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Product Comparison

Here's our complete breakdown comparing the ingredients, attributes, and more of Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant US versus The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA .

Last updated on December 05, 2023. Published on April 27, 2021

Overview

What they are

These products are both vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe . They have a total of 2 ingredients in common

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for brightening 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 need an update? Let us know.

Exfoliator American Brand United States
Serum Canadian Brand Canada

Exfoliator

Exfoliators are used to exfoliate the skin, or remove dead skin cells from the skin. Exfoliators may be chemical or physical.

Serum

Serums are highly concentrated with ingredients to provide skin with benefits. They should be used after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Price

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

BHA

Benefits

Good For Oily Skin
Reduces Large Pores
Scar Healing
Acne Fighting
Brightening

Concerns

Drying
Irritating
Rosacea
Eczema

Notable Ingredients

AHA
Hyaluronic Acid

Benefits

Hydrating
Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores
Anti-Aging
Dark Spots
Scar Healing
Brightening (2)

Concerns

Irritating (2)
Rosacea
Eczema
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Ingredients Side-by-side

Ingredients that are highlighted in purple are present in both products.

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Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

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

1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant US contains this as ingredient number 1.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA contains this as ingredient number 1.

2
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: 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

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant US contains this as ingredient number 7.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA contains this as ingredient number 12.

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

25% are loved or liked
38% have mixed ratings
25% are disliked or very disliked
13% have no rating yet
53% are loved or liked
27% have mixed ratings
20% are disliked or very disliked
0% have no rating yet

Usage

Here's some more info on how this product is used by our community.

When to use

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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)
MichelleR's avatar

MichelleR

6 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.

skinogre's avatar

skinogre

12 days 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

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 15 ingredients

3.3 /5
from 3 ratings

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