Sunday, June 27, 2010

Paula's Choice 1% Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) Lotion Review Part 1

A few weeks ago, I had a really good conversation with K about exfoliants where I learned a lot about the differences between topical, chemical, BHA, AHA exfoliants, and a few others. I was well persuaded to try a BHA exfoliant after learning that this was a much deeper way of exfoliating versus my current physical exfoliation method (peeling gels, gentle rice beads, or what used to be St. Ives Apricot Scrub). Read on for my review. :)

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA): The most common ones are glycolic or lactic acid.
Beta hydroxy acid (BHA): Active ingredient is salicylic acid)

A quick breakdown about the differences between AHA and BHA from Paula Begoun's website, Understanding BHA & AHA Exfoliants (which I would highly recommend reading for more in-depth information):

"The primary difference between AHAs and BHA is that AHAs are water-soluble, while BHA is lipid-(oil) soluble. This unique property of BHA allows it to penetrate the oil in the pores and exfoliate accumulated skin cells inside the oil gland that can clog pores. BHA is best used where blackheads and blemishes are the issue, and AHAs are best for sun-damaged, thickened, dry skin where breakouts are not a problem.

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 inside the pore... 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 for blemish-prone skin. Salicylic acid can exfoliate inside the pore and it has anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial benefits as well.

Though BHA can work great for dry skin types as well, it takes experimenting to find out which one works best for you.

I decided to try out Paula Begoun's 1% BHA Lotion which is for normal-dry skin.

From the description:
- Exfoliates and softens your skin with 1% salicylic acid in a matte finish lotion perfect for normal to slightly dry skin
- pH range of 3.2–3.6 guarantees efficacy you'll see daily
- Penetrates the pore lining to dislodge blackheads
- Reduces acne and the frequency of your breakouts
- Helps fade red marks from past blemishes
- Stimulates collagen production for firmer, less wrinkled skin
- Salicylic acid is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent
- Suitable for all skin types but best for combination to dry skin with flaky areas
- 100% fragrance-free and contains no dyes or coloring agents

My skin care routine while testing out Paula's 1% BHA Lotion was kept very simple:

Wash with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.
Apply CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion.
Apply sunscreen.

Wash with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.
Apply Paula's Choice 1% BHA Lotion.
(Sometimes) Apply CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion.

Onwards to photos...

Day 1: My forehead is where around 99% of my breakouts lie. Luckily, I have my bangs to hide them. None the less, I still have breakouts and would like to get rid of them which is why I decided to try this product.

Day 1: Left Cheek. I don't usually break out on my cheeks so they usually look fairly clear.

Day 1: Right Cheek. Again, I don't tend to break out on my cheeks. My temples, on the other hand, are a different story. I don't know why I've been breaking out on my temples so much lately. I haven't been wearing my glasses often. I don't usually touch my face either.

Day 8: Forehead is looking a little calmer. But this was just the calm before the storm.

Day 14: Two weeks into usage. I really didn't want to upload this picture. That monster pimple is disgusting. :( I suppose I should note that I've been under a lot of stress for the past few weeks so that wasn't helping.

Day 17: Without flash. Forehead is a little calmer now. There is apparent scarring from when I tried to rid of the pimples. Note to self: leave them alone.

Day 17: With Flash.

Day 17 Comparison: With and without flash.

Day 1 compared to Day 17.

I'll keep using this BHA for a while longer. A 2nd review will be done afterward. Hopefully we'll see some positive changes!

*UPDATE* The 2% Liquid is amazing stuff. Read review here!

If you are interested in trying out a BHA exfoliant, Paula Begoun has a few available for different skin types:

1% BHA Lotion (Normal to Dry Skin)
1% BHA Gel (Normal to Oily Skin)

If you want to try something a little stronger:

2% BHA Lotion (Normal to Dry Skin)
2% BHA Gel (Normal to Very Oily Skin)
2% BHA Liquid (Normal to Very Oily Skin)

And if you use the code: TOTALB9610, you can get 15% off and free shipping. I'm not sure when this offer ends.

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