Research has shown that daily exfoliation is an indispensable step for smooth, clear, hydrated skin, and a leave-on BHA exfoliant is one of the best ways to do this.
Leave-on exfoliants gently and quickly remove dead skin cells, so that the softer, younger-looking skin underneath is revealed. Our BHA products go one step further, helping to reduce blemishes, blackheads and enlarged pores. They also improve hydration and contain ingredients such as antioxidants to help visibly repair and help prevent signs of ageing.
With a wide variety of BHA exfoliants to choose from, it’s easy to find the best one for your skin type and concerns.
If you have dry skin an AHA exfoliant could be a better option for you, read all about exfoliation for dry skin to find out more.
BHA is an abbreviation for beta hydroxy acid, also known as salicylic acid. Don’t let the word ‘acid’ put you off. BHA is not corrosive or abrasive and actually has soothing properties. Its naturally anti-inflammatory nature makes it much kinder on your skin than gritty scrubs and most types of cleansing brushes.
A leave-on BHA exfoliant works on the upper layers of the skin, lifting dead skin cells away from the layer of healthy, radiant skin hidden underneath. It’s able to penetrate skin’s oil to exfoliate the pore lining, a key feature of how BHA works to improve pore size and clogs. Although BHAs (like AHAs) have benefits for all skin types (hydrating, making fine lines and wrinkles less visible and improving firmness, skin tone and texture), they are particularly suitable for people with normal to oily skin, congested or enlarged pores, acne-prone skin and signs of skin ageing. A BHA can even help if you suffer from flesh-coloured bumps known as milia.
Because a BHA exfoliant helps with so many different skin problems, you'll find one in almost all of our collections, including our Resist line (anti-ageing), our Clear line (for acne-prone skin) and our Calm line (which helps to counteract redness). BHA exfoliants can make a huge difference to how your skin looks and feels. They are powerful enough to deal with skin problems such as milia yet soothing enough for sensitive, rosacea-prone skin.
The pH value of a BHA exfoliant is very important. Salicylic acid works best at a pH value of between 3 and 4. Products outside this range will be less effective or may not work at all. Every Paula’s Choice BHA exfoliant is formulated within these optimal pH values, so you will experience the best results.
The word exfoliation is usually associated with facial or body scrubs. Most scrubs, however, are too abrasive and can damage the skin. Scrubs almost always contain coarse ingredients that can tear the skin’s surface, causing visible damage in the long term. Rest assured, BHAs are nothing like a scrub.
For deeper cleansing, a mild scrub gently applied with a washcloth or soft-bristled cleansing brush can be an option. However, this will not unclog your pores or reveal radiant, smooth skin in the same way that a BHA exfoliant does.
Many people wonder if they should use an exfoliant with BHA or AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) or maybe even both. Although some people use both, it is perfectly fine to just use one.
If your main focus is on the skin’s surface (and you don’t suffer from sensitive skin, redness or blocked pores), an AHA exfoliant is a good choice. BHA is best if you suffer from:
Paula's Choice has a BHA exfoliant for every skin type and concern, and also a number of exfoliants for the skin on your body.
Regardless of which exfoliant you choose, it is important that you use it after cleansing and toning. Other products in your routine, such as a serum and a day or night cream, should be applied after your exfoliant, starting from thinnest to thickest texture. An occasional-use rinse-off BHA peel should be applied to cleansed skin and rinsed after several minutes. Pat skin dry and follow with the rest of your routine. Please note you should not use the rinse-off peel on the same day as your other leave-on exfoliants.
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