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Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel Ingredients Explained

Exfoliator
5.0   (1 ratings)
17
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28
1

Published on July 13, 2020

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Overview

What it is

Exfoliator with 25 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is cruelty-free

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

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 66 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.

Exfoliator with 25 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 25

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.

Aminomethyl Propanol Buffering

Aminomethyl Propanol is used to adjust the pH of products. It is also used as a base to create other organic compounds. Having a balanced pH is important for protecting your skin.

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.

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.

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.

Isoamyl Laurate Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Isoamyl Laurate is created from isoamyl alcohol and lauric acid. It is an emollient and traps moisture underneath.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Tartaric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Tartaric Acid is an AHA. It can help to improve skin texture, reduce large pores, heal scars, and brighten skin. It can cause irritation and worsen rosacea.

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.

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.

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.
Clitoria Ternatea Flower Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Clitoria Ternatea Flower Extract.

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.
Glycyrrhetinic Acid Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Glycyrrhetinic Acid.

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.
Tocopherol Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
Bisabolol Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Bisabolol is pimarily used to add fragrance to a product. However, it is also famous for helping soothe skin.

Allantoin Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0 Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3 Benefits

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
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.

Hydrogenated Lecithin Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Hydrogenated Lecithin is created from the hydrogenation of lecithin. Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction between molecule hydrogen and another element.

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 ->
Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 Emulsion Stabilising

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 is a texture enhancer and pH adjuster.

Disliked Full details ->
Titanium Dioxide Cosmetic Colorant, UV Absorber, UV Filter
0 / 0 Mineral UV Filter IconNon-Reef-Safe Icon
Mineral UV FilterMineral UV Filter Icon Non-Reef-SafeNon-Reef-Safe Icon

Titanium dioxide is known for its UVA and UVB protection properties. It is non-comedogenic and non-irritating. Titanium Dioxide is a physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens reflect light and prevent it from reaching your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
CI 77015 Cosmetic Colorant

We don't have a description for CI 77015.

Unknown Full details ->
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 ->

Ingredient Ratings

Based on the number of likes and dislikes each ingredient has received.

14
4
4
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 25 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
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
Buffering
Liked

Aminomethyl Propanol is used to adjust the pH of products. It is also used as a base to create other organic compounds. Having a balanced pH is important for protecting your skin.

Aminomethyl propanol is safe to use in cosmetics up to 1%. It is soluble in water.

Buffering
Loved

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

Its main role is to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing newer skin cells to emerge.

Specifically, AHAs work by breaking down the structural "glue" holding the old skin cells in place. Getting rid of the old skin cells allows skin to regenerate newer skin cells in its place. A build up of dead skin cells can lead to tired and dull looking skin.

Due to this, glycolic acid helps with:

Fun fact: Glycolic acid increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When starting glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging.

The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product. Concentrations between 5-20% glycolic acid have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

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.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose — a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
Antimicrobial
Liked

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

As an AHA, Mandelic Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Mandelic Acid may be an alternative to Glycolic Acid for those with sensitive skin.

Mandelic Acid may help reduce wrinkles, acne, and hyperpigmentation.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Mandelic Acid
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Isoamyl Laurate is created from isoamyl alcohol and lauric acid. It is an emollient and traps moisture underneath.

This ingredient helps give products a silky feel and is considered a silicone alternative.

This ingredient may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Isoamyl Laurate
Buffering, Masking
Mixed

Tartaric Acid is an AHA. It can help to improve skin texture, reduce large pores, heal scars, and brighten skin. It can cause irritation and worsen rosacea.

Solvent
Liked

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.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
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
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.

We don't have a description for Clitoria Ternatea Flower Extract.

Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

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

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate
Skin Conditioning
Loved

We don't have a description for Glycyrrhetinic Acid.

Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

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

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

Vitamin E also helps keep your natural skin lipids healthy. Your lipid skin barrier naturally consists of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids. Vitamin E offers extra protection for your skin’s lipid barrier, keeping your skin healthy and nourished.

Another benefit is a bit of UV protection. Vitamin E helps reduce the damage caused by UVB rays. (It should not replace your sunscreen). Combining it with Vitamin C can decrease sunburned cells and hyperpigmentation after UV exposure.

You might have noticed Vitamin E + C often paired together. This is because it is great at stabilizing Vitamin C. Using the two together helps increase the effectiveness of both ingredients.

There are often claims that Vitamin E can reduce/prevent scarring, but these claims haven't been confirmed by scientific research.

Learn more about Tocopherol
Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Loved

Bisabolol is pimarily used to add fragrance to a product. However, it is also famous for helping soothe skin.

Bisabolol comes from German chamomile essential oil. Synthetic Bisabolol has been shown to be less effective.

Bisabolol helps soothe skin. It does this by blocking the inflammatory signals, helping to reduce your body's reaction to irritation.

Bisabolol also interferes with the process of hyperpigmentation. This can help with reducing dark spots and uneven tone.

Bisabolol is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. By fighting these free-radicals, Bisabolol may slow down signs of aging.

Studies have shown Bisabolol to have antimicrobial properties and may be a fungicide. These properties help preserve a product's shelf life.

Bisabolol also helps the absorption of other ingredients.

Learn more about Bisabolol
Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
Loved

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

Some studies have shown this ingredient can promote wound healing with higher concentrations.

Allantoin is derived from the comfrey plant but produced synthetically for cosmetic products to ensure purity.

Learn more about Allantoin
Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising
Mixed

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.

Hydroxyethylcellulose helps stabilize products by preventing ingredients from separating. It can also help thicken the texture of a product.

This ingredient can also be found in pill medicines to help our bodies digest other ingredients.

Learn more about Hydroxyethylcellulose
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Hydrogenated Lecithin is created from the hydrogenation of lecithin. Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction between molecule hydrogen and another element.

Hydrogenated Lecithin is an emollient and emulsifier. As an emollient, it helps soften skin by trapping moisture within.

The phospholipids in Hydrogenated Lecithin can produce liposomes. Liposomes help other ingredients get through the skin barrier to be better absorbed.

As an emulsifier, it prevents oil and water ingredients from separating.

Learn more about Hydrogenated Lecithin
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Disliked

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.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum

Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate isn't fungal acne safe.

Emulsion Stabilising
Disliked

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 is a texture enhancer and pH adjuster.

It is be used to thicken water-based products and create a gel-texture with a velvet feel.

One manufacturer claims this ingredient to have a pH range of 2-8 and to be biodegradable.

Learn more about Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6
Cosmetic Colorant, UV Absorber, UV Filter
Mixed

Titanium dioxide is known for its UVA and UVB protection properties. It is non-comedogenic and non-irritating. Titanium Dioxide is a physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens reflect light and prevent it from reaching your skin.

Protecting your skin against UV radiation can prevent the signs of aging. Sun damage is associated with fine-lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and hyperpigmentation. Titanium dioxide can help prevent premature aging.

With modern production, nano-scale or fine-grade titanium dioxide can be easily produced for cosmetics. In sunscreen, titanium dioxide absorbs UV light. Our skin is not able to absorb Titanium dioxide, even nanoparticles.

Titanium itself is the 9th most common element in the Earth's crust. Titanium dioxide is formed when oxygen is introduced and can be found in ores, dust, sand, and soil.

Pure titanium dioxide is a white powder that is used in many products to add or change color.

Learn more about Titanium Dioxide
Cosmetic Colorant

We don't have a description for CI 77015.

Preservative
Very Disliked

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.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Reviews

5.0
from 1 rating
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