Peter Thomas Roth
Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel
2 fl. oz. for $48
Category:Skin Care > AHA Exfoliants > AHA
Last Updated:12.18.2014
Jar Packaging:False
Tested on animals:Yes

Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel is an excellent fragrance-free AHA product for all skin types, and the pH of 3.6 ensures efficacy. The amount of antioxidants and other beneficial extras isn’t enough to keep this product at its former Best Product rating.


Supplies lost moisture, anti-oxidants and glycolic acid to aging and sun-damaged skin without greasiness or oil. Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Helps clarify the skin and smooth out a rough texture.


Water, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Ammonium Hydroxide, Arginine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Phospholipids, Methylparaben, Imidazoldinyl Urea, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, BHT, Alcohol Denat.

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: Expensive; mostly lackluster toners; mostly boring to potentially irritating masks; no BHA products that do not include at least one needless irritant; jar packaging.

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.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Excellent Results

My cheeks and jawline WERE extremely dry and rough. I have been using this product religiously for the last three months and have noticed dramatic softening in texture and moderate shrinking of pores on my face. I have combination/dry skin with large pores in my oily T-Zone. I use Alba Acnedote Cleanser with Salicylic Acid on my T-Zone and Neutrogena on the rest. I just use cleansers/washcloths and toner then this w/ moisturizer. This line is mid priced and it works! PTR Retinol Serum is next!

Reviewed by
Michelle B.
Monday, January 05, 2015
Good but sticky

I really like the results that I am getting from this product but I think that the gel formulation leaves a sticky residue on my skin and it can be quite drying. I have been combining it with another moisturizer with sunscreen, which seems to eliminate the stickiness. Question for the Beautypedia team: will applying another moisturizer on top limit the effectiveness of the product or upset the pH?

Reviewed by
Jaime B
Paula's Choice Research Team Response
Replied on: Monday, January 05, 2015

Hello, and thanks for the question! Layering another moisturizer over this one should not affect the product's pH.

—Paula's Choice Research Team
Sunday, June 01, 2014

I went into it skeptical, as I had never bought skincare in this price range. I never tried a chemical exfoliation method before either.This is now my holy grail serum! I just completed my 1st bottle and there has been dramatic physical changes to my skin! Smoother,Brighter,fewer-breakouts,healthy glow! I love it! A must try! Instructions say once at bedtime and once in A.M. but I find great results with just the P.M. application. So I just stuck with that. But whatever works best for you!

Reviewed by
joanne m.
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