This Game-Changing Acne Product Just Got A Sensitive Skin Makeover

The wait is over.

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Anyone who’s ever struggled with acne, be it mild or severe, knows the frustration of flicking through forums, threads, and articles searching for a solution. Few acne products are as respected and beloved by both users and dermatologists like Paula’s Choice signature BHA Exfoliant. Formulated with a 2% concentration of beta hydroxy acid to clear away texture and built-up bacteria, it’s been the brand’s global best-seller since its release. If you have acne and sensitive skin, though, attacking the inflammation with a powerful active can often make things worse. Fortunately, innovation wins again — Paula’s Choice BHA Sensitive Skin Exfoliant, part of the brand’s all-new Calm Collection, is finally here with the ultimate happy medium.

Spend even an hour trawling for online skin care recommendations and you’ll certainly see someone singing the praises of Paula’s Choice original BHA. To understand the hype, it’s crucial to know how its star ingredient, beta hydroxy acid in salicylic acid form, works. The salicylic acid acts as an accelerated version of the skin’s natural exfoliation process to unclog pores and stubborn, bumpy texture, eventually revealing the smooth layer beneath. It’s effective, but undeniably strong — doctors often recommend slowly ramping up usage to carefully acclimate, and insist on pairing it with an acne-safe SPF every day to protect that extra-vulnerable facial skin. The just-released Sensitive Skin Exfoliant takes the same principles and key ingredients as the OG, but adjusts and tempers it to suit reactive, dry, or irritated complexions — without sacrificing that all-important, acne-fighting power.

The thing about sensitive skin is it can be an inherent, permanent skin type or a transitory issue brought on by things like a compromised moisture barrier, sun and environmental damage, and product reactivity. Regardless of the trigger, treating that sensitive skin with gentler, more nourishing formulas is paramount. In the case of the new Paula’s Choice exfoliant, the BHA salicylic content is dropped down to 1%. That’s still enough to clear away closed comedones, pustules, and dull skin, but the reduced strength and gel-cream formula (as opposed to the original’s water-like consistency) help reduce the possibility of further irritation. Additionally, the formula is loaded with skin-soothing allatoin, a naturally-restorative emollient shown to even be safe for more complex skin troubles like rosacea.

The Sensitive Skin Exfoliant joins five other products in the new Paula’s Choice Calm Collection, a complete routine of hydrating, soothing products formulated with delicate, compromised skin in mind. It’s estimated that nearly seven in 10 people will deal with sensitive skin at some point, making the Calm Collection about as universal as it gets. Shop the new formulation down below.

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