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Updated on December 05, 2023

Overview

What they are

These products are both vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe . They have a total of 3 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, 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
Peace Out Pore Perfecting Stick
Peace Out Pore Perfecting Stick
Wash Off Mask
American Brand United States

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 ->
Pore Perfecting Stick
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.

Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Sodium Stearate Cleansing, Emulsifying

Sodium stearate is the sodium salt of stearic acid.

Unknown Full details ->
Hydrated Silica Abrasive, Absorbent
Exfoliant Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon

Hydrated Silica is a type of silicon dioxide. It is called 'hydrated silica' because it is silica with extra bonded water atoms.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Kaolin Abrasive, Absorbent, Cosmetic Colorant
0 / 0 Exfoliant IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps fight Acne Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon 2 Benefits

Kaolin is a clay. It is used for oil control and to help minimize pores. Like other clays, kaolin has the ability to absorb excess sebum or oil. This can help clean out pores and mattify the skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
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.
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.

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 ->
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.

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 ->
Niacinamide Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
NiacinamideNiacinamide Icon 6 Benefits

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

Algin Masking
May worsen Oily Skin Icon
May worsen Oily SkinMay worsen Oily Skin Icon

Algin is brown algae. Algae is an informal term for a group of aquatic organisms that can photosynthesize. It is estimated there are at least 30,000 types of Algae.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Mandelic Acid Antimicrobial
AHA IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 2 Benefits 2 Concerns

Mandelic Acid helps exfoliate skin. It also contains antioxidant properties.

Fomes Officinalis Extract Skin Protecting

We don't have a description for Fomes Officinalis Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Farnesol Perfuming
Fragrance IconEU Allergen Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon EU AllergenEU Allergen Icon

Farnesol is a compound extracted from essential oils such as lemongrass, rose, and more. It is used as a fragrance in products to help boost floral scents.

Unknown Full details ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

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

Glycolic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin 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 Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

Galactoarabinan

We don't have a description for Galactoarabinan.

Unknown Full details ->
Mangifera Indica Fruit Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Mangifera Indica Fruit Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Carica Papaya Fruit Extract Skin Conditioning

Carica Papaya Fruit Extract comes from the papaya fruit. Papayas were first domesticated in Mexico and Central America.

Ananas Sativus Fruit Extract Skin Conditioning

Ananas Sativus Fruit Extract comes from the pineapple fruit. Pineapples are native to South America. The components of pineapple give it mild exfoliating and skin nourishing properties.

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.

Adipic Acid Buffering, Masking

Adipic Acid is an organic dicarboxylic acid. It is used for pH adjustment and masking.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Carbonate Buffering

We don't have a description for Sodium Carbonate.

Disliked Full details ->
Polylysine

We don't have a description for Polylysine.

Unknown Full details ->

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. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
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
Pore Perfecting Stick
11
2
5
7
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

3,215 Routines
27% use in am
73% use in pm
68% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
1 Routine
100% use in am
0% use in pm
100% use every day

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)
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.

Peace Out Pore Perfecting Stick 25 ingredients

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