Peter Thomas Roth's Professional 3% Retinoid Plus certainly has potential, and it's an interesting twist on a retinol treatment. This liquid formula is marketed as a milder alternative to retinol by the brand, yet provides similar results. While we have many good things to say about this formula overall, our sole concern, holding it back from our top rating, was the lack of research around its starring, retinol alternative ingredient.
Fragrance-free, Professional 3% Retinoid Plus is packaged in a frosted glass bottle with a push-button operated dropper. This silicone fluid has a slick (though lightweight) texture that lends itself to any skin type, including the acne-prone. The packaging is handy, as the opaque bottle helps protect its ingredients from light exposure, which can cause them to break down. We should note that the opening of the dropper lacks an internal air restrictor, so the air exposure is a concern over the long term.
Professional 3% Retinoid Plus does not actually contain retinol; rather it contains a derivative of retinol, hydroxypinacolone retinoate. Peter Thomas Roth claims that this offers all of the skin-improving benefits of retinol (i.e. skin smoothing, discoloration fading, firming, and wrinkle reduction), yet circumvents the potential for sensitivity that high concentrations of retinol can present for some—flaking, redness, etc.
It's a novel approach, and to the brand's credit, they are not making inflated claims over this new retinol derivative. (Other than the word "Professional" in the product's title, as there isn't anything "professional" about this product.) Hydroxypinacolone retinoate is such a new ingredient, however, there isn't a compelling amount of data evaluating its effectiveness, or comparing it to other forms of retinol (like pure retinol or retinaldehyde). Currently, the one study that does exist was conducted by the ingredients' manufacturer, and was conducted on just five people (GrantIndustries.com, 2015).
Other studies that do exist study the ingredient in combination with retinol—that means you just don't know what results are possible with hydroxypinacolone retinoate on its own, as it is in Professional 3% Retinoid Plus (Actas Dermo-Sifiliograficas, 2015). However, the ingredient does show promise. Fortunately, Peter Thomas Roth also included a range of other beneficial ingredients—multiple ceramides, sodium hyaluronate (the more bioavailable salt form of hyaluronic acid), and sodium PCA, to name a few.
At just over $80, it is on the pricier side, and, as we've seen from the research, there is some question about how the results of this formula compare against retinol (or retinol-like) treatments. Speaking from the (anecdotal) personal experience of the reviewers, there was no sensitivity with daily usage. Over the course of two months, skin seemed smoother, but that's the trouble with personal usage testimonials—they are entirely subjective to another person's skin, lifestyle, and the other products in their routine. After all, numerous products will make skin smoother.
Nevertheless, Peter Thomas Roth's Professional 3% Retinoid Plus earned its rating for its interesting use of the newer retinol-derivative and mix of other beneficial ingredients. If you've found that other retinol treatments are too sensitizing for your skin (and you don't mind spending a little extra), then this may be a product to consider adding to your routine. Oppositely, if you're already happy with your retinol treatment, we would suggest investing your anti-aging dollars into other areas of your skincare routine.
Peter Thomas Roth At-A-Glance
Peter Thomas Roth is a large but straightforward line with mostly uncomplicated formulations that, for the most part, are quite good and state-of-the-art. Unlike many product lines, most of the acne, AHA, BHA, sunscreen, and moisturizing products contain what they should to be effective and helpful for skin.
Even more impressive are the well-formulated cleansers, sunscreens, AHA products, and skin lighteners. The moisturizers have improved somewhat, and most are now packaged so that the light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable. In fact, Roth's packaging deserves special mention because it is exceptionally utilitarian.
After all that glowing praise, what you should be aware of are the instances of products containing potential irritants (noted in their respective reviews) as well as the products in jar packaging that contain ingredients which are sensitive to air and light.
For more information about Peter Thomas Roth, call (800) PTR-SKIN or visit www.peterthomasroth.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!