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Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Ingredients Explained

Region: US
4.4   from 32 ratings
262
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146
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Updated on December 05, 2023

Overview

What it is

Exfoliator with 8 ingredients that contains BHA

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

Paula's Choice is from United States. This product is used in 3006 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

BHA

Benefits

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

Concerns

Drying
Irritating
Rosacea
Eczema

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

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Solvent
3
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
4
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
5
Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
6
Masking
7
Buffering
8

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 8 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
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
2
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: 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
3
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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.

4
What it does: Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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
5
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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

As a surfactant, it helps collect dirt and oils for washing. Emulsifiers prevent oils and water from separating.

Polysorbate 20 also adds scent to a product. Since it is made using sorbitol, it has a sweet scent. Sorbitol can also be found in fruits such as apples and peaches.

The lauric acid used to create Polysorbate 20 is often derived from coconuts.

Polysorbate 20 may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 20
6
What it does: 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.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules are capable of damaging our cells and other genetic material. Antioxidants help stabilize free-radicals. Antioxidants may help reduce the signs of aging.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Learn more about Camellia Oleifera Leaf
7
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
8
What it does:
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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.

Tetrasodium EDTA comes as a white solid and is soluble in water.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 8 ingredients in this product ✨

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

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant US. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ->
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

Read more about us

Top Reviews

View all 32
MichelleR's Avatar'
Nov 26, 2023

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...

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.

Region: US

Latest Reviews

View all 32
chlolands's Avatar'
Mar 9, 2024

My favorite BHA product, I don't know why I keep trying other stuff thinking I will get the same results as this. Very gentle, can use every other day.

My favorite BHA product, I don't know why I keep trying other stuff thinking I will get the same results as this. Very gentle, can use every other day.

Works Well
Region: US
nastyk's Avatar'
Feb 2, 2024

Lovvvveee this product! Helps with my acne and texture! Be careful if you have eczema though because it offsets mine. Only downside is the price, a bit too pricy

Lovvvveee this product! Helps with my acne and texture! Be careful if you have eczema though because it offsets mine. Only downside is the price, a bit too pricy

Great Value
Expensive
Works Well
Region: US
Read more reviews ->