Laser-Free Resurfacer
1 fl. oz. for $75
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Stating that this is a “laser-free serum” is a bit odd and not the least bit distinctive because serums aren’t lasers. Based on their claims, what the company means, in their words, is that you can “skip the laser". Skipping laser treatments is always an option, but if you’re doing so in favor of products like this and expecting such products to work like lasers, you will be disappointed.

As it turns out, this water-based serum cannot come close to approximating what a laser procedure can do for signs of aging. The formula isn’t terrible, but you’ll still need to keep that appointment with your cosmetic dermatologist! Besides, Laser-Free Resurfacer has its share of controversial ingredients, discussed below.

  • Silky texture contains some notable antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients.
  • Fragrance-free formula.
  • Expensive when measured against superior options on our Best Serums list.
  • The exotic, strangely named plants (dragon’s blood, anyone?) do not have substantiated, published research proving their anti-aging abilities.
  • The serum has a sheer, blood-red tint that many will find off-putting.

More info:

It seems more cosmetic companies are claiming their serums or moisturizers can work like or approximate the results of laser treatments. Here’s why skin-care products cannot work like a laser to improve signs of aging: lasers use specific colors and calibrated wavelengths of light which, when properly administered (by a trained medical professional) target and break up pigment cells and/or broken blood vessels (capillaries) in the lower layers of your skin. When these specific colors are targeted, the results work from the lower layers of your skin (beyond where cosmetics can reach) to the surface, so you’ll see signs of redness and brown discolorations go away (or at least noticeably fade).

Because laser treatments essentially wound skin in a carefully controlled manner, they stimulate cells in skin that manufacture healthy collagen, which helps improve wrinkles and enhance firmness. Lots of skin-care ingredients can stimulate healthy collagen production (and when skin isn’t being damaged by sunlight and other aggressors it loves making healthy collagen on its own) but the type of collagen stimulation you get from laser treatments is beyond where skin-care ingredients can target. The best solution is to combine a state-of-the-art skin-care routine (which includes daily sun protection) with the appropriate cosmetic corrective procedures, be they laser or dermal fillers.

Dragon’s blood is a naturally red resin extracted from a fruit that is part of the history of Chinese medicine. It has long been used as a coloring agent for pottery and ceramics. Are you sensing that none of this has to do with anti-aging or wrinkles? You’re right, it doesn’t! In fact, we couldn’t come up with a single viable study or other piece of information proving dragon’s blood resin has any benefit for skin, aging or not. It seems to be a gimmicky, novel ingredient but that’s about it. And of course, there’s no association between dragon’s blood and laser treatments!

The two controversial ingredients in this serum are ethyl perfluoroisobuty ether and ethyl perfluorobutyl ether. Both of these ingredients are said to generate oxygen, which isn’t helpful for aging skin (antioxidants are all about protecting skin from oxidative damage). These ingredients are sources of fluorocarbons (chemically inert compounds), which increase the oxygen content in liquids. As an aside, fluorocarbons also are responsible for much of the ozone depletion that occurs in the atmosphere. In all likelihood, these ingredients don’t remain stable in cosmetics and as such cannot generate oxygen on your skin.


Skip the laser but get the results—youth recaptured! A laser-free serum that helps repair, resurface, regenerate and renew from the first application. Helps lessen the noticeable signs of aging as a result of time, UV and environmental damage while dramatically improving texture and tone.


Water, Butylene Glycol, PEG-8 Dimethicone, PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Isododecane, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Niacinamide, Decarboxy Carnosine HCI, Ethyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether, Ethyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Carbomer, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Croton Lechleri (Dragon’s Blood) Resin Extract, Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Rabdosia Rubescens Extract, Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Phospholipids, Acetyl Glucosamine, Glucosamine HCI, Hydroxyproline, Polysilicone-11, Glycosphingolipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Alcohol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Mica, Red 33, Brown 1, Blue 1

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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Got a Sample - great on lips - ok under eye skin

The laser free is too moisturizing for my combination skin, and doesn't really do much for my skin on my face (early 40s). What it does do that completely surprised me is plump my lips very nicely. There is a visible difference in how full my lips appear for several hours. It also works well as a primer underneath my eyes to hide some of the tiny lines under my eyes that my reading glasses magnify. Enjoying using the sample, its too pricey to buy for this purpose.

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Bought into the hype. Didn't help with my redness or resurface. Sad face.

I was talked into this product and the matching gel cream to help control my face's ruddiness (redness) related to my keratosis pilaris rubra faceii. The dragon's blood sounded promising when I was in the store with no beautypedia to refer to. Alas, this product didn't really deliver on any of its promises. I did not see a repair to the red skin on my cheeks, and I was not 'resurfaced' as my red bumps still exist. I know now that's because this product would never directly address my KP. It's just not helpful. Reading the packaging, I can see why the employee might have thought so. The packaging promises a reduction in redness and a repair like a laser treatment might give you. But with KP, the reason why you're red needs to be addressed. This product with its fancy 'dragon's blood' will never help with your overproduction of keratin. So if you're looking for a magic bullet to reduce redness for this reason, skip the expense.

Reviewed by
Lauren C.
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