The Beginner's Guide To Exfoliants

Don't scrub, exfoliate

Harsh scrubs can be damaging to skin creating tiny micro-tears. Instead opt for a gentle leave-on exfoliant to smooth skin, and diminish visible signs of ageing - without the damaging effects of harsh abrasive scrubs. Get smooth, glowing skin in just one step.

View all exfoliants

What is an exfoliant?

AHA and BHA leave-on exfoliants gently remove the buildup of dead skin cells without damaging your skin's outermost layer. They have numerous benefits including their ability to:

  • Gently but effectively smoothe rough skin
  • Help unclog pores
  • Minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Brighten and even out skin tone

How to use a leave-on exfoliant

STEP 1: Cleanse and tone skin
STEP 2: Using your fingers or a cotton pad, apply the exfoliant to your face and neck. Do not rinse.
STEP 3: Apply your moisturiser. If you use an acid exfoliant during the day, always follow with a moisturiser with SPF 30 or more.

AHA or a BHA exfoliant?

bha products

BHA (salicylic acid)

Recommended for:

✓ Oily skin
✓ Sensitive skin
✓ Breakouts and blackheads
✓ Rosacea-prone skin

Go to BHA Exfoliants
aha products

AHA (glycolic acid / lactic acid)

Recommended for:

✓ Dry skin
✓ Sun damaged skin

Go to AHA Exfoliants
skin-care routine

Which texture do you prefer?

Paula's Choice exfoliants come in 3 textures but are suitable for all skin types. The texture you choose is down to personal preference but some textures work particularly well for certain skin types:

  • For dry skin: Lotion exfoliant
  • For combination skin: Gel exfoliant
  • For combination to oily skin: Liquid exfoliant

Our award-winning, number one bestselling product worldwide:


The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant gently sheds dead skin cells, rapidly unclogs pores and reduces blackheads leaving skin smoother, brighter and clearer. BHA has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and calm red skin.

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Why our customers use a Paula's Choice exfoliant


5 starsAlex

"Every time I finish this exfoliant I immediately get a new one, I remember 14 months ago when I tried my first bottle.. After 30 minutes-ish my skin completely changed.. It had a glow, not oily. My skin just changed. It's hard to explain but this exfoliant will be with me for life!"

Excellent product

5 starsJen7

"Since I started using this a few months ago I have had NO hormonal breakouts on my chin! The effect was immediate. It is the only product I have ever used that has consistently prevented breakouts. The pores on my nose have become less noticable and my combination skin with oily t-zone is much more 'normal' now. I only use it 2-3 times a week. I'll never go back to face scrubs!"

Life changing

5 starsLily

"I've had the worst skin of my life since I turned 20, a year later and I've tried what felt like every brand and every product but experienced continued dissppointment. This product has completely changed the game, I was doubtful to begin with so bought the sample size, only to buy the full size 2 days later! I love that you can use it twice a day, my skin is so much more comfortable (enough to barely wear any make up) and all of my acne like blemishes are clearing up!"

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