Skin Perfecting 8% AHA (Glycolic Acid) Gel

What It Does:
  • AHA exfoliates by breaking down susbtances holding dead skin together
  • Revitalizes uneven skin tone
  • Enhances hydration and smooths the appearance of wrinkles
  • Intensify firmness of the skin

Who This Product Is For

SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel is formulated for all skin types, but is especially beneficial for those with normal to dry skin concerned with fine lines and wrinkles, uneven or rough skin texture, uneven skin tone, and lack of hydration.

How It Compares
  • SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel is a completely non-abrasive, leave-on exfoliant that gently and naturally helps shed built-up layers of dead skin, just like your skin did when you were younger.
  • This exfoliant has an optimal pH range of 3.5–3.9.
  • AHA products are most effective at a 5% to 10% concentration and BHA at 1% to 2% concentration. It does not mean that AHA is "stronger".
  • AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin and have the added benefit of also improving moisture content. BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps because BHA can get through the oil that's clogging your pores, normalizing the lining of the misshapen pore that contributes to acne.
Alternatives
Strength
  • Both AHAs and BHAs are brilliant options for exfoliating the surface of skin.
  • Both AHAs and BHAs work to reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and firm skin but each has its special qualities.
  • This mask will not permanently change the pigment of your skin, but safely brightens its texture.
  • For Oily Skin, opt for the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel/Liquid or incorporate both in your routine.
  • For Very Dry Skin, opt for the Resist 5% AHA for Daily and 10% AHA for Weekly use.
Texture
  • It combines the exfoliating benefits of glycolic acid with a sheer weightless gel formula that provides long-lasting hydration and dramatically improves the smoothness of skin.
  • For AHA in a more lotion format, opt for the 5% AHA.
  • For AHA in a more liquid format, opt for the 10% AHA.
Ingredient
  • When acne and clogged pores are a priority, opt for the BHA(Salicylic Acid).
  • Contains skin-soothing plant extracts and antioxidants such as chamomile and aloe barbadensis.
  • Malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid may also be effective, but are considered less stable and less skin-friendly; there is little research showing them to have benefit for skin.


Key Ingredients

  • Function
    Exfoliant
    Texture
    Gel
    Skin Types
    All
    Sensitive-Friendly
    Yes
    Pregnancy-Friendly
    Consult Doctor
    Skincare Routine
    Before Moisturizer, After Toning
    Allergy Information
    None
  • Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria Flower Extract (chamomile/skin-soothing), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (hydration), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin replenishing), Panthenol (hydration), Sodium PCA (skin replenishing), Propylene Glycol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture-enhancing), Polyquaternium-10 (texture-enhancing), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (preservative)

  • STUDIES USED TO HELP FORMULATE THIS PRODUCT:

    Molecular Medicine Reports, November 2010, issue 6, pages 895–901 Archives of Dermatology, August 2000, issue 8, pages 989-94 Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2009, issue 5, pages 495-501 Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 2010, volume 3, pages 135-142 Dermato-Endocrinology, July 2012, issue 3, pages 253-8

  • Apply once or twice daily after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime-sized amount over the entire face, avoiding direct contact with eyes and lips. Do not rinse. For daytime, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater. Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skincare Routine article.
  • What's the difference between AHA and BHA exfoliants? Do I need both?

    When properly formulated, both AHAs and BHA are brilliant options for exfoliating the surface of skin. Both AHA and BHA work to reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and firm skin but each has its special qualities you'll want to consider when deciding which one to use: AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin and have the added benefit of also improving moisture content. BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps because BHA can get through the oil that's clogging your pores, normalizing the lining of the misshapen pore that contributes to acne. BHA has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. Those are two more reasons to use a BHA exfoliant if you have acne or sensitive, reddened skin. BHA is preferred for those struggling with rosacea. Not everyone with rosacea can tolerate an exfoliant, but it is wise to experiment with a BHA product to see how your rosacea responds. If your skin is sun-damaged and you're also struggling with acne or clogged pores, add a BHA product to your routine. If you'd like to use an AHA and BHA at the same time, that is an option, though not really necessary. Some people find they work well when they're applied at the same time, but if you want to give this a try it is best to apply them separately, one during the day and one in the evening.

    How do I use an AHA or BHA exfoliant?

    You can apply an AHA or BHA product once or twice a day. You can also apply either of these around the eye area but not on the eyelid or directly under the eye. Apply the AHA or BHA product after your face is cleansed and after your toner has dried. Once the AHA or BHA has been absorbed, you can apply any other product in your routine, such as moisturizer, serum, eye cream, sunscreen, and/or foundation. If you're using a topical prescription product such as Renova, other retinoids, or any of the topical prescription products for rosacea, apply the BHA or AHA first.

    Your AHA (glycolic acid) products have a higher percentage than your BHA (salicylic acid) products. Does this mean AHA is a stronger exfoliant?

    AHA products are most effective at a 5% to 10% concentration and BHA at 1% to 2% concentration. Think about it like making bread, the amount of yeast you need is tiny in comparison to the amount of flour you use but equally important to get the results you want. The percentage of effectiveness varies depending on the ingredient. Rest assured that the BHA products are not any less effective due to lower concentrations of the exfoliant.

    Can the AHA and/or BHA products be used during pregnancy or while lactating?

    Although topical exfoliants should not pose a problem for pregnant woman, we do recommend asking your doctor before using any product you are concerned about.

    Can I alternate using an AHA and BHA exfoliant? Is this even necessary?

    You can alternate using an AHA and BHA exfoliant if desired, but it isn't necessary. Both work to exfoliate skin, improving texture and tone. Ideally, consider an AHA if breakouts and blackheads are not a concern but visible sun damage is. Choose BHA if you're concerned with signs of aging and are struggling with breakouts, blackheads, and white bumps. If you opt to use both, choose one to apply in the morning and one to apply at night. If you're only using an exfoliant once daily, alternate use between the AHA and BHA product.

    At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my AHA exfoliant again?

    First, we urge you to follow the post-procedure instructions your doctor or nurse provided. If nothing was mentioned about when to resume use of an AHA exfoliant, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to wait until skin has returned to its normal texture and color. This may mean waiting a few days or, depending on the depth of the peel or laser procedure, it may mean waiting several weeks. Both peels and laser procedures can temporarily leave skin extra-sensitive, so if in doubt it's best to wait rather than rush things. Once you begin using your AHA exfoliant again, pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust frequency of use accordingly. Discontinue use if you notice signs of irritation.


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