Tested on animals:Yes
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.
- Contains a mix of beneficial skin reparative ingredients aging skin needs.
- Retinol derivative is an interesting alternative to retinol.
- Lightweight texture works for any skin type, including the acne-prone.
- Fragrance free.
- The retinol derivative has just one study supporting its benefits for skin when used alone.