Camu Camu Power C x 30 Vitamin C Brightening Serum
1.7 fl. oz. for $85
Last Updated:12.31.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This serum’s big claim is that its camu camu ingredient contains thirty times more vitamin C than an orange, as if that’s supposed to be a compelling reason to buy it. First, even if camu camu does have more vitamin C than an orange (more on that in a moment), so what? Kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange, too, as do papaya, bell peppers, and strawberries. The numbers game may seem impressive, but this water-based serum would be more impressive if it contained a form of pure, stabilized vitamin C rather than a plant extract that contains the vitamin. Depending on how the plant extract was cultivated and stored prior to manufacture, who knows how much vitamin C would remain? Interestingly, a study sought to find that out and even under ideal storage conditions the vitamin C content of this fruit degrades over time (Source: Archivos Latinamericanos de Nutricion, December 2000, pages 405–408).

As for camu camu, this shrub bears a fruit whose vitamin C content is higher in the peel than it is in the pulp (fruit) yet Peter Thomas Roth is using the fruit rather than the pulp, which is odd considering their boasts of camu camu being a superior source of vitamin C. The fruit, which has a strong sour taste, can be considered a skin irritant due to the volatile components it contains, including limonene (which can make skin more sun-sensitive) and eucalyptol (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).  Despite this, research has shown that components in camu camu juice can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefit when consumed (Source: Journal of Cardiology, October 2008, pages 127–132).

This serum’s biggest downfall is its alcohol content. As the third ingredient (followed by a film-forming agent that makes skin feel tight), it poses a serious risk of irritation (see More Info for details). Although this serum contains some good anti-aging ingredients (retinol and vitamin E) you can find those in serums that not only cost less but also offer more elegant, gentler formulas that don’t pose a risk of irritation.


  • Contains some good antioxidants and retinol in packaging that keeps these delicate ingredients stable.


  • Overpriced for what you get.
  • High amount of alcohol is a problem for all skin types.
  • High amount of film-forming agent can make skin feel uncomfortably tight.

More Info:

Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin’s ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419;  Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).


The camu camu berry is a potent superfruit from the Amazon that provides 30 times more vitamin C per ounce than an average orange. Highly concentrated vitamin C has superior absorption properties due to its low molecular weight, allowing it to better penetrate the skin, help improve collagen production, brighten, smooth, firm, and improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles.


Water, Myrciaria Dubia (Camu Camu) Fruit Extract , Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, Polysorbate 20, Cyclopentasiloxane, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethyl Isosorbride, Soluble Collagen, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Cholecalciferol, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium PCA, Laureth-7, Cyclohexasiloxane, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Mica, Fragrance

Brand Overview

Peter Thomas Roth At-A-Glance

Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on Web site; most products are fragrance-free; very good AHA products; wide selection of water-soluble cleansers and scrubs; some excellent sunscreens, benzoyl peroxide products, and many antioxidant-rich formulas.

Weaknesses: Can be pricey; some products contain irritants; jar packaging for several products that contain air and light sensitive ingredients.

Unique in the world of spa and salon specialty lines, 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.

A novel aspect of this line is that there are few (if any) nonsense ingredients. Roth products conspicuously lack the exotic, potentially irritating, sensitizing, and often unnecessary plant extracts and the irritating, fragrant plant oils that show up in most pricey skin-care lines, especially spa lines. Many of these are fragrance free, and lack the long lists of complicated ingredients—all great qualities for any skincare brand.

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 and gender-friendly.

No pretty pink bottles, sexy curved jars, or bejeweled caps— which reinforces the clinical nature of Peter Thomas Roth. Overall, this line should be admired for its simplicity and, for the most part, for its well-thought-out formulations.

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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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