Peter Thomas Roth's expensive addition to the growing crop of hydroquinone-free skin lighteners contains a small amount of ingredients with only limited research pertaining to their ability to lighten dark spots and improve an uneven skin tone. The only ingredient of note is niacinamide, which is present in a high enough concentration to potentially improve discolorations, but you can fine less expensive products with this B-vitamin ingredient. The other significant skin-lightening ingredients are azelaic acid and the mineral ingredient zeolite. Research on azelaic acid is intriguing, but the concentration must be 15% or greater for it to have an effect on skin discolorations, which is far from the case with this product. You'll find such concentrations of azelaic acid only in prescription products such as Azelex or Finacea (Sources: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, volume 7, July 2010; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, December 2006, pages 1048–1065).
As for the zeolite, a single in vitro (petri dish) study indicates it has the potential to suppress excess melanin (skin pigment) production. However, at this time, it's a novel approach without published research supporting its efficacy on human skin (Source: Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, January 2010, pages 72–76). So, although this zeolite may have benefit, it would be far better to seek out skin-lightening products with proven ingredients, such as hydroquinone (still the gold standard), forms of vitamin C (this formula contains a tiny amount of a form of vitamin C, but not enough to impact dark spots), arbutin, or kojic acid.
All of these have considerably more research than the zeolite, which makes it less compelling. On balance, this serum-like skin lightener contains some intriguing ingredients, but most of them are present in tiny amounts that belie this product's high price. Although this appears to be fragrance-free, it contains a small amount of fragrant plant extracts. The formula is suitable for normal to dry or oily skin, but its benefits for brown spots or uneven skin tone are mostly due to the niacinamide content, and again, you can find good concentrations of that ingredient for less money (check out Olay or Paula's Choice).
- Amount of niacinamide may have a positive impact on discolorations.
- Contains some helpful anti-aging ingredients, including sodium hyaluronate and lecithin.
- Lightweight, silky texture works well with other products such as moisturizers.
- Expensive, considering that the efficacy and amount of most of its skin-lightening ingredients is questionable.
- Contains more preservatives than helpful antioxidant plant extracts.
Hydroquinone-free proprietary formula helps dramatically reverse the appearance of dark spots & discoloration due to aging, sun damage, pregnancy mask, and post-acne discoloration.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Polysilicone- 11, Zeolite, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Leaf Extract, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Rose Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata (Passion Fruit) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis (Canteloupe) Fruit Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Squalane, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sucrose Dilaurate, Propylene Glycol, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Bisulfite, Sodium Hydroxide, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanyl Palmitate, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Zinc PCA, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Polysorbate 80, Hexylene Glycol, Decyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, Mica, Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Propylparaben, Methylparaben
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 products don't have fragrance, and they lack the long lists of ingredients that are often unnecessarily complicated. 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—all of which reinforce 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 there are a few embarrassing missteps to avoid, such as products that contain hydrogen peroxide, which can cause free-radical damage and hurt skin; irritating acne products that contain sulfur; unimpressive masks (odd for a spa-oriented line); and a bumper crop of products claiming to affect expression lines and wrinkles in a manner similar to cosmetic corrective procedures.
For more information about Peter Thomas Roth, call (800) PTR-SKIN or visit www.peterthomasroth.com.