DISCLAIMER: At the time this blog post was written, Paula’s Choice was owned by TA Associates, a private equity firm. Unilever, which is not cruelty-free, announced on June 14, 2021, that it would be acquiring Paula’s Choice. Since I do not support cruelty-free companies owned by parent companies that are not cruelty-free, I will no longer purchase or review Paula’s Choice products. I am not removing this review since I know many of my readers will still want to support Paula’s Choice.
Skin all over the body tends to get rough, dry, and itchy during colder months when the air is extra dry. I know mine has! Body scrubs like Pacifica Sugared Crystal Supercharged Body Scrub use sugar or a variety of other physical exfoliators to smooth and soften skin, but they may be too harsh for some people. A gentler and more thorough approach to exfoliation is to use chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid which increase the rate of skin cell turnover by loosening the bonds between skin cells.
A few months ago, I reviewed the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant which is a very effective facial exfoliator. Paula’s Choice doesn’t only make chemical exfoliant products for the face though; they also have a couple for the body! Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA has the same active ingredient as the 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant, salicylic acid. I feel fortunate that Paula’s Choice sent the Weightless Body Treatment to me as a free gift with some skincare products that I ordered, because if they hadn’t I probably wouldn’t even know this product existed!
Importance of sun protection with chemical exfoliants
Please remember that it’s very important to wear sufficient sun protection when using exfoliants on the face or body. When you have a layer of dead skin cells on top of your fresh new skin, that layer provides some sun protection. Once that layer is exfoliated away, the new outer layer of skin is more sensitive to the sun, and more likely to burn.
Product claims directly from PaulasChoice.com
This leave-on body exfoliant with 2% BHA, also known as salicylic acid, gently exfoliates built-up layers of dead skin to reveal the radiant, smooth skin hiding underneath. Works from the first application to visibly make rough, dry skin a thing of the past. Ongoing use banishes dullness and promotes resilient skin that’s touchably soft and ultimately smooth. This is a customer favorite, suitable even for skin prone to keratosis pilaris.
- 2% salicylic acid softens and refines rough skin
- Antioxidants safeguard skin and keep it healthy
- Silky lightweight lotion feels beautiful on skin
- Ideal for hard, clogged pores on the arms and legs
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Other product details
- Price: $28.00 (full size) OR $7.00 (travel size)
- Net weight: 7 oz. | 210 ml (full size) OR 2 oz. | 60 ml (travel size)
- Made in the USA
- pH range of 3.5-3.9
- Shelf life: 12 months
- Where to buy: PaulasChoice.com or Amazon.com
- Available through Paula’s Choice in 20+ countries/regions (each has its own website; they can all be found here)
- Amazon.com ships internationally to over 100 countries, but not all items will ship to every country. Update your default shipping address to see items that will ship to your location.
- Overall rating: 9.4/10
- Packaging/ease of application: 10/10
- Exfoliation: 10/10
- Greasiness: 10/10
- Ingredients: 9/10
- Price: 8/10
Please note that I am not a skincare professional. I am simply an individual that enjoys learning about and using skincare products. Speak to your dermatologist or esthetician if you have any concerns.
Packaging/ease of application
Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA is packaged in a tall opaque squeeze tube with a small opening. This type of packaging is fairly effective for protecting the actives (salicylic acid and antioxidant ingredients) from degradation due to exposure to light and air. The squeeze tube also makes it easy to dispense the proper amount of product.
The product itself is very easy to use. Its formula is lightweight, as implied by the name, and smooths easily over the skin. I’ve also found that I don’t need as much of this type of product compared to most lotions or other body moisturizers.
When I use this body treatment, I use it alone. However, since it is a lightweight formula, I believe that any type of moisturizer could be applied over it without any problems. The instructions from Paula’s Choice state that this body treatment should be applied first if using with a moisturizer. I think that’s very important for proper absorption of the active ingredients in this product.
My favorite type of chemical exfoliant is salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). I’m happy that salicylic acid is also the magic ingredient in this body treatment from Paula’s Choice! I was hopeful that this product would be as effective for exfoliation on the body as the 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant is for the face, since they contain the same concentration of salicylic acid. I was not disappointed!
I apply this body treatment on nights that I feel like my skin needs something extra, like moisturizer isn’t going to cut it. I primarily use it on my arms, legs, and hips since those are the areas that get the most dry on my body. When I wake up the next morning after applying this body treatment, my skin feels very smooth and lightly hydrated.
My favorite use for this product is on my arms because I think I have a mild case of keratosis pilaris (KP) which causes me to get little red bumps on my arms. Since this body treatment exfoliates away dead skin cells, it smooths those bumps and makes the skin on my arms look much more healthy. Body scrubs can also help with this problem, but I think chemical exfoliation is more effective.
Greasy body products don’t bother me as much as a greasy hand cream, but in general I prefer my products to be non-greasy. If a product is non-greasy, that usually means that it’s quick to apply and absorbs quickly.
Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA may look very similar to a body lotion (most of which are at least a little bit greasy), but it feels very different. As I mentioned previously, this product is very lightweight. It’s thin and not at all greasy! This body treatment smooths over my skin quickly and absorbs within a couple of minutes so I don’t feel like I’m getting it all over my pajamas or clothes when I get dressed.
It’s clear that Paula’s Choice put a lot of thought into the texture of this product. The ingredient list reflects this! I’ll go into a little more detail about that in the next section.
I was expecting to see quite a bit of similarity between the ingredient list for the Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA and 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant, but they are actually quite different! Of course this is a body product instead of a face product, but they perform the same basic function. The textures of each of the formulas are vastly different, however, and I think that’s probably why the ingredient lists aren’t more similar.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Salicylic Acid, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem (Willowherb) Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethiconol, PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol
This looks like a pretty scary list of ingredients, but they’re actually all either good skin-loving ingredients, or “neutral” ingredients that support the formula. There isn’t a single “bad” ingredient in this product! I’ll provide information on the standout ingredients below (please note that my primary resources for ingredient information are INCI Decoder and Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary):
- PPG-14 butyl ether
- Improves the appearance of dry or damaged skin
- Salicylic acid
- Beta hydroxy acid (exfoliant)
- Tocopheryl acetate
- Most common form of vitamin E
- Strengthens skin
- Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract
- Potent skin-soothing property
- May aggravate skin that is sensitive to plants in the daisy family
- Epilobium angustifolium (willowherb) extract
- Camellia oleifera (green tea) leaf extract
- Vanilla planifolia fruit extract
Some of these ingredients may seem a bit redundant, but I’m glad to see so many soothing ingredients paired with salicylic acid. Chemical exfoliants can be irritating to sensitive skin or skin that hasn’t had time to adjust to the exfoliating ingredients. Skin on the body usually isn’t as sensitive as skin on the face so I don’t think most people would experience any irritation, but it’s good that Paula’s Choice took the precaution of adding those soothing ingredients to keep skin calm. Since chamomile is known for being such a soothing ingredient, I was surprised to see that it has the potential to aggravate skin. Fortunately, that only applies to people that are sensitive to plants in the daisy family.
The other twenty are a wide variety of “neutral” ingredients such as emulsifiers, thickeners, other texture enhancers, and preservatives. The vast majority contribute to the texture of the formula to make it feel smooth and absorb quickly. The main ingredients responsible for the texture of this formula are the four silicones (dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, and dimethiconol), PVM/MA decadiene crosspolymer (creates a gel consistency), polyacrylamide, C13-14 isoparaffin, and Laureth-7 (this ingredient works with the previous two to create a non-tacky gel formula).
I think it’s so interesting learning about the ingredients that work together to make a product work. Overall I’m very pleased with the ingredients used in this body treatment! I’d be even happier if the percentage of “good” (versus “neutral”) was higher, but honestly in this case I don’t think it’s a problem. All of the standout ingredients that I outlined in the bullet points above are in the first half of the list, and six of them are in the top ten! That’s great news since the ingredients closest to the top have the highest concentrations.
My perspective on the $28.00 price of this body treatment varies depending on how it’s being used. For someone like me that uses it as needed instead of daily, I think it’s worth it because it’s lasted me a long time. On the other hand, people that want to use it daily will probably run through a tube rather quickly. I wouldn’t pay $28.00 for this if I planned to use it daily because I’d probably run through it in about a month. That’s just my opinion, though. Everyone has a unique perspective and budget.
This product is definitely effective and a great solution for those in need of gentle exfoliation. I’m only taking two points away in this category since I do think the price is fair for those looking for an “as needed” body treatment for especially dry or bumpy skin.
I am very happy to have Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA in my body care collection, especially this time of year when my skin needs a little extra help. I think I only use it about once a week, but my skin always thanks me when I do!
I think this product would be great for anyone that struggles with very dry or rough bumpy skin. The only exceptions would be people with very sensitive skin. Anyone with sensitivity to plants in the daisy family definitely should avoid this product. Everyone else, I suggest you get your paws on this product ASAP! Your skin will thank you. 🙂
Have you ever tried body care products from Paula’s Choice? Paula’s Choice has such a huge range of products, their body care is often overlooked and definitely underrated!