards to my skin. I was quite skeptical so I only purchased the BHA gel. Within 2 weeks the difference was clear, black heads disappeared, my skin appearance was totally clear. Spots do not even come my way anymore. Total game changer product. I definitely recommend to afrocaribbeans with oily skin. Paula's choice skin range for oily skin are now my go to products. Love, love, love. Many Thanks Paula (Posted on 23/11/2015)
MIRACLE - Larger size please
Review by Leanne
Thank you Paula's choice. I will never be without this product. It has transformed my skin, no more hormonal breakouts, smoother texture and discolouration's slowly fading. Nothing works overnight so if you are buying this for that it will disappoint you, however if you are looking for consistent gradual improvement this is what you need. My skin produces less oil, is balanced and overall calmer.

Please do a bigger size! 200ml would be fab :) (Posted on 22/10/2015)
Review by Katy
I love this product. It works brilliantly on my combination/break-out prone skin, clearing up breakouts with no dryness or irritation. Yes, it is a bit on the sticky side, but I only tend to use it at night time. For me, this is the single most brilliant skincare product ever!! (Posted on 11/09/2015)
My must have product
Review by NightOwl
It took about a week of twice daily use and all the small bumps on my chin were gone and my skin looked completely clear.
This product is great for preventing spots, and if I do get them, dab some on and they reduce over night.
My skin is much less shiny as well and the makeup lasts longer without needing to be touched up.


(Posted on 22/06/2015)
Good product fast results
Review by Philip S
My skin feels softer and the fine lines on my forehead are slightly less noticeable after using this. You can expect results fairly quickly, though I would say it takes a about a week to really see good results.
Can feel a bit sticky on skin when applied, but this disappears completely after a minute or so. It dries slow enough that you have plenty of time to spread it over your face which it does really well.
It has reduced my breakouts noticeably. It seams to work best when I use this twice a day. It caused maybe a very very slight irritation to my skin in the first week of use. But that has disapeared completely now.I'm overall very happy with this product. (Posted on 10/06/2015)
It's a Miracle
Review by Emily V
I'm afraid that my review will sound suspiciously like I'm from PC's advertising department, but this product is just amazing!

First, the situation:

I have combination/oily skin, and get pimples on my chin around that time of the month, and at times of stress. I rarely wear makeup, but when I do, my skin feels strained and dry when I wear it. Still, it's mostly manageable, and I don't bother with more than a good cleanser and a rich day/night creme. People think I'm 10 years younger than I am. I'm 38.

Now, recently I received some expensive foundation and bb creme as a gift (chanel and estee lauder), which irritated my skin and raised itchy small bumps all over my cheeks and jawline. Annoyed, I started deep cleansing--too much, I might add--and that in turn dried out my skin in the most horrifying way.

Imagine: my once normal to slightly shiny skin had turned into a crusty, flaky, dried out skin that was comparable to tree bark. I could have cried. This was a hopeless weekend, during which I imagined I was finally going to turn 20 years older overnight.

I ordered Paula's Choice online, after watching a very good/reliable beauty blogger, and when it arrived, was careful to not overdo it this time.

I patted on the exfoliant.
The gel feels sticky at first, but I used my fingertips to gently tap it in and let it sit before putting on SPF 15 moisturizer.

Later, after a run (and more SPF), I gently rubbed at my face in the shower. Old skin rubbed off under my fingers. Again, I was careful to pat more moisturizer into my skin.

It's only the second day, and my skin has never been so soft and moist. The dried up tree bark is mostly gone, new skin rose up from underneath, and my skin is soft and supple.

I'm planning on reducing it to 2-3/week once the terrible dryness completely passes, but this experience is an eye-opener. Do use whatever BHA or AHA that fits your condition. It's almost unbelievable how good this is. (Posted on 30/04/2015)
Great product
Review by Julie
Great product. 1 pump per application is enough. Still need to add benzyl peroxide. (Posted on 09/04/2015)
Excellent product
Review by Fran
I am 40 years old and I had a nodular acne breakout on my chin. I used benzoyl peroxide 5% together with this gel and my skin is clear. Now I use the gel only and I have not had new spots. BHA is great for spot prevention and I made it a part of my everyday's skin routine. I like the gel as it easy to apply but I also like the liquid and the lotion for my combination skin. I find the lotion to be mildest towards the skin as it seems to be shooting as well. The lotion is not greasy at all and it takes not time to dry. The gel and the liquid take some time to dry, approximately the same time. I find it useful to purchase different forms of BHA and use them according to the time of day and use or no of make up. I don't like gel under the make up but the liquid and the lotion are excellent for use under the make up. Thank you Paula for this great products. (Posted on 21/03/2015)
Didn't do anything for me!
Review by Ali Liz
After much research I chose the gel formula to help tackle some stubborn blackheads. I have been using it daily for two months now with no positive results! Blackheads still there and look as stubborn as ever. (Posted on 15/02/2015)
magical product
Review by Aneta
After the first use my skin didn't look different but felt very soft and smooth. After two weeks of use the discoloration almost disappeared, the spots have almost gone and blackheads are shrinking. My face feels smooth, soft, even and any even cheap face cream goes over like a dream. It's a pleasure to look at myself in the mirror every morning.
I advise buying a gel because of the light texture on a combination skin and no need for a face cream. (Posted on 22/11/2014)
A bit sticky....
Review by stell_amour
... but works well, a very tolerable BHA product. It takes some time to fully soak into the skin and become dry enough not to feel so sticky, that's why I use it at night, followed by a rich moisturizer (in the morning I use the liquid version, followed by a sunscreen/moisturizer). I've been using a sample size of this for a couple of nights now, it makes my blemish scared skin soft and supple, and keeps the breakouts at bay. I'm combining it with other PC BHA products (Resist Weightless Body Treatment, on my face too). Long term results remain to be seen, but I'm very happy with it for now, fingers crossed. (Posted on 20/11/2014)
Very Sticky
Review by Jennifer
I tried this product after already trying the BHA "liquid" which is basically a toner, and I didn't notice results and also didn't like the idea of wasting so much expensive product on cotton pads to apply it. I tried this gel instead, and whilst it is much more effective, it's very uncomfortable to use. I try to wash my face and put it on at night so it doesn't get diluted/wiped away with other products in the daytime, but it's so unpleasantly sticky and gooey I don't even want to kiss my husband good night. Even after letting it sit for 20 minutes, It all just ends up getting wiped off on the pillowcase. I wish it had the texture of the Resist AHA 5% product which is a lovely smooth cream that absorbs easily and I use during the day. This BHA gel is just too sticky! Customer Care: Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear that you don't like this texture. Please make sure you don't use too much, as a few drops should be enough for your whole face. You could consider to try out the Skin Perfecting 2% Lotion Exfoliant, that has a creamy texture. (Posted on 07/11/2014)
The worst breakout ever
Review by Flower
After reading all the positive reviews I decides to purchase it. I really wanted to like this product and I was really looking forward to using it. After the first use it broke me out badly. I was really disappointed. After the second use I had the worst breakout ever. My face had so many painful spots. Even now a week later it feels painful and pretty sore.
Customer Care: We are sorry to hear of your experience and discomfort. While it's possible your skin may not be able to tolerate salicylic acid, 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. For many who experience this, it's a temporary issue that resolves with ongoing use of a BHA exfoliant. We understand your hesitation to go back to using this product, but suspect if you stick with it you really will see clearer skin! If you remain unhappy, please contact us to discuss a refund. (Posted on 03/09/2014)
Broke me out
Review by Olga
I bought this BHA for my closed comedones, was applying it correctly and everything, but unfortunately for me it didn't work at all, even more so, it gave me horrible cystic acne. I stopped using it, switched to AHA and things are slowly getting better, but it sure was very unexpected and disappointing. (Posted on 19/07/2014)
Not good for acne prone skin
Review by Owl
Rather than manual exfoliation, I decided to use this product. Bad decision on my part.
From the start and into a couple of weeks, my face was covered in lots of tiny spots (apparently this product is not meant to purge the skin).
I decided to use it on my chest to see if this gel was the problem and not my other products, and yes, I woke up to my chest being covered in an astounding amount of red blemishes. I'm really surprised at the positive reviews, but I guess everyone has different skin. (Posted on 27/06/2014)
Best money I've ever spent.
Review by Jenny
I had heard a lot about BHAs and AHAs and finally decided to take the plunge. I have very oily skin with blackheads and occasional breakouts PLUS sun damage (I grew up in Florida), so I chose the BHA 2% gel. I noticed a difference after just two days! My skin was smoother and almost glowing, while my breakouts went away and my pores shrank. This gel does go on a little sticky, but you don't need a lot and it absorbs in 10-15 minutes, plus you can put powder over it once it's fully absorbed. I use this twice a day and it's safe to say I will be buying this for many years to come. Please don't ever discontinue this product! (Posted on 02/05/2014)
Great product so far
Review by Amanda
I've been using this product for around 4 days now and my skin has already improved quite a lot. My forehead is almost bump-free, my skin is feeling soft and smooth and my redness around my nose has been reduced a tad. I've even gotten compliments on how great my skin looks yesterday. I also love how you need such a little amount of product - trust me, i dont use more than around the size of a pea and its enough to cover my whole face! I love it, this bottle is probably going to last me a long time, which is definitely a good thing. So far has this product only been great and im looking forward to see if it's still working as well as it does now in a few more weeks/months - i definitely hope so.. :) Can recommend! (Posted on 23/03/2014)
Review by Sophie
I'm a teen with spot prone skin and lots of blackheads and clogged pores on my nose and chin. I ordered this product with high hopes and at first, thought it was working (persistent blackheads appeared slightly reduced). However, after about a week my skin no longer felt soft after use and my blackheads have remained exactly the same. I'm so disappointed as all the reviews seemed so positive, I just want to feel more confident in my skin and I thought this would help! Customer care : Thank you for sharing your findings with us.With lots of blackheads and clogged pores we recommend to try our Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid or the products out of our CLEAR line.
It is best to gradually build up use of a BHA product, starting to use it a couple of times a week only. If there is no adverse reaction this may be increased to every other day at night and then, if you wish, every night. Some people increase use to twice daily (morning and night) but it really all depends on the condition of your skin. You need to experiment a bit to see what suits you best. One thing is important: when you use a BHA product (or any other exfoliant), you should always wear a sunscreen during the day. How Can I Get Rid of My Blackheads? The secret to solving any persistent skin problem is to use the right products and use them consistently. Here's what you can do to reduce and maybe even eliminate your blackheads:
Use a gentle, water-soluble cleanser and a gentle washcloth to add a bit of manual exfoliation, but don't overdo it. No irritating or drying cleansers should ever touch your face.
Avoid overly emollient or greasy moisturizers in blackhead-prone areas. As much as possible, use only gel, light fluid lotion, or liquid skin-care products because most of the ingredients that give lotions and creams their thick consistency can clog pores.
Use a well-formulated, leave-on salicylic acid–based exfoliant (also called BHA) that contains absolutely no irritants! Unfortunately, there are very few products available that hit this mark. Paula’s Choice offers the widest and most affordable selection of BHA (salicilyc acid) exfoliants --with options for every skin type
- See more at:
(Posted on 20/03/2014)
Gentle enough for sensitive skin
Review by Kat
I have eczema, rosacea and am currently suffering from post partum skin issues that turned my sensitive dry skin into sensitive combination skin. I had lots of blackheads on my nose and chin, as well as lots of small bumps that never came to a head. I've been seeing a dermatologist, but the products she prescribed are too drying and slow to show results.

I have used acids in the past and my skin always reacted badly, so I was wary of using this product. I wish I had tried this sooner! Most of my blackheads are gone, and the bumps are slowly clearing up. The redness is starting to fade and my eczema patch is under control! This is after only 2 weeks of use every other night. I only use this at night because it's very sticky and shiny. I'm going to try the bha liquid next. (Posted on 10/03/2014)
Great results the next morning!
Review by Sarah
I just use this at night to unclog my pores from all the make-up and day products. It feels sticky but combines really well with RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator. Then in the morning my skin feels smoother and my complexion looks more consistent. I have open pores all over my cheek bones and already they seem to look smaller, but I will have to keep you posted to see if the exfoliant really makes a difference! (Posted on 15/01/2014)
Excellent product
Review by Hannah
This exfoliant has done wonders for my skin, I cannot recommend it highly enough. You only need a small amount (I use 1 and a quarter pumps for whole face minus the eyes) and is very easy to apply. It's exfoliated my skin nicely after once daily application over a few weeks and has slighltly reduced the number of spots I'm getting. My only gripe with this product is I find it very shiny when on, even if I leave it to sink in a while, however this is only a minor thing as I only apply it at night so I'm not too bothered what the products make my face feel like, as long as they are doing it good which this is. (Posted on 18/11/2013)
Amazing product!
Review by Tigerlily
I can't believe how amazing this product is, and that I haven't had it in my life sooner! I have suffered with blemished skin (including cystic acne) since I was 13 and I'm now 32. After having a baby my skin awful, breakouts everywhere, congested skin and cystic acne on my jawline. My face was so sore I would cry, and was so embarrassed when I went out. I had to wear foundation, concealer and powder and my skin looked awful still. Over the years I have tried literally everything (including prescription antibiotics and lotions) - but NOTHING has ever worked amazingly as this. I applied it morning and night on cleansed skin and within 10 days I was leaving the house without any make up on at all. My skin is not only free of blemishes, no cystic acne to be seen, blackheads are virtually non existent, my pores are tiny and my skin so smooth. It was drying for the first few days but now I could get away without moisturiser afterwards if I needed to.
Please please never ever discontinue this product! And tell Paula I love her!!! :) (Posted on 25/10/2013)
The one product I could not live without
Review by me
This is a great product. It has visibly reduced redness on my congested combination skin, and is slowly helping me get rid of the thousands of blackheads that have stuck with me through the years. My skin felt better instantly after the first use, but transforming a seriously congested skin does take a long time, and I will have to use this daily for months to get where I want. Fortunately that's not a problem, since this is a lovely product to use. The gel is easy to spread and you need very little to cover the entire face. As with all gels, there is some slight stickiness for a minute or two, but after that my skin feels perfectly nice. I find this hydrating, but I usually like to follow with a moisturizer. In the summer, though, the BHA gel is sometimes enough. My favorite moisturizer, the Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator, works great with the BHA gel, as does the Hydralight lotion. The only moisturizer I had problems with when combined with the BHA gel is the Skin Balancing gel. Applying the SB gel after the BHA gel resulted in irritation and an instantly flaky skin. This isn't an issue for me, though, since I prefer the other moisturizers anyway. I use this once or twice a day, and it hasn't irritated my skin at all. I first tried the lotion textures, but weirdly enough they were more irritating on my skin than the gel. The 2% lotion was also way too heavy for me. The 1% gel was nice but it wasn't potent enough for me, but this one is perfect! (Posted on 11/10/2013)
Not suitable for combination skin
Review by adele
I thought I would wait a good period of time before reviewing, and I have been using this intermittently for six months. I wanted a BHA exfoliant for my blackhead and blemish prone combination skin, with rosacea. Initially I was happy with this product - my skin felt smooth, blemishes cleared and blackheads reduced. The problem is that this dried even the oiliest parts of my skin out like crazy! I switched to once daily usage, then down to once every few days, and still I got horrid flaky dry patches. I now use this maybe for a couple of days every 1-2 weeks, which sadly doesn't help my blackheads much. I have no doubt that these bha products work well, I just feel sad that I can't seem to use this one. I wish I had bought the 1% bha lotion as I think it would suit my skin better - so just be mindful if you have combo skin, that this can be very drying. Unfortunately it's quite expensive so I will just have to stick with this for now. On the plus side after six months of intermittent use my bottle is still 75% full. (Posted on 20/05/2013)
Really good product
Review by amberoo
I've been using this for about 3 weeks now, and have been really impressed with the improvement in my skin tone - it's softer, smoother, and blackheads are appearing reduced. I have very oily, acne-prone skin, and as such have learned not to expect miracles from products, but having tried most things and got into a bit of an expensive rut using dermalogica for the last couple of years, I fancied a change, and I'm glad I did!
I agree with other users in that this can leave skin looking a bit shiny and feeling quite tacky at first, but I've found that using a little less product, rubbing it in properly and following with agood moisturiser all help. I use it twice a day and would't want to be without it now - can't wait to see the results over time!
(Posted on 10/04/2013)
Review by Dinks
I cannot express my delight at finally finding a product that takes care of my holy trinity of skin ailments (acne, ageing and eczema). I'm 37 so I want anti ageing but this caused break outs, when I used products to treat the breakouts this flared up my eczema, when I used a steroid cream for the eczema, this caused fine lines. This product is astonishing. Not only has it ELIMINATED my hormonal acne, my skin is radiant and my fine lines are gone. AND the biggest bonus, it doesn't flare up my ridiculously reactive skin. I only use it at night (I think twice a day might be pushing it with my sensitive skin) but I cannot praise this product enough. Paula's Choice has literally saved my skin! (Posted on 11/02/2013)
So happy with this!
Review by Louise
I have really sensitive, really oily skin with dry cheeks. I get really sore spots on chin, cheeks, neck and even my chest that last 3 weeks at a time, and lots (and lots) of blackheads/clogged pores. Was just about to give up and go back to doctors for antibiotics when I tried this. I am so happy, within days my skin looked better! After a month it is completely different. I can wear no make up and feel lovely. My boyfriend keeps saying my skin is 'glowing' and my friends and family are noticing the difference. Even my brother is going to try this! I would say that you should just try it, you never know. My skin reacts to all sorts of things but luckily has been fine with this,I use it once or twice a day.
Thank you so much for the good advice on this website. (Posted on 08/02/2013)
another great product
Review by me :)
i wouldnt dream of going to sleep without this product on my face! i cant believe how much of a difference it has made to my skin. It goes on a little sticky but sinks in pretty quickly and hydrates my skin really well. i dont need to follow up with a moisturiser if i dont want to. i tried the 1% version with no success but this one has reduced my blemises by 90% and has improved the clarity and tone of my skin massively. also impressed with the amount of product you get and the controlled pump-- i never get too much! i use this daily with no irritation or sensitivity!
i would repurchace in a second! x (Posted on 24/11/2012)
Amazing Product!
Review by Berivan
I have been using this particular product for 2 days and I can already see a huge difference. I have blackheads particularly on my nose and chin, which are disappearing already!
I think within 1 week or so, my skin will be clear of blackheads and a lot clearer. Also I use small amounts of the gel, so this bottle will last me for a very long time!
I can just recommend this to anyone considering to purchase it. I am pretty impressed already! (Posted on 18/07/2012)
A rare letdown
Review by Rich
Love the products from this range normally - and they've done wonders for my skin - so I have no doubts that this is an excellent exfoliant. For me personally however this product made me breakout severely; having read about BHAs beforehand I understood that a purging process wasn't unremarkable, but after 2 weeks daily use my skin had gone from having merely a few small pimples to my left cheek being completely covered in large whiteheads (not to mention areas of my face that had previously always been clear breaking out for the first time). I would have been willing to let the initial purge subside and continue usage of the product, but the spots were leaving behing pretty awful scarring. Will stick to the 8% AHA from now on (which is a fantastic and irritation-free solution for me).
Customer Care: We are sorry to hear about your experience. We will contact you by email. (Posted on 16/04/2012)
Review by Stephen
This is a GREAT product.. makes your skin feel amazing... I have very stubborn blackheads and dry areas that feel uneven and horrible.. after using this product and it drys your skin feels like silk.. beware not to apply to often though!! (Posted on 11/03/2012)
Truly Indispensable - if you're careful
Review by Joshua
This exfoliant is so good, it should be mandatory for everyone who has ever experienced blackheads, blemishes or even just surface oil. Within days of use, the visible difference to my skin was staggering. Having spent years using vile, irritating products to try and combat acne I lucked across this and Paula's other output. This BHA gel has virtually eliminated my blackheads, smoothed lines and uneven texture to a polished, glowing complexion of which I can now be proud. After months of use, I reccommend caution in the following matters:
- Resist the urge to apply more and more regularly, and respect the strength of this product. I have found I was over-using it to a degree which was actually causing more irritation and blemishes. I have since settled on applying every other day.
- Use of daily sunscreen is essential with this product. The mechanism by which it perfects your skin is eradicating the unsightly natural barrier of dead cells. (Posted on 25/09/2011)
An Amazing Product!
Review by Megan
I have been suffering from very bad cystic acne in the T-zone area and around my mouth for over two years. This product has literally saved my skin! I'm very glad I found Paula's Choice. After three weeks of using this product, my skin has cleared up, I don't get cystic acne anymore but only the occasional white spots. But this is a HUGE improvement for my skin! I still have acne scars but they fading away slowly and can be easily cover up with concealer. I used this product every night during the first week and found this to be too drying for my skin. My current routine is to use it every other day at night after cleansing only. I found this to be much gentler and still do the job. I would highly recommend this product to anyone who is suffering from acne. The only advice I can give is to use it accordingly to your own skin' needs, then watch the transformation! (Posted on 03/07/2011)
Holy Grail Product
Review by jc
This product has changed my skin and simplified my skincare routine. I have oily/combination skin and used to get terrible spots as well as very painful cystic acne. Since I have used this exfoliant regularly I have had no more problems. I just cleanse, apply the lotion and follow with a light serum every night. With consistent use my skin problems disappeared within 5 months. After many years of painful blemishes I am just thrilled.
I really cannot praise this product highly enough.
(Posted on 02/12/2010)
too shiny and sticky
Review by Alexander
i agree that this i a great product, but i think it goes on to sticky, and leaves the skin too shiny, the texture and fell of the product is a bit like sirup. it does'nt really sink into skin that blackheads has not vanished, they are almost the same.Customer care: we thank you for your feedback. For more information about the treatment of blackheads please contact our customer service department. (Posted on 24/10/2010)
Probably the best exfoliant money can buy!
Review by Sonia
Wonderful wonderful product!!! I have used both the lotion and the gel and my favourite is this one by far. I use it everyday and my skin keep its luminosity and glow, perfect for summer as well as for winter time, when my skin is dryer after this has sinked in I apply the super antioxidant serum mixed with the Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream on top. This has never irritated my skin and has gotten rid of the tiny blackheads I use to have, my skin is 100% clear now! In my opinion this is probably the best exfoliant money can buy. I have combo/dry skin for reference. (Posted on 02/09/2010)
not what id hoped for
Review by andrew
this made me break out in horrible non inflamed lumps sore! i stuck with it for about 6 weeks but skin never got any better i had to stop and soon my skin got calmed down im really dissapointed as i have tried the liquid before and it was ok nothing special but i did not like the application of it and use the aha and it is a gel and really like it so thought id try the gel but it was not good im now left with half empty bottle gutted id say try liquid if considering it seems to be the best for most people. Customer Care: We thank you for your feedback. You can always contact our Customer Service for assistance with finding a product that will work for you. (Posted on 23/08/2010)
Makes a visible difference
Review by Jessica
Really impressed with this product. It's made a visible difference to the texture of my skin, which looks finer and smoother.

The gel is easy to apply, and a little goes a very long way. I only use it at night, with a serum on top, but as it leaves a slight film I would pick the liquid version if I wanted to apply it in the morning as well. (Posted on 19/08/2010)
Leaves skin smooth and calm.
Review by jane
This is a good product. I have acne and rosacea and this has reduced my clogged pores as well as calming my rosacea, and the red rosacea bumps on my cheeks have completely gone. It feels slightly sticky on the skin which I don't really like so I might try the liquid next time, however a little of this goes a long way so I am sure it will be a while before I run out. (Posted on 19/06/2009)
Helps to keep skin clear of blackheads
Review by Dominique
I was amazed how smooth the skin feels when using the BHA products regularly.
Everyone has to find out oneself how often they should be used, for me once a day works perfectly well. I use the gel only in the evenings before applying a cream. (Posted on 17/06/2009)
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.
Additional info

What makes this product unique?

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant is a water-based formula that exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining to unclog pores and improve skin cell turnover rate. This creates a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function especially for blemish-prone 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 anti-bacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. The silky gel base of this exfoliant is similar to the texture of the Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Gel Exfoliant but has twice the amount of salicylic acid to combat stubborn blemishes, including blackheads and white bumps.

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 oily skin prone to blemishes.

Aqua, Methylpropanediol (slip agent/water-binding agent), Butylene Glycol (water-binding agent/humectant/slip agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Salicylic Acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid, exfoliant), Phytosphingosine (lipid-based water-binding agent), Hydroxyethylcellulose (thickener), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant), Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (anti-irritant), Bisabolol (anti-irritanting agent), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizing agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster).

Sources to support the claims made for Exfoliating 2% BHA Gel:

International Immunopharmacology, August 2009, pages 1,126–1,130; Contact Dermatitis, June 2006, pages 303-312; British Journal of Dermatology, July 2005, pages 124-131; Journal of Cosmetic Science, November-December 2004, pages 519-531; Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2002, pages 1531–1532; 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.

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 with 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.

How does Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant compare to the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant?
The main difference lies with each product's texture. The 2% BHA Liquid has a toner-like consistency. The 2% BHA Gel features a water-light base. Both products are also appropriate for all skin types.

I currently use Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant. Should I switch to the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant? Is it all right to use both? It is entirely a matter of personal preference. It is completely acceptable to use more than one of our 2% BHA products, though use only one at a time. A typical regimen would be to apply the 2% BHA Gel in the morning under makeup and the 2% BHA Lotion in the evening.

I have tried Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant and Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and did not care for the texture. Will the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant work for me?
Quite possibly, yes. It's worth trying because your skin may prefer the feel of a gel to a lotion or the slip of the liquid.

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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