Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Review and then some...
Meet Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, a chemical exfolient which replaced my previous Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle 12% Glycolic AHA (review here). Why, you ask? Well even though I LOVED the concept of chemical exfoliant, AHA is mostly for normal to dry skin (its water-soluble) while BHA is for combination to oily skin (its oil soluble) and since yours truly belongs to the latter group, BHA it is.
How Do You Choose which Exfoliant Is Best for You?
As a rule, AHAs are best for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin because they only exfoliate on the very surface of skin rather than penetrating inside the pore. AHAs have research showing they improve collagen production and increase skin’s moisture-binding ability. My 8% Alpha Hydroxy Acid Gel is a great option for all skin types and can be worn under a moisturizer without feeling heavy or layered with product.
BHA also exfoliates on the surface of skin but has extra properties that make it better for normal to oily or combination skin—and especially blemish- prone skin. Salicylic acid can exfoliate inside the pore and it has anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial benefits as well.
First-time users of a BHA product can begin with a 1% concentration of salicylic acid; those with oily to very oily skin and stubborn blackheads or blemishes should begin with a 2% concentration. Once you know the concentration you want to try, the only thing left to decide is whether you want a gel, liquid (2% strength only), or lotion texture.
Generally, if you have normal to oily skin with moderate breakouts a gel is a great place to start. If you have very oily skin with moderate to severe breakouts a liquid without alcohol or irritating plant extracts is a great option. If you have normal to combination skin lotions are a wonderful option. Which one to choose? That depends on your personal preference and experimenting to see what works best for you.
Here's the info printed on the packaging, which due to the round shape and reflective text also lazy photography isn't very coherent...
So just copy-pasted info from Paula's choice website
A silky, toner-like consistency enhances penetration to maximize exfoliation.
What makes this product unique? Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid rapidly exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. The result is a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function which leads to healthier skin. There is a great deal of research indicating that BHA (beta hydroxy acid) increases collagen production and drastically smoothes the surface of skin. Additionally, BHA has antibacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. The lightweight, non-occlusive formula allows for a faster and deeper exfoliation rate than our gel or lotion BHA products, so it's an ideal choice for stubborn clogged pores or blackheads.
This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free with a pH range of 3.2-3.6. Every Paula's Choice BHA product is formulated with additional soothing agents.
Who is this product for? All skin types may use this product, but the texture is especially suited for those with normal to oily or combination skin, stubborn blackheads, and blemish-prone skin. It can also be used regularly to eliminate calluses on feet, elbows and knees.
Warnings: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid).beauty.com (for $23) and had a choice between gel and cream, went with gel because my super oily skin generally prefers gel over everything cream. Although the actual liquid feels as light as water as opposed heavy-sticky gel, as you can see from the picture. It has a mild medicated scent and the first few times I applied it, I felt a burning sensation which went away after that so I guess my skin got used to it.
So, time for the verdict, do I need to though? Already stated it is my most fav skincare product in the world and it is.
It makes the exfolaition really easy, every 2-3 days the dry skin and other gunk simply comes off when I am massaging my face with a regular moisturizer. I only use this product every morning IF I AM NOT GOING OUT and every 3 nights in a row (THE 4TH NIGHT IS FOR RETIN-A). I no longer used a physical exfoliator/scrub and its not needed. Also, I have seen noticable reduction in both white heads and blackheads (which was really consistant with my oily skin) as well as the visibility of pores. Please keep in mind I also regularly use retin-a (as mentioned above) so my skin is more flaky than normal and this product is what that keeps the flakes at bay.
Would I recommend this to anyone though, not really! Like Paula said, you need some getting used to such strong chemical exfolaitent. Before this, I was already using retin-a, used AHA and even did some DIY soft-chemical peels. But for begginers, even if you have oily/combination skin, I think you should start with AHA (either Alpha Hydrox or Paula's choice) to get your skin used to acid and then move to BHA after a few months or so.
There are certain rules to apply any kind of chemical exfoliants ie. to use a mild soap based cleanser to wash face. Wait until the face is completely dry, you should NEVER apply these on damp face. Follow up with a moisturizer. Another thing, ALWAYS REMEMBER TO USE SUNSCREEN while using aha/bha products because they increase the risk of sunburn. The packaging recommends to use sunscreen over product, but I dont even use the product just sunscreen because why take the risk?
So if you start slow and follow all the rules you will notice such smooth transformation no physical exfoliator/scrubs can be ever give you, I bet.
Thats all for now, hopefully I will be more active and post something else soon. Till then, dear reader, take care...and thanks for not abandoning me in this long hiatus.