The Pore Plunger: The New Paula’s Choice 4% BHA

Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA

When Paula’s Choice releases a new product, I usually buy it after I ask a few people what it is like first. That is NOT the case with Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA found here and here, I bought it immediately. I saw the words 4% BHA and I was sold. I really didn’t even read that much about it, that’s how much I trust Paula’s Choice acid formulations. When I used it for the first time, it was even better than I thought it would be. All of the nit-picky issues I have with the other BHAs were resolved and there is this one perfect product.

Did I need another BHA from Paula’s Choice, or any other company for that matter? Probably not. I have six BHA products from the skincare brand, and I use them all in different ways. Much like how someone needs different shoes for different outfits, I need different beta-hydroxy acids for different skin concerns. I use the Calm BHA 1% Lotion if I am having a good skin day, but don’t want to forego an acid exfoliator. Also, if I am using a moderate strength retinol I will bump down to the 1% BHA lotion. If I need “pore maintenance” I use either the 2% Liquid or Gel. If I have a stubborn spot or milia I break out the big guns, BHA9. And while I do own the small version of Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA, I rarely find myself using it, but it’s there in my arsenal nonetheless.

Another one of my Paula’s Choice secret weapons, Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA is used for stubborn clogged pores and uneven texture with “dramatic results in half the time.” It has a time release formula that has never made my skin feel irritated or sensitive, even with the high concentration of beta hydroxy acid.

Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA

Those who have tried the 2% BHA Skin Perfecting Liquid either love it or hate it, mostly because it can leave a film or greasy feeling on skin. It has been my experience that the 2% Gel also has the same feeling. The people who don’t mind the film love it because of the results it provides and possibly need the extra hydration. Up until I found the new 4% BHA, it was my favorite salicylic acid from Paula’s Choice. I was told by PC social media team the reason for this greasy feeling is because of the inclusion of a penetration enhancer present in both the 2% BHA liquid and gel. They recommended using the Resist Daily Pore-Refining 2% BHA (blue bottle) as it does not contain this ingredient and is water-light. While that is true, the Resist 2% BHA feels weightless on skin, I feel as if it isn’t as effective as the Liquid or Gel.

However, all of this can be avoided with the new 4% BHA! If you are one who dislikes the 2% Liquid or Gel, I urge you to give the new 4% BHA a try. The texture is so elegant, and light. Yet slightly hydrating. I believe all skin types will love this serum-like exfoliant. Plus, Paula’s Choice has an excellent Return Policy if you find it doesn’t suit you! Not to mention their Black Friday sale is happening now, 20% off. That makes this little gem only $28.80 USD with free shipping!

texture Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA. It is clear, light gel that dries to a weightless finish.
The texture of the new Paula’s Choice 4% BHA is clear, light gel that dries to a weightless finish!

The Dreamy Texture

So after I realized I had bought a product without looking at the ingredients, I went back to the product description to check them out. (I recommend doing this the opposite way, just for the record 😉 ) What I found was a bit concerning. The third ingredient is Dimethicone, which is a silicone. I was afraid it would have that familiar silicone feel and make other products roll and pill on top. However, when it arrived I was pleasantly disproven and instead found a silky, lightweight gel that dries to an imperceptible finish. I believe those with oily or combination skin will really appreciate its weightless feel. I do! Resist 4% BHA has the nicest texture of all the other Paula’s Choice BHA products I have tried.


Smooth, Glowing Skin

I use the 4% BHA at night after cleansing and toning/misting. At first I used it 3-4 times a week, but after about three weeks of consistent use, I felt like I didn’t need it that often anymore. I then moved to a more maintenance approach of once or twice a week. (I do use other acids on other nights I am not using this BHA, like; mandelic, lactic, glycolic, lactobionic, phytic.) The results with the new 4% BHA were immediate, I found my skin to be markedly clearer the next morning after the second night of use. My previously clogged pores were nice and clear, even the stubborn pores I have on the sides of my nose and on my chin. Color me impressed.

I have had great results with this 4% BHA gel. Along with my favorite retinol oils, Jordan Samuel Skin Etoile and The Ordinary Retinol 0.5 % in Squalane  that I wrote about here, it has helped smooth out stubborn texture that I had on my cheeks. This past week I had a very painful hormonal spot pop up on my chin that I have been spot treating with the 4% BHA every night. It has gone through its cycle much quicker than if I were using nothing at all, or if I were using the 2% BHA liquid instead.   

Packaging for Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA.


The Packaging

Like all of Paula’s Choice products, the packaging is very thoughtful and clever. The 4% BHA is housed in a glass bottle with a pump style dropper. They even included a window on the side of the opaque bottle so that the remaining contents can be seen. The pump is easy to use and can distribute a precise amount of product.

The only complaint I have about the product as a whole is it doesn’t contain a larger quantity like the other 100 mL acids do! Which makes it more expensive per ounce than the other BHA options. The least expensive option is the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA liquid at $7.25 per ounce. The most expensive besides the BHA9 is the Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA at $11 per ounce. I guess it is not meant to be used every day, but instead as an occasional treatment. Plus the concentration of BHA is higher than the other options. However the 4% BHA foam is $24 per ounce versus the $36 per ounce of the new Resist 4% BHA. It honestly doesn’t matter if this product was twice the price I would still buy it, it is just that good.

Night skin routine using Paula's Choice 4% BHA.
Night Skin routine with PC 4% BHA. Order: Cleanse with Jordan Samuel Skin After Show Balm Cleanser, 2nd Cleanse iS Clinical Warming Honey Cleanser, Mist with NIOD SDSM2, Treat with NIOD Re: Pigment, Paula’s Choice 4% BHA, then moisturize with Venn Skincare Concentrate.

Who Should Use Salicylic Acid?

Adding salicylic acid, or BHA (beta hydroxy acid,) to your skincare routine can benefit anyone with skin! Unless you are allergic to aspirin of course. Adding acid exfoliators to my routine years ago was the biggest game changer for my skin. I struggled with clogged pores and frequent hormonal breakouts, and just breakouts in general. It bothered me so much when I was a teenager I begged my dad to take me to a dermatologist to get it treated. However, it wasn’t until I started using salicylic and glycolic acid from Paula’s Choice all of those skin concerns were fully addressed. I’m not saying that my skin is perfect now, but the texture is more refined, breakouts are few and far between, and my once enlarged, clogged pores are under control.

Salicylic Acid is an amazing exfoliant that can penetrate the pore and clean out all of the debris that causes clogged pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that is extremely helpful for active breakouts. It helps to shed any dead skin cells to speed up the regeneration process of skin, therefore helping with any discoloration from old breakouts. It really is an amazing ingredient that can improve skin in so many ways. You won’t regret adding it to your routine!

Paula’s Choice 4% BHA doesn’t just include salicylic acid. Like all PC products it is a well rounded formula whose ingredient list reads more like a serum that an exfoliant. Packed full with skin soothing ingredients to reduce any irritation from the high concentration of BHA, and a variety of antioxidants like Green tea extract, Grape seed extract, Pomegranate extract, and others.

Full Ingredient List: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (slip agent/hydration), Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Salicylic Acid (exfoliant), Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (texture enhancer), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Aminomethyl Propanol (pH adjuster), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate (skin-soothing), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract (skin-soothing), Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (skin-soothing), Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract (antioxidant), Hydrogenated Lecithin (skin-restoring/hydration), Xanthan Gum (texture enhancer), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Benzyl Alcohol (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Paula's Choice Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA



No one makes acid exfoliants quite like Paula’s Choice in my very humble opinion. Sure there are more affordable options like the acids from The Ordinary that get the job done. I have even found some amazing new acid blends that I am currently testing that I talk about here. However, no one does it like Paula’s Choice with the selection of textures for different skin types and at different concentrations. There’s literally something for everyone. Just when I thought they couldn’t get any better, they released the Resist 4% BHA and knocked my socks off! I would recommend to anyone who is already using BHA and wants a boost, or someone with stubborn spots and pores. I haven’t heard anyone say a bad word about Resist 4% BHA, so I think you will love it too!

Where to Buy

The Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA is currently out of stock on Paula’s Choice website and at DermStore, (you can sign up for email alerts.) It is available at    b-Glowing and on Paula’s Choice website as a set. 

Hope y’all enjoyed my review of the new Paula’s Choice 4% BHA! Has anyone else tried this new exfoliant? Paula’s Choice has been killing it with their new releases lately and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the new year! Until next time,

Stay Happy & Beautiful-


**Affiliate links are included in this post, however I did purchase the product myself. Full disclosure! If you choose to support my blog by using one of my links to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, I greatly appreciate it! My opinion and experience with the product is honest, unbiased, and completely unrelated to any relationship I have with any affiliate program. 😉


Share This Post:


  1. Pingback: Skincare Products You Need to Discover Before 2018

  2. Pingback: Sunday Ramblings....On Tuesday - This Country Girl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 − 9 =