Paula's Choice Clear Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution

4:23 pm

I started using this over a year ago, after being recommended them by the awesome blogger John Su. WARNING: Gross & Unglamorous Pore photos in this post

 My pores and (then) gluten induced acne are one of the biggest banes of my vain existence, and I learned that BHAs like Salicylic Acid helps exfoliate the pores. I've used this since it was in the old orange and white packaging, as well as the Extra Strength version. Note: not all Salicylic Acid products are equal. You need to make sure the pH of the product is correct for the SA to be effective at exfoliating!


This comes in a hard cylinder tube with a pop-off cap. Easy to dispense the product without spilling. The new blue packaging is an improvement from the old orange and white one, which leaked product down the sides of the cap after you tilt the bottle to pour product out. The new one does not leak any more.


Texture is a clear watery lotion with no scent, very similar to the Bioderma miscellar water. You're supposed to pour it onto cotton wool and wipe your face with it as you would a traditional toner.


This is very effective at calming down redness, especially when I have poked a few zits. It doesn't remove it entirely, but usually by the time I've gotten dressed most of the redness from any acne or around the nose is reduced. After prolonged use (at least 1 week) I notice that my pores are tighter, and black/ white heads aren't as obvious. I notice that when I'm extracting blackheads, they tend to pop out very easily with minimal pressing, which means less trauma for my skin.

On the whole, I get far less zits, and the ones that do turn up pack their stuff up and leave pretty quickly. I've gone off it for a month or two after running out and not repurchasing immediately, and I notice that my pores do get more clogged, and I get bumpy comedones back again. So this stuff does work at keeping my pores in tip top shape.

This won't make your pores disappear (nothing can, any product that tells you otherwise is bluffing you and filling your pores over with silicone/ dimethicone), but it does help you make the best of what you have.

The Extra Strength version was just as good, but a tad too overwhelming for my normal (slightly combination oily) skin. This did tighten up/ clean my pores very well and reduce redness like crazy, but it also made my nose flake more. I noticed that when I used this it had the unexpected side effect of controlling my oil too well to the point my skin felt more dry than normal-combination oily. Probably more suited for people with more extreme oiliness / acne.


Solidly performing, highly effective BHA at a reasonable price point. Short of changing my DNA or filling in my face in with Crack Spackle, this exfoliant helps me make the best of the pores I've got. I would thoroughly recommend this if you have problems with acne or clogged pores. This is going on my HG "Repurchase Forever and Ever" list.

 Also, if you regularly use BHA and AHA to exfoliate your skin, you might find your Clarisonic (or other manual exfoliation tool) to be too harsh / redundant. I'd say pick one or the other to use regularly, but not both at the same time.

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