Best BHA Exfoliants: Buying Guide & Reviews

Best BHA Exfoliants

Last Updated on March 19, 2022

Is your goal to maintain healthy skin? Then exfoliating is something you need to do often. It is the process of removing dead skin cells on your skin. The appearance of blackheads, dark circles, acne, and wrinkles can reduce the glow of your skin. Exfoliation brightens your skin, hydrates it, and clears and smoothens it leaving a soft youthful-looking skin.

Exfoliation can be done either mechanically by using tools like a brush or sponge to wipe out dead cells. Alternatively, it can be done chemically by using chemicals like BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) or AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) to slough out dead skin cells.

BHA is one of the most effective chemical exfoliants. BHAs are oil-soluble and penetrate deeper into your pores to unclog them, absorb oil and grime to combat acne, blackheads and prevent new breakouts from forming. Here is a list of the best BHA exfoliants that hydrates, nourish skin, and blurs out signs of aging.

Best BHA Exfoliants Comparison Chart

Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Facial ExfoliantCheck Price
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power LiquidCheck Price
Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating CleanserCheck Price
Humane Clarifying Toner BHA Facial Exfoliant
Check Price
Skin Medica AHA/BHA Exfoliating CleanserCheck Price
BENTON Aloe BHA Skin TonerCheck Price
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Extra Strength ExfoliatorCheck Price
Salicylic Acid Deep Exfoliating Gel Based CleanserCheck Price
KarmaCeuticles AHA BHA Exfoliating CleanserCheck Price
Clear Skin AHA/BHA Exfoliating CleanserCheck Price

Top 10 BHA Exfoliants Review

Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Facial Exfoliant

This is one of the best-selling BHA exfoliants. It contains 2% of salicylic acid that helps to unclog and diminish enlarged pores. It exfoliates dead skin cells, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten and even out your skin tone.

This non-abrasive formula is infused with green tea extract which assists in reducing redness and calms the skin. It removes dirt and bacteria from pores which shrink the appearance of large pores and prevents future breakouts. It has a lightweight texture that gets absorbed into the skin quickly.

Key Features:

  • Exfoliates dead skin cells
  • Gentle enough for everyday use
  • Clears and minimizes enlarged pores
  • Smoothen fine lines and brightens skin

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Formulated with 4% Betaine salicylate acid, COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is the most effective exfoliant to remove the dead skin cells layer. It penetrates deep into your pores to remove oils, dirt, and impurities and evens out your skin texture.

This results in a clearer, brighter, and smoother skin with fewer breakouts. The exfoliant is enriched with 67.8% willow bark water to provide additional glow and strength to your skin. Its active ingredient is salicylic acid that has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to alleviate acne and breakouts.

Key Features:

  • Clears pores
  • Dissolves excess sebum and reduce its formation
  • Exfoliates skin
  • Reduces blackheads

Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Designed for dry skin, Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser contains a trio of exfoliating acids which are: salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid. This exfoliant polishes away dullness and impurities leaving a smoother, younger-looking complexion by removing excess oil, dirt, and unclogging pores.

It is also infused with lactic acid, a mild AHA that treats hyperpigmentation, age spots and refines your skin tone. It also has jojoba beads that exfoliate your skin manually to buff away any dead skin cells.

Key Features:

  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
  • Unclogs pores
  • Reduces signs of aging
  • Refines fine lines

Humane Clarifying Toner BHA Facial Exfoliant

Formulated with 2% salicylic acid, Humane Clarifying Toner BHA Facial Exfoliant is a daily leave-on facial exfoliant. It removes dead skin cells gently, clears clogged pores, and removes oil and debris to keep blackheads and blemishes at bay.

The exfoliant is infused with green tea extract that offers anti-oxidant protection and calms the skin. Green tea extract combined with salicylic acid boosts collagen production, which fills in fine lines and wrinkles.

Regular use of this exfoliant removes dead skin cells and reduces the appearances of wrinkles and fine lines. Use it for a smoother, more radiant complexion.

Key Features:

  • Soothes and protects the skin
  • Curbs breakouts
  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles

Skin Medica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

This elegantly formulated exfoliating cleanser contains both AHA and BHA acids to cleanse gently and scrub away dead skin cells to improve your skin tone and texture.

The cleanser is enriched with jojoba oil that nourishes, hydrates, and improves your skin radiance. A blend of salicylic acid and jojoba will exfoliate your skin gently, reduce inflammation, acne breakouts, and accelerate their healing.

Key Features:

  • Improves the appearance of skin tone and texture
  • AHA and BHA exfoliant cleanser
  • Reduces acne breakouts
  • Anti-inflammatory properties

BENTON Aloe BHA Skin Toner

This is an aloe-enriched BHA skin toner exfoliant. The aloe is rich in polysaccharides that protect the skin and help hydrate, soothe, and achieve clear revitalized skin. This exfoliant contains 80% aloe ingredients that soothe irritated skin and heal acne scars.

The exfoliant is mildly acidic and helps clear dead skin cells, blackheads, decongest the pores, remove excess oil, and deeply nourish the skin. It is suitable for people with dry and tight skin because of its hydrating aloe ingredients.

Key Features:

  • Hydrating and nourish aloe ingredients
  • Clears dead skin cells
  • Unclogs the pores
  • Mild exfoliating toner

Paula’s Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Exfoliator

This is a powerful leave-on exfoliant containing salicylic acid. It minimizes pores, clears breakouts, unclogs pores, and fade red marks from past breakouts. It has 2% salicylic acid that fights the stubborn acne leaving your skin smoother, clearer, and more even.

The exfoliant eliminates bacteria, dirt, and oil from pores thus reducing cane and redness. This cleanser clears all dead skin cells and decreases the appearance of hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, breakouts, and fine lines. This is a pore minimizer formula that gets absorbed quickly into your skin without drying your skin and ripping it off its natural oils.

Key Features:

  • Absorbs quickly into the skin
  • Minimizes pores
  • Clears breakouts
  • Decreases appearance of hyperpigmentation

Salicylic Acid Deep Exfoliating Gel Based Cleanser

Formulated to exfoliate and clear clogged pores, Salicylic Acid Deep Exfoliating Gel Based Cleanser is all you need to get a more refined skin texture. It contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid that targets both the surface and deeper levels of your skin.

It unclogs pores through exfoliation to give an even skin tone. The cleanser is infused with green tea extract, chamomile, comfrey flower extract that reduces inflammation, soothes, repairs, and heals the skin. It helps to get rid of impurities whether its excess oil that clogs pores and dead skin cells.

Key Features:

  • Kills cane-producing bacteria
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Unclog pores
  • Exfoliates and stops future breakouts

KarmaCeuticles AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Karma Ceuticles is an AHA/ BHA exfoliating formula. It is formulated with fine natural oils and moisturizers to leave your skin silky-soft, smooth, and moisturized. It contains exfoliating scrubs particles and healing jojoba beads to gently exfoliate the skin and enhance the regeneration of new cells.

This cleanser unclogs pores, removes excess sebum, oil, grime, and impurities. The alpha and beta hydroxy acids are gentle enough to even use twice in a day and will not dry out your skin. They loosen the dead skin cells to accelerate the natural skin renewal process and brighten and clarify all skin types.

Key Features:

  • Gentle for sensitive skin
  • Contains both AHA and BHA
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Unclogs pores

Clear Skin AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

This is a deep exfoliating cleanser. It has jojoba beads that buff away dirt, oil, and harmful bacteria and dead skin cells for a brighter look. It is formulated with salicylic acid, a strong BHA which absorbs excess oil, removes dirt, unclogs pores, and removes dead cells.

Blackheads, whiteheads, and breakouts are not forgiven either. It also has glycolic acid that penetrates deep to the skin to ease fine lines, dark spots, signs of aging, and also aid in cell renewal. These active ingredients are enriched with orange and grapefruit peel oil that nourishes the skin.

Key Features:

  • Accelerates skin renewal process
  • Blurs signs of aging
  • Reduces blackheads, whiteheads, and breakouts
  • Unclog pores

What Is BHA?

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) is a group of acids that is used to exfoliate and hydrate the skin. It is one of the most effective chemical exfoliants that is also highly used in anti-aging products.

An oil-soluble cleanser penetrates deeper into your pores to unclog them, absorb oil and grime to combat acne, blackheads, and prevent new breakouts from forming. It makes your skin look younger by removing the dead skin cells to expose fresh and younger skin.

BHAs also have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which help in acne-fighting effectiveness. They also have a natural calming property to calm the skin and thus suitable for sensitive skin and skin prone to redness.

Why Use A BHA Exfoliant?

To Remove Dead Skin Cells

Using BHA exfoliant is one of the most effective ways to remove dead skin cells. Dead skin cells can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. BHA will strip off the dead skin cells layer to reveal the fresh and young-looking skin.

Minimize the appearance of wrinkles and pores

BHA exfoliants are oil soluble. They penetrate deep into your pores to unclog them, clear dirt, grime, and impurities thus minimizing their appearance. They also enhance cell regenerations that fill in the wrinkles and fine lines and reduce their appearance.

To improve overall skin texture

BHA exfoliants can help to improve your overall skin texture. It unclogs pores, removes dead skin cells, reduces blemishes, breakouts, wrinkles, fine lines, and hydrates your skin. The result is a radiant, smooth, flawless skin.

Treating acne and blackhead

BHAs are great for treating and preventing acne. They are best for oily and acne-prone skins. The cleanser penetrates your pores and dissolves any pore-clogging debris, thus treating acne and preventing any breakouts from forming.

They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that add to acne-fighting effectiveness. BHA also has soothing properties suitable if your skin is sensitive or you are dealing with redness.

How To Apply A BHA Exfoliant?

Prep your skin

The first step, before applying your BHA exfoliant is to prep your skin with a face wash of your choice. Cleaning your face first ensures that you remove any dirt, oil, and impurities. This ensures that there will be nothing to hinder its deep penetration to your skin and its effectiveness when you apply your exfoliant.

Apply your exfoliant

Take a blob of your exfoliant and apply it to your skin. Massage gently in a circular motion so that the cleanser penetrates inside your skin. Rubbing harshly can irritate your skin especially in areas with active breakouts.

Wash your skin

Using warm water, wash your skin thoroughly to rinse off the exfoliant. However, this will depend on the exfoliant you are using because some are leave-on and you don’t have to wash after application.

Apply a soothing toner

You can finish by spraying a soothing toner to neutralize the skin rubbing process and apply a moisturizer.


How long do BHA products take to see results?

When using the best BHA products, you will use them for 4-6 weeks for you to start seeing any results. However, this may go to 2-3 months depending on one’s skin.

How often should I use BHA exfoliants?

It depends on your skin type, what you want to treat, and what you want to achieve. You can use it once in a day or twice in a day depending on how your skin reacts.

Are BHA exfoliants good for dry skin?

While BHA exfoliants are recommended for acne-prone and oily skins, dry skin can still benefit from using them. Just avoid using them daily to avoid drying your skin further.


By removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, treating and preventing acne, reducing the appearance of pores, wrinkles, blackspots, breakouts, fine lines, and redness, BHA exfoliants are what you need to maintain a healthy, glowing, flawless skin texture.

All these products will make your skin look younger and healthier. From our review, our best BHA exfoliant is the Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Facial Exfoliant. It helps to unclog and diminish enlarged pores.

It exfoliates dead skin cells, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten and even out your skin tone. It is also infused with green tea extract which assists in reducing redness and calms the skin. The cleanser is lightweight, gets absorbed quickly, and is gentle enough for everyday use.

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