40% Triple Acid Resurfacing Peel
12 vials for $88
Category:Skin Care > Retinol Products > Exfoliants
Last Updated:12.17.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Lots of our readers have been asking us about this product, most likely due to the name, which makes this exfoliant sound more potent than it really is. To be clear, we couldn't confirm whether or not this product really contains 40% of any one acid or the combination of acids it includes. We're hoping it doesn't because if it did we doubt you would have any skin remaining if you left it on beyond the recommended two minutes.

The chief exfoliant in this product is glycolic acid but it also includes salicylic acid and TCA (trichloroacetic acid) and the formula has a pH of 3.5, ensuring effectiveness. There are 12 single use vials that you are supposed to pour onto thick, textured pads and then wipe over the skin.

The TCA present in the formula is most often used in medical settings at about a 35% strength and is considered a high risk peel to perform. It is rarely, if ever, used in skin-care products. Based on the ingredient list, the amount of TCA seems to be far less than 1% which is a very good thing.

The directions say to apply the solution to skin via the supplied pads (the pads are quite nice and not the least bit flimsy), wait 2 minutes, and then rinse. You're also told that some stinging may occur, and that this is normal (which is accurate given the ingredients it contains). Although we don't normally comment on our personal experience with skin-care products, we found this at-home peel to be quite mild (which is why we assume the 40% claim is a marketing contrivance and not a real number). The results were nice, but nothing spectacular—just smoother, softer skin.

So, should you try this? Well, it definitely exfoliates and its claims of improving skin texture, wrinkles, and the like are valid, but that applies to any well-formulated exfoliant. The sticking point for us is the price. Knowing that this is hopefully not the potent alternative to professional peels it's hyped up to be, spending almost $90 for only 12 applications seems silly, especially when a 2- to 4-ounce size of a 10% or 12% AHA exfoliant or 1% to 4% BHA exfoliant in a cream or lotion base allows for long term usage and is far less expensive. However, if you accept the claim about a 40% concentration, then proceed cautiously.

We're rating this GOOD due to its ability to exfoliate and because the solution you add to the pads contains other beneficial ingredients as well. It is also worth considering because of the unique mix of exfoliating ingredients. However we urge you to think twice before spending this much on an exfoliant that, despite its professional angle, is easily replaced by equally strong, less expensive products.

  • Formulated within the correct pH range for the acid ingredients to exfoliate.
  • Contains other beneficial ingredients, such as sodium hyaluronate and antioxidant vitamins.
  • The exfoliant solution is packaged to keep the contents stable before use.
  • Contains fragrance in the form of methyldihydojasmonate.

A complex of three high-potency acids – TCA, Glycolic, and Salicylic – minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, helps even out a rough texture and uneven skin tone, and diminishes the look of pores and problem skin. Uncover renewed, retexturized, radiant, and younger-looking skin.


Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium PCA, Arginine, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Soyethyl Morpholinium Ethosulfate, 4-T-Butylcyclohexanol, Trichloroacetic Acid, Glycerin, Cyclodextrin, Myristyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol, Cholesterol, Propylene Glycol, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Lecithin, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Isohexadecane, Sodium Borate, Xanthan Gum Powder, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Sorbtian Oleate, Ambrettolide, Mica, Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

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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Not Worth the Money AT ALL

Terrible product for the price. I saw little to no noticible results. Perhaps a slightly smoother outer appearance, however that was after leaving it on for 10 minutes (product recommends 2 minutes). I stuck with it for three weeks and was thoroughly disappointed. Stick with Paula's BHA and AHA products. You'll save your money and see far more significant results!

Reviewed by
Gabii, B
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