Peter Thomas Roth NEW Pro Strength Formulas

As an avid skincare enthusiast, I have learned to navigate around constant newness by zooming in either on my favorite ingredients or on targeted treatments that intrigue me. I’ll admit to being influenced by the trigger phrase ‘pro strength.’ So when Peter Thomas Roth sent over a trio of brand new Pro Strength formulas, I cancelled all other skincare plans and swiftly introduced his latest into my bye-summer-hello-fall routine. 

What is new?

Exclusive to Sephora at least for the moment, the new Pro Strength collection includes Lactic Pore Treatment, Retinoid Peptide Serum, and Exfoliating Super Peel. Each potent formula works to address a specific complexion conundrum: enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven texture respectively. If you’re thinking ‘wait, PTR is known for his Retinol Fusion PM and Un-Wrinkle peel pads already,’ you wouldn’t be wrong. These latest launches amplify his concentration of actives and promise to deliver even more remarkable results. Because pro level. More below.

Lactic Pore Treatment

Labeled Extra Strength, this Alpha Hydroxy Acid treatment is fueled by a 30% Lactic Acid complex. While already one of the more gentle AHAs available, PTR added 5% Glycerin to ensure a non-drying formula suitable for those with sensitive skin. This rinse-off solution promotes surface exfoliation and decongests, which results in tighter looking pores and a smoother skin surface. The addition of Witch Hazel helps reduce inflammation and prevents future breakouts. 

My thoughts

So far, this one is my favorite among the Pro Strength formulas. Since enlarged pores top my list of skin concerns, I have been using it in the morning 3 times a week. I apply a couple of pumps only to my T-zone and remove it 10-15 minutes later with a gentle face wash. There is a whisper of a tingle but remember that my skin is not sensitive. I experience zero redness after rinsing. What thrills me? I am starting to notice both instant and cumulative results. It may be the best Lactic Acid formula I have tried to date. But remember: be militant with your daily broad-spectrum SPF when playing around with acids! $88 (50ml)

Retinoid Peptide Serum

As a veteran Retinol user (started on Tazorac over a decade ago) and a fan of Retinol Fusion PM, I was pretty excited to see this new serum in the Pro Strength line-up. What makes it pro? Peter Thomas Roth boosts this anti-aging formula with a blend of 10% Granactive Retinoid and 5% Hexapeptide Complex. What is Granactive Retinoid exactly? Sadly my grasp of chemistry is at best limited so I’ll turn to Grant Industries, the company that developed the ingredient five years ago for some additional explanation:

“A concentrated and easily formulated anhydrous matrix containing 10% of the pinacolyl ester of all-trans retinoic acid in a premium delivery solvent, Granactive Retinoid is one of the most bio-available, non-prescription forms of Vitamin-A sold in cosmetics. Intended for use in anti-aging and anti-acne beauty treatments, it provides low irritating, effective active delivery in daily maintenance applications. In addition, it decreases the effects of UV induced skin damage and helps clear acne related symptoms.”


Since I disliked The Ordinary Granactive Retinoids (and I am saying this without a hint of shade) I went into trying this one equal parts apprehensive and open minded. At first, the texture feels oily but it’s nowhere near the slippery experience I feared. In other good news, a dropper-full absorbs into my skin in mere seconds with an impressive dry touch finish. Formulated strictly for night time use, it also layers great under my other PM staples, both creams and oils.

My thoughts

When it comes to retinoids, I’ve learned to be patient. It’s way too soon to expect visible results so I plan to continue with it nightly for the next 4-6 weeks (at least) before rendering a yay or nay verdict. My skin has been responding well to the Pro Strength formula for the past ten or so days so I am keeping my fingers crossed it will be replacing my Retinol Fusion PM going forward. Another perk: this serum is safe to use on the delicate area around the eyes. $110 (30ml)

Exfoliating Super Peel

Fact: with regard to peels, I have a love/hate relationship with Peter Thomas Roth. I’m all in on most of his pad formulas (Peptide 21 is a recent favorite); less of a fan of the gommage style FirmX gel. I admit to holding a mild grudge against him for discontinuing my favorite Clinical Peel & Reveal Dermal Resurfacer (and for the umpteenth time, the pumpkin enzyme mask is nowhere near similar).

Back to the Pro Strength newness: the liquid treatment promises to improve the tone and texture of skin that is rough, uneven or affected by sun damage related hyperpigmentation. 

What’s in it? The water based fusion of 35% Phytic Acid Extreme, 14% Glyacid 70 HP, and 0.4% Salicylic Acid USP works in 2-3 minutes and can be used up to twice a week. You may experience a slight tingle at first (I did) and possible redness (I didn’t). Phytic Acid, which is neither an AHA or BHA but rather an antioxidant, magically prevents blackheads from forming. And really, who doesn’t want that? The high purity Glycolic Acid promotes cellular turnover and results in a smoother, more vibrant complexion.  Lastly, a touch of Beta Hydroxy penetrates deep within the pore to dissolve clogging debris and oil build-up. Neutralize the blend with water after the recommended time. Always apply sunscreen during the day to avoid potential irritation. 

My thoughts

Since I am a frequent acid toner user, I plan to keep the Pro Strength Exfoliating Super Peel in rotation a couple of times a month. This time of year in particular, my combination skin can be prone to unexpected dryness so I may tone it down a bit in the resurfacing department. $88 (50ml)

I know this will sound repetitive but I can’t emphasize how important it is that you use sunscreen during the day after incorporating these Pro Strength treatments into your routine. Select an SPF that offers broad-spectrum protection (that means it guards against both UVA and UVB rays) and is 30 or higher. 

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  1. Shane M
    January 20, 2020 / 3:17 pm

    So how did you feel after more time with the retinoid? I’ve been using a medical grade retinaldehyde by Osmosis MD, but trying to find something easier on the wallet.

    • omgbart
      January 21, 2020 / 10:07 am

      Hey! I’m actually very happy with this one. I am currently doing a vanity edit for 2020 and cutting down on some retinols — this one is staying. It’s not my all time favorite but I do see visible results. I also really enjoy trying anything new with Vitamin A and currently testing an eco-luxe Retinal formula that is launching next month. It may be topping my list but can’t say anything else just yet… Stay tuned! P.S. The Osmosis MD formula sounds great – off to check it out. Thanks!

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