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Hello!

I realise there's a lot of topics on this product already, but none really anwser my particular predicament.

A question to people who have used the 2% BHA liquid from Paula's Choice.

I don't have inflamed acne, and never did, except when I was a young teenager but it passed on it's own. However, since then I've been left with blackheads and whiteheads everywhere on my face ONLY... And my whiteheads I mean the small flesh coloured bumps, with no head, no puss in them, unless squeezed (very hard to squeeze too.) 

I've recently purchased the  2% BHA liquid. I've been using it for 3 weeks in total. The first week or so was fine, no change in my skin, except it seemed softer, no improvement in the bumps. Enter week 2 and my face has exploded in MORE blackheads and bumps all over. Now... I've read a lot on this forum about people going through a purging stage, but they all talk about the bumps becoming inflamed and form a head then dissappearing. My situation is different, I don't see any irritation, or inflamed spots just those pesky annoying bumps except they now seem to occupy every pore. 

I'd like to know if there's someone here who went through a similar purging stage. Are these bumps just coming to the surface or is the product just clogging up my pores? I'm in two minds. On one hand it's early days and I'd like to give it at leat two months before I give up. On the other hand those bumps are impossible to get rid of and I don't want to risk clogging up my skin completley if the product is ineffective.

My current routine is:

AM
Wash with Bioderma Sebium micellar water or just plain water (I have sensitive, oily, but dry skin and any foaming cleanser makes it tight.
Ingredients: WATER (AQUA), PEG-6 CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC GLYCERIDES, SODIUM CITRATE , ZINC GLUCONATE, COPPER SULFATE, GINKGO BILOBA EXTRACT, MANNITOL, XYLITOL, RHAMNOSE, FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, CITRIC ACID, DISODIUM EDTA, CETRIMONIUM BROMIDE, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM).

PM
Wash with Bioderma Sebium
BHA 2% liquid Ingredients: 
Water (Aqua), Methylpropanediol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Polysorbate 20 (solubilizing agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent)
Mouisturise with Sebamed Clear Face gel: 
Aqua, Aloe barbadensis leaf gel, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Sodium Carbomer, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid
and/or Eucerin Face Replenishing Creme with Urea: 
AquaUreaGlycerinCaprylic/Capric TriglycerideCyclomethiconeDimethicone,Pentaerythrityl TetraisostearateTriisostearinCetyl AlcoholSodium LactateGlyceryl StearateBenzyl AlcoholPEG-40 StearateBiosaccharide Gum-1MethylparabenLactic AcidLanolin Alcohol
Phenoxyethanol


I'd really appreciate your advice. Could there be anything else in my routine clogging me up? Has anyone been through a similar stage and saw their skin clear up?


Thank you! 
Edited by Iwikiwi

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BUMP

And also in other news.

Just received my Paula's Choice Skin Balancing mouisturiser for oily skin (
Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone slip agent), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Glycerin (skin-identical agent), Niacinamide (vitamin B3/cell-communicating ingredient), Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Laminaria Saccharina (Seaweed) Extract (water-binding agent), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil (emollient plant oil/lubricant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Phenyl Trimethicone (licorice/anti-irritant), Dimethicone (licorice/anti-irritant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (licorice/anti-irritant), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), so.png (skin-identical agent), Phospholipids (cell-communicating ingredient), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Isohexadecane (emulsifier), Panthenol (vitamin B5/water binding agent), Sodium Acrylate/Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (film-forming/water-binding agent), Sodium Carbomer (gel based thickener), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone film-forming agent), Polysorbate 80 (thickener), Hydroxyethylcellulose (gel based thickener), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative). )

And 8% AHA gel (Aqua, Glycolic Acid (Alpha Hydroxy Acid, exfoliant), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (chamomile/Soothing agent), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (water-binding agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), so.png (water-binding agent), Panthenol (water-binding agent), Sodium PCA (water-binding agent), Propylene Glycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Butylene Glycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Hydroxyethylcellulose (thickener), Polyquaternium-10 (thickener), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (preservative))


Since my skin's response to BHA has been... mixed to say the least I've decided to alternate it with AHA to get rid of flaking. I'll be using AHA twice a week, and BHA three times a week with a day break inbetween. Fingers crossed. 

It's obviously to early  to post a reivew, but I've just slathered myself with the mouisturizer (skin finally flaking from the BHA..) and it is GLORIOUS texture and finish wise. I've never used anything like it before. It's a soft gel texture, dries to a complete matt finish, feels soothing and luxurious. Hands down best mouisturiser for oily skin I've tried, especially compared to Eucerin's slimey feel. 
Here's hoping it won't break me out and will keep my skin in tip top shape. 

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If your condition persists I might suggest seeing if a derm can prescribe you a retinoid. Retinoids can be effective on open comedones like what you're experiencing. They help break down whiteheads and blackheads. Differin can also help. Since you have no inflamed acne, you'd be a perfect candidate.

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Hi DeLovely, you're totally right, perhaps I should have taken that route in the first place, but it is extremley hard to be refered to a dermatologist  here in the uk. 

In London where I'm based there's at least 12 week waiting list, plus my GP refuses to refer me. I've went to  see him about my acne last year and he didn't even see my condition as an issue and told me to relax... Thanks, doctor. In a way I get his point, it doesn't cause me any discomfort or scarring I should consider myself lucky...

The second time I saw him I asked him about retinoid specifically and he laughed at me, told me there's no need for drastic measures and perscribed me a BP gel. (Which, incidently did work, but it worked by irritaing and peeling my skin so much, the blackheads disappeared for a while, but no amount of mouisturisers and gentle handling could calm down my skin and the dryness and irritation lead to new breakouts, including inflamed spots - can't win.)

I can get it online without a perscription, and I might do in the future but I'm willing to give this regimen a good three months before I give up. I have a feeling I've made my skin worse by switching to different products and methods every month or so. If I see no improvements in the next month, I will def consider it. 


On another note,  I've used the AHA gel and the PC mouisturiser yesterday night and my skin felt much more comfortable and calmer today, flakes disappeared, redness lessened, def so improvement. 
And I put on mouisturiser during the day also for the first time ever.
This is the first mouisturiser that makes my skin look matt and calm, and not oily looking. Let's hop it won't worsen my acne. 
No improvement in clogged pores and whiteheads, but no worsening today either. Fingers crossed. 

Thank you for your advice, DeLovely, I will definitlye keep it in mind for the future, but still hoping for a BHA miracle :) 

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Sorry for turning this question thread into a log, but it helps me to keep track of my progress and hopefully will help other people as well... If there's any one here with any positive or negative experiences of BHA acid, I'd love to hear from you!

So, I haven't been here in a while... Long story short... Last week was nightmarish. I mean, really bad. Dry skin, tones of new blackheads and whitheads and scabs forming over one's I've tried to squeeze out. A nightmare.  But, decided, it couldn't get any worse, so I might as well stick with it. And stick with it I did! Used BHA every other day, AHA once in a while, maybe twice a week when skin felt a bit dry. 
I can't tell if the sudden worsening was a purge or side effects of working lots of late nights in a bar i.e lack of sleep and being covered in sweat and booze. That def had to have an effect also.
However, I'm very happy to say this week... Everything seems fine. I've popped most of the  blemishes with an extractor when my skin was at it's worst. Felt extremely down, since the gunk which was coming out was thick and hard and I was under the impression BHA was meant to soften these plugs... It took my skin a little while to recover, but since then there's been no new blocked pores or blackheads. Skin seems smooth and clearer, my cheeks are now 99% smooth and the remaning clogged pores are flat and tiny. 
Forehead which was the biggest problem area has one big cluster of whiteheads but improving pretty quickly. 

Still far from perfect. Right now my skin looks like it used it in brief "my natural best" periods, but far from perfect and clog free like the product promises. Only time will tell if it's just a coincidence, or if I did indeed go through a purge and things will only get better from now on. 
Saying that, I feel SO MUCH BETTER.
It's the first time in months now I've felt comfortable with how my face looks. 

Fingers crossed that it was the purge and in a few weeks things will get even better. 



BHA stories anyone? Please share. 

 

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Hello, it's me again, reporting that my good results where just a good week an nothing else it seems... Skin returned to it's previous blackhead galore glory. 
I stopped BHA for a while to see if the formulation was causing the problem, and continued with AHA only. Things got better at first, for two weeks, than went back to normal. 
I stopped using Paula's Choice thinking it might be causing the problem... Switched to 2% Bravura's salicylic acid, which has less ingredients and less breaking out potential, I hope. It also seems to be slightly more potent... I used it for the first time yesterday and caused slight stinging and my face turned a little red for an hour or so. It seems to have slightly lower PH which might explain my reaction (listed on the website as 3ph, Paula's is supposedly 3.4-3.8 I think, not sure if that's enough to make such a big difference or maybe the anti irritants in Paula's were counteracting it..) I'll take itt easy with this one and ease my skin into it 

I can't tell if it's Paula's choice that was the issue or not.

I'd appreciate input from people who have used salicylic acid successfully. Did u go through a purging stage? Did u use a different formulation to Paula's with success?

 

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I've just read your log here. How are you getting on? I've actually ordered the 8 % AHA from Paula to see if my skin tolerates it better, thinking it might work in tandem with a retinoid. I don't know. I've used salycilic acid for 3 or so years, mostly just cleanser based and for the first year it really helped. I still have a BHA  cleanser but it seems to have lost its effect so to speak. I have Stridex pads too which contain 2 % salycilic acid but they only really break me out.

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Hey sorry I haven't updated this in a long time and I went through a bit of a panic stage and used a lot and too much, but long story short I found something which really works for me finally :)
I use micellar water to cleanse day and night and I find its enough to get the grime off (I'm very very oily) but doesn't irritate which is super.

Now... What really cleared me wasn't aha or bha but Benzoyl peroxide...
The acids were not working and I got supper irritated and went back to it cause I remembered it worked when I was a teen. I used it on top of my moisturiser everynight and it literally sloughed off all the closed comedones in two weeks... Some more stubborn ones I've had to extract. 

However, since they've gone I started using acids again and they have kept me clear, not the Benzoyl. I don't use it anymore. 

My theory is that acids are simply not aggressive enough to break down clogs but they do keep them from forming. 

I use the bha daily at night and aha only once a week, or less. That's because I've found if I use it too often I burn in the sun even with a high speed sunscreen and my skin feels a bit raw. Once a week is just enough to make my skin look a bit fresher. :)

But yeah... All this freaking out that salicylic was breaking me out when in reality it was just my skin doing its own oily thing. 

I would recommend it to keep skin clear but I dobt think it's effective at getting rid of existing problems, or maybe is but very slowly. So is the aha. :)

I've been mostly clear now for nearly two weeks for the first time in 6 months, and it's getting better each day. Doesn't seem like much but I know the rate at which my skin was becoming clogged before and I can tell it's not going back down the same road again. 

I currently use: eucerin or bioderma micellar water, Paula's Choice invisible moisture gel and Paula's Choice spf 50 fluid in the morning. Then micellar water, Paula's bha gel I wait 30 mins then moisturiser, either Paula's or eucerin replenishing face cream with 5% urea :)



Re your post, I think salicylic in cleansers will be much less effective because it needs to be the right ph to work and as soon as you add tap water to rinse it of it would be neutralised? Also it probably wouldn't stay on your skin for long enough. I've never used stridex pads but I've looked them up and read a lot about them and it seems they irritate everyone except the people with the toughest of skins, so I wouldn't blame the bha, but the formulation itself... 
Paula's Choice products are actually excellent so it's good to give them a shot! Just dont over do it if ypur using acids and retinod, it might be way too much for your skin. 





 

Ps, that other bha product I've used when I thought Paulas bha was breaking me out, was so shit, had to stop it after 2 uses cause of irritation.  I don't agree with everything she has to say, but she does know how to formulate soothing products for sure...

Edited by Iwikiwi

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I'm really happy that your a lot clearer. That's honestly great. I use benzoyl peroxide still in the morning usually. I really like the sound of you routine, I hope it works out and continues to work!  

I've used the bioderma water for a few days now and I like it,I don't wear makeup and heard a ton of people using it as a makeup remover but it still takes so much crap off my face without it. Did you ever notice yourself breaking out with it? 

I've unfortunately recently caught some sun on my face, stupidly did not wear sunscreen and was sitting in the sun for like 2 hours straight! Silly me. My AHA arrived yesterday, I was thinking about patch testing it on my chin or nose area tonight before bed. 

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No I've never broken out from it and I've been using it on and off for over a year, in fact, a had a period of very clear skin using just bioderma and my standard moisturiser and no actives. I don't think it treats acne per se but avoiding tap water and foaming cleansers made the biggest difference for me...
It works on make up to, but yeah I don't wear any either, when I put on mascara and shadows it gets rid of it all tho :) I did a little experimenot and cleansed with tap water on a cotton pad and it came almost clean... I followed it with the micellar water and it was sooooo dirty! Def can attest to its cleaning power!

God yeah I did the same thing a few days ago, acne actives and sun are the worst... Thinking about quitting the acids or reducing then for the summer months. Spf 50 a must for now I think...

Patch test is Def a good idea even for a week or more to see how ypur skin reacts! But I'd still be wary of doing a few actives at once but I'm not using a retinod so I'm not an expert. I'm sure I've read a few topics on here from people who were doing both at the same time maybe I'd be useful to read them.

Let me know how you get on! I'm so tempted to incorporate retinol my for its anti aging benefits and maybe even replacing acids, but I have sensitive skin and that might be a big problem. 

I've read on here somewhere something about a product called Green Cream that's meant to give fantastic results but it's not as strong as the perscription retinoids...


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Hi. As you probably remember, I had a negative experience with PC BHAs. I just never stopped breaking out. I'm on a break from it at the momnet while I try to get my skin back under control from using the glycerin and water combo as a moisturizer but I've still got the 2% skin perfecting BHA liquid to try, then I'm done with SA. I think I may be allergic to it or something and added to that, it doesn't prevent closed comedones, blackheads and sebaceous filaments from forming. It's not strong enough. 

Benzoyl peroxide has been the one treatment I've had the most success with. I'm glad it worked for you. :)

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Hi again hopingforamiracle, yeah it sounds like it's not a good match for you and I definitely agree it's not strong enough to get rid of spots or blackheads, didn't work for me either. I think it is preventing them from forming in my case but I guess it's kind of early days, I might just be clear as a result of the Benzoyl. I'm going on holiday this week for two weeks so I won't be doing any more experimentation and I'll stick with it and see how it goes. I am taking my Benzoyl with me as a precaution tho. 

I'm v sad it's not as good as people say it would be...perhaps people who liked it have very soft skin and soft sebum. Gosh, who knows, it's so complicated. 

Giving your skin a break is a v good idea. And at least now you can cross of one method of your list and you're one step closer to a solution :)

I'll be honest, if I dobt continue seeing improvements while I'm away, I'll be very tempted to try the retinoid route. Very slowly and gently...

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I got my bumps from the sunscreen two days before my holiday. I mean f*ck a duck, what is that all about?!

It's not so bad, but I'm pissed off. 
just when you think you're safe...

We are never safe. 

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3 hours ago, Iwikiwi said:

I got my bumps from the sunscreen two days before my holiday. I mean f*ck a duck, what is that all about?!

It's not so bad, but I'm pissed off. 
just when you think you're safe...

We are never safe. 

You know what, write to Paulas Choice, that you break out too much and you want your money back. No results, no payment. 

Instead of investing in her brands, try to find something more gentle. You can actually do your own chemical peels with BHA using asparine as a face mask. You safe money and it contains BHA, you can do them weekly.

I actually found out that lactic acid works so much better for my skin. At first i thought BHA was the only solution for acne, now i'm doing weekly lactic acid treatments and my skin is really in control. Just write to me if you wan't to know more - and as you said, not trying to sell anything.

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Hey Alex, I actually do have a lactic acid treatment I used to use with some success, so might revert to it for a little while. It works slowly but it's tried and tested for months so at least there won't be surprises. 

I'm pretty sure that aspirin doesn't have the same exfoliating effects as salicylic acid, they come from the same family buy are quite chemically different, although it must have an amazing antinflamatory effects on pimples.  I have links to a website which sells ingredients for a diy BHA serum, peel and toner, but I don't want to experiment too much at the moment and I will be spending a lot of time in the sun :)

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8 minutes ago, Iwikiwi said:

Hey Alex, I actually do have a lactic acid treatment I used to use with some success, so might revert to it for a little while. It works slowly but it's tried and tested for months so at least there won't be surprises. 

I'm pretty sure that aspirin doesn't have the same exfoliating effects as salicylic acid, they come from the same family buy are quite chemically different, although it must have an amazing antinflamatory effects on pimples.  I have links to a website which sells ingredients for a diy BHA serum, peel and toner, but I don't want to experiment too much at the moment and I will be spending a lot of time in the sun :)


Yep, that is a good point :) i did a lactic acid 40% today and it gives really good results. I don't use BHA at all. If i were you i would really throw all PC products away, I did it and i regret spending money at that crap.

Skærmbillede 2016-05-10 kl. 21.13.33.png

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Does look very promising. Can u link me to the brand you use, and also how is it irritation and redness wise for a first time user?

Pretty sure the serum i have is around 5% if even but i remember it worked nicely :)

Edited by Iwikiwi

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Ok, so. I just got back from the holiday and I was delighted the bumps I had before I went disappeared within 3 days, with a bit of extraction, benzoyl and moisturising and I stayed clear the entire holiday! Through sweat, heavy sunscreen, long haul flights, jet lag and drinking. It was kind unbelievable. 

However, a week in back from the holiday all returned to it's previous bumpy glory. 
I'm beginning to think there some deeper underlying cause for this but i can't say I'm doing anything differently. I drink tons of water, have a healthy diet, I don't have allergy... An in any case... they're just clogged pores, not inflamed acne, so what the hell? Where can they be coming from if my routine stays so constant?

Anyways, they are not bad at all. Not as bad as when I first started this thread at all, so, progress. However, I've decided to switch my acids to a retinoid, like the first advice on got on here. They just don't seem to as effective as they should be. 

I like the additional strong anti wrinkle effect also - a lot. 

I'm hoping to get my prescription filled this weekend and I'll go very slow. I don't want to undo all the good work! Once every three days on top of my moisturiser to start with, every two days on top for the foreseeable future, if the first week goes well. 

I'm not desperate for results, skin is good, just a bit clogged, but I am curious. Whatever I read about acne, always, always, always concludes with a retinoid, so I think i'll be really gutted if I don't at least try it. 

I'll keep a log on here...
(Praying for no purge)

 

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I've started Differin today. My bumps kept coming on going on the acids BP routine and driving me mad this week, so I'm very happy to try something new. Starting slow and will update. So terrified of purging but hoping for an improvement in six weeks time.

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First week on Differin complete! Wish I was on 6 weeks already...
So far, not much change. A bit of flaking yesterday, slight redness and tenderness sometimes, so I'm giving my face breaks every other day or so, as planned, although I admit I've been a bit too into it lately... 

So far no changes, on my nose, cheeks or chin, blackheads still there, minimal bumps.
Forehead currently covered in bumps and blackheads but I can't really say they are worse than before. I think they must be about the same.
Plus, I didn't expect it to get any better after two days of drinking, not sleeping and not washing my face, mmm, I know, bad, but it has to be done sometimes. 

Some of the bumps do look suspiciously inflamed and they usually don't so slightly worried, but nothing to panic about. 
Excited for week two!

Dreading week 3 when the purge is meant to catch up with me, eek. 





WEEK TWO FINISHED

On Friday I started flaking like you wouldn't believe! Stupidly, I applied Differin anyway and the brand new skin underneath the flakes got red tender and parched! Had a little break yesterday, and everything normalised except my nostrils which are still on fire.... No change in skin, bumps still there but tiny. Sometimes I get the impression that my pores look clearer but I really can't tell. I guess, so far, nothing is happening. I was kind of excited to see the flaking, ha, just to know that it's working. 

Edited by Iwikiwi

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WEEK THREE

I think the purge has started, duh duh duh! 

Noticed more blackheads around the cheek area, skin seems bumpy and dry, lots of nasty whiteheads in random places, usually small but bloody annoying and lots and lots of blackheads on the forehead. Giving my skin a break today and moisturizing loads! 

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