Michelle Wong, PhD, has been steeped in the science of skincare for over a decade. She started her blog, Lab Muffin Beauty Science, in 2011, earned her PhD in chemistry in 2013, and graduated as a cosmetic chemist in 2020. No matter how much she’s learned or how many formulas she’s tried, there are a product that has been a staple in her routine for 13 years: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($11-$32).
“I’ve tried many salicylic acid products, and this one has always worked best for me,” says Dr Wong, based in Sydney, Australia. “It reduces the appearance of pores, smoothes skin texture, and evens skin tone. It’s also great if you’re prone to blackheads, clogged pores, and acne. It helps with all of that. C is a very good chemical exfoliant.”
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliator is a leave-in product designed to be used once or twice daily. Lightly dampen a cotton ball over your skin or use your fingertips to apply the liquid to your face and neck, including around your eyes. Follow up with the serums you use and moisturizer. And be sure to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 for daytime use, as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
The star ingredient in this product is salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates pores to remove buildup and dead skin that cause blemishes. It’s also made with green tea, a powerful antioxidant that soothes irritated skin while improving the visible signs of aging. and methyl propanediol, a synthetic ingredient that moisturizes while visibly improving skin’s radiance and formula penetration. All of these assets make this the best exfoliating treatment Dr. Wong has ever used — and it costs just $32.
“It’s actually very economical,” says Dr. Wong. “If you calculate per mil for the large size, it’s very competitive. It’s one of the cheapest on the market.”
As Dr. Wong learned more about the science of skincare, she fell more and more in love with this treatment.
“I developed a greater appreciation for it because if you look at the formula, it’s really simple,” she says. “There aren’t many ingredients, but it works really well. I’ve been using it for 13 years, and it’s just a mystery why it’s so good and no other product on the market seems to be able to match it. compare to that.”
Learn more about exfoliating your face:
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