REVIEW: Paula’s Choice CLEAR Acne Skincare Regimen

My interest in Paula’s Choice skincare began with a sample size of their Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel, received in a monthly beauty box. Once I tried the gel after cleansing, I was immediately HOOKED. It contains glycolic acid, and it feels like giving your skin a do-over. It fixes everything from blemishes to discoloration and leaves your skin looking like you just received a spa facial.

Ipsy recently offered a discount on Paula’s Choice, so I excitedly zoomed on over to the website and ended up choosing an acne kit. Here’s where I made my mistake–I overestimated how bad my acne is (apparently not as bad as I thought) and chose the Extra Strength formula for the kit. (I would absolutely choose the Regular formula if I could do it again.)


The kit itself comes with three products:

  • Pore Normalizing Cleanser
  • Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution
  • Daily Skin Clearing Treatment

The booklet included has instructions to use each product day and night. The cleanser is gentle and works perfectly with the recommended method (gentle but vigorous circular motions). The exfoliating solution is put on a cotton pad and then you stroke it over your face. Finally, the clearing treatment is carefully applied to problem areas.

I dedicated myself to using the products exactly as instructed. While the regimen did seem to clear up my acne a bit, it also completely dried out my skin. This was definitely unexpected, because I have oily skin and it’s darn near impossible to dry out this skin!

I immediately stopped when it affected my makeup application. My skin was so dry that I couldn’t use foundation (no matter how hydrating) because the foundation would make it obvious how flaky my skin was!

I bought an intensive cream from Pond’s to fix the dry skin (which I’ve never, ever had to even think about). Due to the iffy nature of the results and the over-drying of my skin, I wouldn’t recommend the Extra Strength formula. I’m still going back and forth mentally on whether I should try the Regular formula kit or just continue to use my own regimen.

Even with this experience, I do still love the AHA gel and I will try other Paula’s Choice products, but my advice would be to underestimate the severity of your acne if you’re trying the acne kit and to be very careful with the application of the clearing treatment–only put it on emerging skin issues.

If anyone has tried the Regular formula kit, please let me know–I’d love to know your experience!