Retinol Fusion Alternative Anti-Wrinkle Solution
1 fl. oz. for $85
Category:Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:03.25.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

The premise behind this serum is that it's an alternative to anti-aging products with retinol. Not everyone's skin can tolerate regular use of retinol, and some people cannot use it at all due to side effects, such as redness, flaking, or other signs of irritation. Is this serum the answer if your skin doesn't like retinol? Maybe, but this isn't the equivalent of retinol, so it shouldn't be construed as something that's just as good.

This serum contains what the company refers to as "Retinopeptide 189," said to support natural cell turnover; however, an online search for that term found only a few results, all having to do with this Roth product. We suspect that Retinopeptide 189 is one of the ingredients listed for this serum—myristoyl nonapeptide-3—but there's no research supporting this connection or showing that this peptide has any anti-aging benefit for skin, let alone the same prowess as retinol.

Although this isn't an apples to apples alternative to a serum with retinol, it's still a good serum for normal to dry skin. The fragrance-free formula contains some good moisturizing agents (texture-wise, this is closer to a fluid moisturizer than a serum), soothing agents, and a tiny amount of antioxidants. For what this costs, it should be better, but if you're hooked on Peter Thomas Roth and find the brand's retinol serums too much for your skin, this may be worth a look.

Note that this serum contains only one ingredient (bakuchiol) that can potentially improve hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and there is only one promising study showing it has this benefit on skin (Source: Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, July 2010 ePublication).

  • Contains some good moisturizing ingredients.
  • Nice mix of anti-irritants that can help reduce redness.
  • Fragrance-free formula is suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Not an apples-to-apples alternative to products with retinol.
  • Doesn't contain much to improve hyperpigmentation.
  • The "Retinopeptide 189" is seemingly a mystery, with no research explaining what it is or what it can do—you just have to take Roth's word for it.
  • Expensive given that its benefits don't seem to be as good as those from a product with retinol.

A hi-tech, well tolerated retinol alternative that mimics the results of retinol to help improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, texture, and skintone.


Water, Glyceryl Stearate,C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Isocetyl Stearate, Panthenol, Cetyl Alcohol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Nylon-12, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-100 Stearate, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3, Allantoin, Vigna Aconitifolia Seed Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Bakuchiol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Phytate, Mica, Sodium Benzoate, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol.

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.

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585623-IIS1 v1.0.0.379 3/29/2015 7:29:54 AM