Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment Review

I’m a huge believer in chemical exfoliation, but my skin is so weird about Alpha Hydroxy Acids sometimes. Lactic acids are generally pretty safe for me, but glycolic acid can go either way. Sometimes they work like a dream, and sometimes I wind up with chemical burn, or never-ending skin flakes for what seems like no good reason at all.  The thing is, I love what AHA does for my skin when it works, so I remain persistent. After my success with Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid, I figured if any AHA was going to work for me, it would be a Paula’s Choice formula. I tried the 8% AHA first, and it was a flake festival no matter how I used it – I tried it with and without BHA, I tried it every other day and even every 2 days, but no matter what I did,  the days that followed always ended with a full beard made out of dead skin by the time 5PM rolled around. I was almost ready to give up on glycolic acid altogether, but thankfully I didn’t, because then I never would have discovered Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment

Here’s a little summary about AHAs for the uninitiated:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are plant-derived acids that, when formulated with the correct pH and concentration, exfoliate the surface layer of skin and promote healthy cell growth to replace dead skin cells. AHAs are great for refining skin texture, lightening dark spots, and they’re one of the few skincare actives that have substantial scientific proof demonstrating their efficacy against fine lines and wrinkles.

They do have a dark side though – an AHA that’s too strong can damage skin. If it’s not formulated with the right pH (3.4-3.8), it won’t do much of anything at all. Some AHAs  don’t play nicely with sensitive skin types – I remember trying to use an AHA back when I first started using a prescription Tretinoin cream – big mistake. Huge.

My skin is less sensitive than it used to be though, so my love affair with AHA is back on. I’m in a pretty serious relationship right now with a high-end lactic acid toner I started using a few months ago (review forthcoming), but I need more. That’s where the Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment comes in.

What is it?

Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment ($30) is a 10% AHA (in the form of glycolic acid) treatment that promises to even skin tone, brighten skin tone, stimulate collagen production, and reduce wrinkles.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment



Water, Methylpropanediol, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Hydroxide, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin C), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Lamium Album (White Nettle) Flower Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Ulmus Fulva Bark Extract, Glycerin, Allantoin, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.

One of the things I like so much about Paula’s hydroxy acid formulas is the absence of alcohol. The combination of alcohol and acids really doesn’t agree with my skin, which is unfortunate since most acid products seem to favor the combination. In addition to the 10% AHA content, I also like the number of antioxidant and anti-irritant ingredients included in the formula. Here are some of the ingredient highlights:

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a sugar cane derived Alpha Hydroxy Acid that acts as a chemical exfoliator. It works by removing dead skin cells to reveal and promote the growth of newer, healthier cells. It’s used to treat fine lines, hyperpigmentation, melasma, and dullness.

For more on glycolic acid, check out:

Glycolic acid peel therapy – a current review, 2013
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology

Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity, 2010
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice

Aloe is a classic skincare ingredient for very good reason. It contains antioxidant properties with Vitamins A, C, and E, fatty acids, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, as well as naturally occurring salicylic acid. It’s fantastic at treating acne, redness, and dryness, among other things.

If you’d like to learn more about aloe, check out this wonderfully detailed summary from the Indian Journal of Dermatology.

Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract

Green tea has a multitude of studies showing its skincare benefits. Its active, skin-friendly component is polyphenols, which possess powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

This study from June of 2013 showed green tea extract to have a prolonged moisturizing effect, reduce skin roughness, and improve skin microrelief (wrinkles):

The use of green tea extract in cosmetic formulations: not only an antioxidant active ingredient

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract

Licorice Root is one of my all time favorite skincare ingredients. It’s often used in skincare formulas for it’s brightening properties and its ability to lighten hyperpigmentation, but it’s also anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial.


Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment



According to CosDNA, the only real red flag in this ingredient lineup is Sodium Hydroxide, which ranks a 5 out of 5 as a potential irritant. It’s worth noting, however, that this score reflects the properties of unreacted Sodium Hydroxide. In this product, it’s used as a pH adjuster. Because it’s been reacted, it is 100% benign in this formula.



Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment comes packaged in an unceremonious, yet adequately functional blue, plastic bottle. The dispenser is just a standard shaker opening.

The product itself is a clear liquid that’s a bit thicker than water.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment


The ideal pH for a glycolic action to work effectively without causing irritation is between 3 and 4. Some clinical peels are administered with an even lower pH, but once it dips below 3, chances of irritation or skin damage increases. Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment has a pH of right around 3.5.



There will never be an eau de parfum paying homage to the smell of this treatment. This product smells like nail polish remover. It is not overpowering though, and it does not linger.


When I use Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment, I pat my face dry after cleansing in the evening, and pour out an amount approximately the diameter of a cherry into my hands. I spread the liquid over my face with my fingers, and then quickly rinse my hands (I don’t want peely fingertips). Then I wait for about 20-30 minutes while the acid does its work. This product definitely has the characteristic acid “tingle.” It feels a bit like my face on a super low-powered electric fence. I’ve grown to enjoy it, but those new to acids might find it too uncomfortable. If you do, it’s okay to wash it off. You might learn to love it later – it’s an acquired taste.

After I’ve waited, I apply the rest of my skincare routine, but omit my Tretinoin and BHA.  The instructions indicate that you can wash it off it you’d like, but I don’t see the point. By the time 30 minutes has gone by and I’ve applied other products to my face, the pH has been neutralized. Besides, washing it off would deprive me of all those exciting anti-inflammatory ingredients I’m always blathering on about!


I used Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. I did not experience any breakouts or irritation as a result of using this product.  For the first two weeks, I was also using the Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum, so keep that in mind when viewing the before & afters.



I found the effects of this treatment to be both instantaneous and long term. In the short term, my skin had a little extra glow the day after using this treatment. The texture was smoother, and pores were less visible. Over the course of 4 weeks, my PIH lightened significantly. Best of all, flaking was minimal – I flaked a little a day or two after the treatment, but nothing on the magnitude of dead skin I often experience with other glycolic acid treatments.

I’m incredibly impressed with this product – I love that I get all the benefits of AHA without any of the drawbacks. My skin type is dry, but I think it would work well on normal and oily skin as well. I consider my skin to be sensitive, though not as sensitive as it used to be. I think this is an excellent treatment for those new to acids, or for people who have had issues with AHAs in the past. I will definitely buy this product again.

Pros Cons
  • Brightens skin tone
    Evens skin tone
    Lightens PIH
    Minimal flaking
    Reduces fine lines
  • Smells unpleasant (but not for long)

Skin & Tonics Rating

A 20/20 Efficacy 18/20 Ingredients 20/20 Application 17/20 Wear 20/20 Packaging
Total: 95 Rating system details »

Where to Buy

Store Price Offers
Paula's Choice Online store (currently serving US, Australia, and Asia) $30 There's currently a 15% off sale for the entire Paula's Choice site. New customers can use my referral link to receive $10 off their first order. Offers are stackable.    buy
Paula's Choice (Europe) Online store (currently serving the European Union) €33.50 buy

This post contains affiliate links. Shopping these links helps support this site. Full disclosure »

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57 comments onPaula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment Review

  1. I’m glad you liked this one so much; it makes sense you took a break from the tretinoin and the BHA when you used this.

    I liked this one better than the 8% AHA gel by Paula’s Choice as well, which I tried in samples, but was never motivated to get a full-size of it. I haven’t tried the weekly treatment in a long time, but I remember having to be careful with it at first. Yet because I liked the results, I didn’t give up on it after the first try. I prefer Skin Authority’s Resurfacing Accelerator when I need something powerful (in AHA form) for my ultra-sensitive skin. I don’t think it has alcohol in it either 🙂

    • Kerry

      I haven’t heard of that Skin Authority one before. I’ll have to check that out! Where do you get yours?

      • Cynthia

        Hi Kerry,

        I’m sorry I didn’t realize you replied to my comment, but I’m glad you did 🙂

        I got my Skin Authority Resurfacing Accelerator online, but some spas carry their products too. I didn’t think there was one local to me, but it turned out there was. I’ll include the link so you can see what states they have spas (then you can click on the state to see if there is a location accessible to you).

        It is a gel though rather than a liquid, is 15% Glycolic Acid and the pH is 3.7

        The main reason it’s a special product for me is it helped my skin a lot at a time when it was at its worst (acne-wise) and sensitive. It might have also even been my gateway into having hope that I could find good skincare 🙂 And if my skin were really bad and I was forced to choose only one product, I’d probably pick this one. I first tried it February of 2013.

        All that said, I generally like to save this product for when my skin is worse. My skin seems to like Glycolic Acid more than other acids. So I’m always trying to incorporate that ingredient at some level. When I don’t, my skin seems to miss it.

        This next link I’ll share was an unexpected more recent find at a Rite Aid for half price. I felt lucky it didn’t disappoint me. I find it more gentle than the Paula’s Choice glycolic liquid one, but I’m not sure of the pH.

        I ordered my first sample of the Paula’s Choice glycolic liquid one and a full-size back in May 2013. There was a discount on the RESIST line at that time. I finally feel like I’m making progress on using mine up. I can’t tell if I have about 1/2 the product left or a bit less.

        I’ve been trying a new routine with it in it and am able to use it more than once a week.

        Neostrata Exfoliating Wash (Cleansing Foam) > Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner > Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment > Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence > Shea Terra Yangu Oil (still working on a sample) > RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (putting this product on in this routine I enjoy it more than in the past) > Renee Rouleau Phytolipid Comfort Cream

        I really was just playing around with some products I had when I put together this routine, but the textures seem to play nicely with each other and I noticed more immediate brightening and glow-iness than I think I ever have. I’m thinking I should give credit to the Paula’s Choice glycolic liquid 🙂

  2. This product looks so promising!
    I have some incredibly dark and stubborn post acne hyperpigmentation marks that have been around for months. I’ve been using the Mario Badescu Vitamin C serum and Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner for months to no significant effect on my dark spots. I’ve also been using the Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturiser on and off for almost a year and while it’s great for smoothing out my skin it doesn’t seem to make a difference in my dark spots either.
    I’ve recently incorporated the Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid and Skinceuticals 0.5 Retinol cream into my routine. I feel a little crazy for wanting to add another strong product to my routine but I hate these dark spots so much! I don’t even get pimples that often, but when I do they leave these annoying ass marks behind for me to deal with. ><

    • Kerry

      I know what you mean, Bebe! My PIH tends to linger for months on end, and it’s really frustrating. I don’t think you’re crazy for wanting to add another strong product. The nice thing about this treatment is that it’s only a once a week situation, and you’re supposed to skip the other strong stuff on the day you use it.

      What do you think of PTR 10% Moisturizer?

      • charlotte

        Kerry, great post. Will definitely wanna try this. Hope it was okay to reply to Bebe’s post, i could just feel her pain 🙂

    • Charlotte

      Hi Bebe, was going through the same thing, has HIP several shades darker, drove me crazy. I tried alot of product including PTR, but it didnt work for me.

      But I finally got a skincare routine that reduced my stubborn hyperpigmentation by 60% better in a month. Key products that helped – See below:

      Wash with gentle cleanser and use a cleansing brush on hyperpigmentation areas gently

      10% glycolic peel pads focusing on hyperpigmentation first, then all over (I use Avon retexturing ones got it from Amazon)
      Brightening Serum ( should have vitamin C and another brightening ingredient like arbutin, or Licorice, – kerry has reviewed some great ones on her website – you can view OST Vitamin C, Sure White Serum, Rohto Hada Labo Shirojyun Deep Whitening Essence, or [Its Skin] Power10 Formula Li Effector – Skin Tone Recovery)

      Let me know if you would like to see my full skincare routine. Hope this helps.

      • Kerry

        Hey Charlotte! Where did you find your Sure White Serum?

        • Charlotte

          Hi Kerry,

          I got it from a beauty store but it is available on Amazon :-). I am about to order the Paula Choice Resurfacing Treatment, I like that it does not irritate.

          I tried PTR Glycolic Hydrating gel and it was a peel-fest, and I do not have sensitive skin. I tried Avon’s Glycolic Peel Pads, its not too bad.

          I really wanted to order your lactic acid toner, but can’t find it online. Do you know where I can get it?

          • Kerry

            Hey Charlotte! The lactic acid toner I’m using is actually from another brand, Biologique Recherche. The toner is called P50. There are several different types of P50. I’ll be reviewing it in about a week and will break them down then. If you want to try ordering it before then, I would recommend contacting Rescue Spa or Vick Morav, and asking someone there which P50 is best for your skin type. I’d also personally recommend that you choose one of the “new formula” versions without phenol (I’ll talk about why in my review).


            There are two similar products that I have purchased, but haven’t used enough to form an opinion about how they compare to the P50 yet. They are significantly less expensive than P50, so they might be worth looking into as well. One is the lactic acid AHA toner from Silk Naturals, and the other is a glycolic acid AHA toner called Pixi Glow Tonic:


          • Charlotte

            Kerry, will wait for your review before I get it.

      • Bebe

        Thanks for your suggestions, Charlotte! I’d love to see your full skincare routine. 😀
        Do you think the Paula’s Choice RESIST treatment would be ok to use in place of the Avon pads? Being from Australia, I can’t order cosmetics off of Amazon unfortunately.

        • Charlotte

          Hi Bebe,

          I actually like Paula’s Choice over Avon pads after reading Kerry’s review, as it has 10% glycolic acid as well. You just need to get a textured pad to rub on the the darker areas.I tried other glycolic products but it was only Avon that made a difference as it had a textured pad.
          So sorry to hear you cannot order from amazon :-(. You could also try using one of those mail forwarding companies like bongo, if the cost is reasonable.

          Sure no problem, here is my routine ( I have oily/acne prone skin):

          Cleanser: Soy Face Cleanser with Mary Kay cleansing brush all over face but focusing on darker areas
          Toner: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner
          Essence: Missha Time Revolution the first treatment essence
          Treatment: Acne Stress lotion (mainly for my acne)
          Brightening Serum: Sure white (basically any brightening serum that has ascorbic acid, (vitamin C) and niacinamide or arbutin or licorice – kerry reviewed some on her blog and you can also try.. I have seen good reviews for [Its Skin] Power10 Formula Li Effector – Skin Tone Recovery snd Rohto Hada Labo Shirojyun Deep Whitening Essence as well
          Emulsion/Moisturizer: Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation ( has Licorice in it too)
          Sunscreen: Image SPF 50 (wait for 15-30mins) Will try the Biore SPF Kerry reviewed
          Finisher:Becca Skin Perfector
          Primer: Currently testing Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner and Too Face poreless primer

          Make-up Remover: Laneige Lip and Eye makeup Cleanser
          Oil Cleaner: Sulwhasoo moisture Moisture Deep Cleansing oil
          Cleanser: Same as above ( i message my face during this step)
          Toner: Same as above
          Treatment: Avon 10% Glycolic peel pads (only on Hyperpigmentation areas – wait 30mins to 1 hour for it to absorb)
          Essence: Skip
          Booster: Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid (for extra hydration)
          Serum: Brightening Serum – (same as above –
          Serum: Target Sport Serum – Sure white Toning gel (only to very dark hyper-pigmentation areas – wait for 30 mins to 1 hour for both serums to absorb)
          Emulsion/moisturizer: Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
          Oil: Camilla Oil (mix 2-3 drops with emulsion)
          Eye Cream: Sulwhasoo Essential Rejuvenating Eye Cream
          Cream: Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream or AmorePacific Future Response Future Response ( love both of these korean creams)

          Other Treatments:
          Brightening Mask: Hadalabo Shirojyun Medicated Bikhaku Whitening facial sheet Mask, 203 times a week, after toner
          Exfoliation: Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel or Avon Glycolic Peel all over face
          Pore Mask: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask or Dr. Jart+ PORE MEDIC Pore Purifying Sheet Mask 2 times a week (mainly cos of my acne)
          Sleeping Mask: Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial and Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Treatment

          Hope this helps. You can try w2 beauty and sasa for the korean brands.

        • Charlotte

          Hi Bebe,

          Also just wanted to add the Glycolic treatment should tingle, if it doesn’t then that means you need something stronger you can either go up to 15% or add a 5% glycolic moisturizer to your routine.

          Here’s a variation to the routine in which you can add Retina A or 0.5 Retinol (but you test to see if your skin need to ensure you skin can handle it):

          Treatment: 10% Glycolic Acid
          Serum: Serum Brightening with key ingredients as mention in my previous post
          Serum Spot Brightening serum on dark hyper-pigmentation areas

          Treatment: Retin A or 0.5 Retinol (either after your toner or at the end as Kerry suggested to see which one works for your skin)
          Same serum steps as above

          Once, my hyper-pigmentation is done, I will stop using the daily glycolic treatments and brightening serum and maintain my skin with Vitamin C serum, weekly glycolic treatment like Paula’s and SPF 50 Sunscreen.

          Good luck.

  3. I’d love to try it because have so many acne marks and my skin doesn’t help too, but seems they don’t ship to Chile :/ and the price doesn’t seem expensive for the results.
    Do you know what brand could I try? Doesn’t matter if its a korean brand, I’d love if it is.

    thank you in advance 🙂

    • Kerry

      Hi Evelyn! Paula’s Choice doesn’t ship to Chile? What a letdown!

      I know the Korean brand Mizon makes an 8% AHA Serum. I haven’t tried it before, but my friend Tiffany/Samplehime loves it. You can check out her review of it here :

      • Yes, it’s sad because here we have many brands that promises heaven and earth at ridiculous high prices and the products are bs. That’s why I started with korean cosmetics.
        I’ve read that entry before haha, so I’m going to buy it, it’s not expensive at all ^^

        Btw, Do you know about anyone who had tested the syn-ake version of It’s skin 10 power formula serum?

        and thank you for answer to my questions, you’re so sweet ^^

  4. Jess

    Hi, I’m using the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA and the weekly 4%BHA at the moment. Do you think there would be any benefit in adding this to the regimen? Thanks!

    • Kerry

      Hi Jess! I do! I also have the 2% and 4% BHA treatment and have noticed that this AHA treatment has different results. I would describe the BHA treatments at being more visibly effective for oil and acne, and the AHA as having a more visible effect on dark spots/PIH, and overall dullness. I think they both do a great job reducing pore appearance and improving skin texture.

      • Jess

        Good to know. I’ve got some spots I’d like to get rid of too! Just to clarify, do you use the 4%BHA and this AHA at the same time, or are you giving the BHA a rest whilst you use this? Thanks again!

  5. sara

    hi what cleanser and moisturizer do u recommend for an oily combo skin person on retin a ? I keep breaking out and i am so desperate please do help! 🙂

    • Kerry

      Hi Sara! Where do you live? I can recommend some cleansers for you to try, but I’d like to make sure I’m recommending something that’s available in your area. 🙂

      • sara

        Hi Kerry! thanks for responding your so nice! I live in NY, USA and ordering products online would not be a problem for me at all. I love your reviews on shea terra products ( the after sun crème looks interesting to me since it lightens dark sun spots have you tried it ?- as long as its not greasy and break out prone haha ) Thanks!

  6. Dianna

    Just bought this treatment. It’s on sale right now for $25.50…so with the $10off code I paid $18 including shipping. I’m excited to try this! It even seems like your pores reduced which is what I am trying to do plus get rid of some hyper-pigmentation.

    • Kerry

      $18 is a great deal! I’d love to know what you think of it after you’ve had a chance to try it a couple of times. Please keep me posted, Dianna! 🙂

  7. Hajar

    Hello Kerry 🙂
    I’ve been reading most of your reviews months ago and still following your new posts I love how your reviews are detailed and well explained
    the thing is, I never used some real skincare or treatment I’m 22 y.o and I have sensitive acne prone skin so I’m wondering if this product won’t be harmful (I fell in love with the formula and the fact that it’s fragrance free is more encouraging)
    thank you 🙂

    • Kerry

      Hi Hajar!I think you’d be okay with this product, but you might want to leave it on for a shorter period of time the first couple of times you use it – try 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time, and build up from there. Be sure to pay attention to the way your face feels – if the acid tingle is too uncomfortable, wash it off.

      Since you haven’t tried any AHAs before, patch testing is extra important. To patch test, put a little bit of the product on your jawline, preferably close to your ear. Leave it on for the amount of time you would normally leave it on your face, then wash it off. For the next 24 hours, keep an eye out for any redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation. If you don’t see any, you should be okay.

      The Paula’s Choice website does sell samples, so you can make sure it will work for you before you invest in a full size.

  8. Bethany

    After reading this review and re-reading your review on the Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum I did a total impulse buy and bought the Hanyul Serum. I definitely have more of the sensitive skin type so I thought that this would be a good option to brighten my skin tone from the dull winter look as well as get rid of the hyper-pigmentation I get from hormonal acne. I do have my eye on some PC products so this will be on my wishlist next. Although I did try out their RESIST BHA 9, but it didn’t really work at all on my blackheads like I read it would. I find that the combination of Benton’s Serum, Shea Terra’s rose hips and black soap, as well as tamanu oil works best for those little buggers. Now just to find those products for hormonal acne.

    P.S. I’m in love with your new layout and rating system!

    • Kerry

      Thanks, Bethany!

      I really like the BHA 9, but I use it on active acne spots and/or closed comedones. I fortunately haven’t had any blackheads to try it on.

      That Hanyul Serum is really lovely. I’d love to know how it works out for you when you get it! Also, don’t make the mistake I did – don’t shake the bottle until you’ve switched caps. 🙂

    • Bethany, read up on DIM. It really reduces (and in most cases totally eliminates) hormonal acne. I absolutely swear by it. The one I take is called EstroBlock Pro. I’ve also taken Pure Caps DIM Detox and that works well too, but for my body in particular, the former works best. See which works best for you, but I definitely recommend you give it a shot.

      Steph x

      P.S. Bethany – I recently came across your site and you are fantastic. I love how thorough and witty you are. Amazing work!

  9. sara

    kerry, your skin is glowy and amazing perfection. i might have to try this just because your skin is what mine wants to be when it grows up! (alas, i’m 27.)

  10. Stephanie

    Thanks for this review! I have the 8% AHA as well, but while it doesn’t seem to have a terrible reaction to my skin, I really loathe the feeling of the gel and prefer a watery texture. It’s awesome that this can have such a dramatic effect if you do this weekly! I might have to add this to my list of products that I need to try.

    The new layout looks so beautiful, and I like how you have an informative PH section in your review! I also love that the newsletter actually emails you about your new posts, because sometimes I miss the updates on FB.

    • Kerry

      Thanks, Stephanie! 🙂

      This treatment definitely doesn’t feel like the gel – but it’s not watery either. I think it feels like a serum, in terms of viscosity. It absorbs more quickly than the gel does but not as fast as a watery product would.

  11. … and this just shot to the top of my wishlist. Describing the acid tingle as like mild electric fence is funny – I never would have thought of it that way, but it’s sort of apt. Is it weird that I kind of like that feeling? O_O

  12. Wow, so bright and even! I’m bit afraid of AHA too… I just use BHA more often instead, but glycolic acid is so tempting for me… before I’ve been using Le’Maadr – 12% glycolic peel and it worked quite ok, now I have no choice- I have to try Paula’s Choice;D

    • Kerry

      Let me know how it works out for you when you try it! AHAs are so wonderful when they go right, and such a nightmare when they go wrong.

  13. Antara

    Hi Kerry! Lovely blog. I was wondering if this product is suitable for those who haven’t tried any “resurfacing” treatments before? Thanks… 🙂

    • Kerry

      Hi Antara! I’ll tell you the same thing I told Hajar – I think you’d be okay with this product, but you might want to leave it on for a shorter period of time the first couple of times you use it. You can try 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time, and build up from there. Pay attention to the way your face feels, and if the acid tingle is too uncomfortable, wash it off.

      Patch testing is extra important. To do that, put a little bit of product on your jawline, close to your ear. Leave it on for the amount of time you would normally leave it on your face, then wash it off. Keep an eye out for any redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation over the next 24 hours. If you don’t see any, you should be okay.

      Also, the Paula’s Choice website does sell samples, so you can try it before investing in a full size. 🙂

  14. K.N.

    I just purchased this based on your recommendation. I was leaning towards Avene’s Retrinol or drug store Alpha Hydrox, but your photos are so convincing and I’m battling the same concerns. The discount was the final push off the cliff.

    • Kerry

      I hope you love it KN! 🙂 Avene also has an AHA/BHA treatment I want to try called Cleanance K.

  15. Happy_Canadian

    First and foremost, love the site, and especially your new review system!

    Just wanted to ask a question, Tretinoin vs AHA – What was your experience between the two, why would you pick one over the other, or is there room for both? WHY!? 😛

    • Kerry

      I use them both together, but I had to wait nearly a year after starting Tretinoin before I could use any acids with it. Switching to a time release formula of Tretinoin helped quite a bit in that area too. But if I had to choose one or the other? I think I’d actually choose BHA & AHA over Tretinoin! I like that I can vary the strength and delivery mechanism based on what my skin is like on any given day. I also think acids are better at imparting that overall glow effect, and AHA is definitely faster when it comes lightening PIH.

      • Happy_Canadian

        Thanks for the response. That’s interesting actually. I know some people say Tretinoin is their HG product, but maybe I just haven’t used it right in the past, and scared the heck out of myself for it! When my Sunscreen comes in (Hada Labo UV Moist Emulsion SPF50+ PA+++) I would love to start an AHA as well!

        If you had to alternate, would you switch between the two daily? i.e.: Day1: BHA, Day 2:AHA, Day 3: BHA etc..?

        Annnd finally, a request. I’m pretty sure I speak for most of us when I say we’d love to see some more sunscreen reviews 😀

        • Kerry

          Hmmm. Would I switch between them? Right now I’m not – I’m using an AHA toner twice a day, a BHA 2% treatment once a day, Tretinoin every two days, and a 10% AHA treatment once a week. I’ve tried incorporating a stronger AHA (8%) in addition to my AHA toner in the past, and alternated with the BHA, but it made my face flake like crazy. I think the AHA toner, BHA treatment, and weekly AHA treatment is my sweet spot for acids.

          I will say, I don’t think my face could have handled a daily AHA toner and a daily BHA treatment when I was using the Tretinoin cream. When I first started the cream, my skin became insanely sensitive. After a year of using the cream, my skin was less sensitive than when I started it, but still far more sensitive than it is now with the Gel Microsphere/time-release version of the Tretinoin.

          And you’ll be happy to know I have multiple sunscreen reviews coming in the near future. I’ve tried some new ones in the past few months, and just need to write them up!

  16. This is on my list to buy ASAP!!
    Would you recommend using a toner with this product as well? I’m planning on buying one of the Benton toners (haven’t decided which quite yet) so would it be used before applying or after, or at all? :3
    Thanks! love your site<3

  17. Bora

    I found a coupon and I got this for $14 and free Shipping! Prpaul20

    Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the review!

  18. King Kong


    Have your tried other PC’s products like the C15 Booster and Retinol Treatment? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Kerry

      Hi King Kong! I haven’t tried any of Paula’s Retinol treatments, but I have tried the C15 Booster and it’s a really solid Vitamin C serum. I think it’s really effective for brightening and helping to lighten PIH. My only issue with it is the smell. I think it smells faintly like hot dog water or bologna. I’ve noticed this with other Vitamin C products as well (Skinceuticals also smells like hot dogs to me), so I think it may just be a quality of C serums that’s exposed when a product is unfragranced. I’ve never heard anyone else complain about it though, so I might just be overly sensitive about the smell! )

  19. Barya

    Hi Kerry!
    I have a few questions: Firstly, would you recommend the 2% BHA Liquid to be used in conjunction with a Benzoyl peroxide, or would that just be counterproductive? Secondly, would you recommend this product to a first time AHA user? My skin isn’t sensitive, but it can be unpredictable :/ Thanks for your help and keep up the blogging! This is my absolute favorite blog 🙂

  20. Belinda

    I would love to try out all these HG products from PC, but I live in HK and their website for our region is basically entirely unuseable for Hong Kong (language issues, confusing currency issues and even more confusing payment paypal issues).

    My friends and I have emailed them on it previously and their reply was basically “yeah, we’re not going to anything about that!”, which was rather infuriating and honestly kind of turned me off the brand.

  21. Westmain

    Thanks so much for exposing me to this wonderful product. My skin loved it so much that I use it three times a week and have no irritation. I’m so into this acid that I’m going to try something stronger once I finish this bottle. I’ve been eyeing this stuff for my next product, Have you used it? I do have very resilient skin that needs a lot of exfoliation, and really love using a chemical instead of a physical exfoliator, for some reason I find scrubs more irritating!

  22. Jane

    I am using it for years. I never wait for 20 min after applying, I don’t feel it is necessary, Paula wrote an article about it a while ago, saying that there is no need to wait a certain time between the products. I will try to wait a bit to see if it makes any difference. When I want some extra peeling effect, I apply a peter Thomas Roth glycolic acid 10 hydrating gel on top of it, add eye cream and go to bed.