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Updated on December 05, 2023

Overview

What they are

These products are both cruelty-free and reef safe . They have a total of 5 ingredients in common

Cool Features

They both contain BHA

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for fighting acne, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant US
Minimalist Salicylic Acid 02%

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Methylpropanediol Solvent

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Camellia Oleifera Leaf Masking

Camellia Oleifera Leaf is a green tea plant native to China. It is closely related to Camellia sinensis. Both plants have very similar properties.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Hydroxide Buffering

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

Tetrasodium EDTA

Tetrasodium EDTA is the salt formed from neutralizing ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid with sodium hydroxide. It is a chelating agent and used to prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps keep the product and ingredients stable.

Disliked Full details ->
Salicylic Acid 02%
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Methylpropanediol Solvent

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Ethoxydiglycol Humectant, Solvent
0 / 0

Ethoxydiglycol is a synthetic solvent.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Dimethyl Isosorbide Solvent

Dimethyl Isosorbide is a solvent and helps deliver actives into your skin. It is created from sorbitol.

Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Marrubium Vulgare Extract Skin Conditioning, Soothing

We don't have a description for Marrubium Vulgare Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Polylysine

We don't have a description for Polylysine.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Hyaluronate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside is an antioxidant.

Hydroxyethylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising

Hydroxyethylcellulose is used to improve the texture of products. It is created from a chemical reaction involving ethylene oxide and alkali-cellulose. Cellulose is a sugar found in plant cell walls and help give plants structure.

Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Lecithin Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Lecithin is a term for a group of substances found in plants, animals, and humans. They are made up of mixture of fatty acids. These fatty acids usually are a mixture of phosphoric acid's choline ester connected to stearic, oleic, and palmitic acids. Most lecithins are created from plant ingredients scuh as sunflower.

Disliked Full details ->
Sclerotium Gum Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning

Sclerotium Gum is a polysaccharide gum made by the fungus, Sclerotium rolfssii. It is similar to xanthan gum.

Disliked Full details ->
Pullulan

We don't have a description for Pullulan.

Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Lactic Acid Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 6 Benefits 3 Concerns

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Isoceteth-20 Emulsifying
May cause irritation Icon
May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Isoceteth-20 comes from Isocetyl Alcohol. It is an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Oligopeptide-10 Antimicrobial, Skin Conditioning
Peptide Icon
PeptidePeptide Icon

Oligopeptide-10 is a peptide.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Hydroxide Buffering

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Solvent
Mixed

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

As a solvent, it helps dissolve other ingredients, helping to evenly distribute ingredients throughout the product. This ingredient has also been shown to have antimicrobial properties which makes it a preservative booster.

Methylpropanediol is able to add a bit of moisture to the skin. It also helps other ingredients be better absorbed into the skin, such as salicylic acid.

Learn more about Methylpropanediol
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
Buffering
Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these two products.

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
2
3
2
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Salicylic Acid 02%
8
8
5
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

3,198 Routines
27% use in am
73% use in pm
68% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
74 Routines
30% use in am
70% use in pm
85% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant 8 ingredients

4.4 /5
from 35 ratings
Works Well (7) Expensive (5) No Scent (2) Light (2) Absorbs Well (1) Sticky (1)
skinogre's avatar

skinogre

1 month ago · Oily Skin
Review

The first night I used Paula’s choice exfoliant just once, it cleaned up my skin scraping it whole, I was left GLOWING but it felt kind of tight...

The first night I used Paula’s choice exfoliant just once, it cleaned up my skin scraping it whole, I was left GLOWING but it felt kind of tight like I had been using corsx salicylic acid for 3 days straight, it takes some getting used to, to the extent that the instructions literally say to start off once a week and slowly build your usage up overtime, it’s really strong but does the job well. I’ve noticed that if I overuse it, I get extremely coarse skin and whiteheads slowly appear in the places I use it most (my nose). This is why I highly advise to purchase the small sample bottle first and to build your way up, at MOST every other day. I’ve used it 3-4 times a week since and on the few days I don’t I use a daily-friendly exfoliant toner pad so my skin barrier isn’t destroyed but bacteria doesn’t also build. It dries up all the forehead gunk, removes residue on the sides of my nose and dried up the pimples I had been trying to rid of for so long, my skin is left gleaming, exfoliated as ever, and I know my skin wouldn’t be as flawless without it. 30ml sample version Lasted 2 months from Dec-Feb used every other day. I now use the 118ml version since Feb and there’s plenty left, will most likely last for about 7 months and 3 weeks in total (based on how long i went through the sample size). As much as I love this I deeply suggest researching and sampling because there are mixed reviews of people claiming that it ruined their skin which doesn’t surprise me -since it is pretty harsh exfoliant and skin is diverse. I tend to be wary of western products but one thing western products do well is harsh exfoliants. If you have a lot of bacterial residue, sebaceous filaments and the feeling of gunk on your face even after your exfoliant, this is a good one to consider. This combined with my Needley daily Toner pad is the only reason why my forehead looks like a glazed doughnut

MichelleR's avatar

MichelleR

7 months ago · Dry Skin
Review

Viral for a REASON
This product is popular for a reason. Back in the day [showing my age] we used to use Noxzema and Stridex for our acne. But...

Viral for a REASON
This product is popular for a reason. Back in the day [showing my age] we used to use Noxzema and Stridex for our acne. But those products were so harsh, burned, and didn't produce any results. This product not only clears pores but is also nourishing [suspect it is the green tea]. After I apply, my skin doesn't feel raw or sensitive. The formulation of this product is FANTASTIC. Truly viral for a reason. It will forever be in my skincare collection.

Minimalist Salicylic Acid 02% 24 ingredients

5.0 /5
from 1 rating
Ace_554's avatar

Ace_554

10 months ago · Oily Skin
Review

face wash