Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM


66 reviews

80% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$$$

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$$$



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Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This is an excellent product in so many ways. I adore the texture. It's very light and easy to spread. Sinks in very quickly. Best of all, despite the high concentration of retinol, it's extremely gentle and doesn't dry out or irritate by delicate skin the way other products I've used do. I have some post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation that I'm trying to rid myself of and it's really been a great help.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

on 10/28/2016 11:16:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Oily, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I have used this for 2 full months and see no difference in my skin. I have oily skin, sun damage and large pores. I don't think you can compare any over the counter products to prescription retin a or tazorac which is what I have used the past. I won't be repurchasing this. I also have the bottle and the dropper.

Update: Still no improvement after 4 months.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 5/22/2016 3:23:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

There are so many reviews on this that I won't go into the ingredient's and potency, etc. I have been through many retinol products over the past 20(gulp), years and I agree with many others this product hold up to quality for an OTC retinol product :)

I will say this is by far my favorite retinol product. It absorbs like water, is not oily or greasy and I see and feel huge skin benefits from it. I am at the end of my 3rd bottle and have been without it for a bit and just ordered another.....I truly think PTR does a great job in general of product effectiveness by order and strength and of his ingredients per product and what it is suppose to do. I have kind of found I love a few of his products but this is my favorite of all. The peel pads are really great also in con-juction with this,(retinol pm/peel pad am).

I don't have sensitive skin but I do have drier skin and this does not cause any dryness nor have I had any sensitivity issues.

I will note that each bottle has been a little different in color and the color can change a tad over time but I've never noticed any issue of ineffectiveness or skin irritation due to it. (in fact I believe it says color changes/variants are normal on the box/instructions or I think I read it somewhere regarding PTR?). Very, very important that you shake the bottle before each use and don't leave any product in the dropper.....make sure it all get's shaken up before you use the dropper to pull up product. :)
Which I like the dark blue glass bottle to help protect the retinol from light and the dropper to keep from contamination with skin etc.

This will not give you the same results as a prescription retinol but for OTC it's very, very good and fantastic for keeping your skin smooth and fine lines, dryness, diminishes sun spots. I have no negatives other than a tad pricey but it last's a long while and like I said for me it's the best results OTC retinol product I've tried....and their have been many,(including uber pricey brands that didn't even come close). Well, done PTR. :)

10 of 10 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I love this product! I've been using this for about 2.5 months now and my skin is glowing (though I think that is in part also thanks to my Hylamide C25). I have not had any peeling or dryness from this retinol serum - I use it every other night alternating it with the Mad Hippie Vitamin A serum. When I finish with the Mad Hippie, I'd like to continue on with this serum, and start alternating this with the Peter Thomas Roth 3% retinol.

2 of 3 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This is the first product that has shrunk my pores on my face. I had a Coworker tell me recently that I look like my Facebook photo. Why is that surprising? It is a 20 years ago photo!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

on 12/12/2015 12:06:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium Brown, Warm

Hair: Black, Other, Coarse

Eyes: Hazel

My hormonal acne is a mysterious, enigmatic creature that I still struggle to understand. I'm always reluctant to say a specific product "caused" me to break out because: a. acne seems highly random, and b. in my mind, I always think the pimple I see today, probably started forming like 2 weeks ago? Who knows.

To give some history, I've used prescription retinoids- specifically generic retin-a & tazorac in the past. They are/were somewhat effective, but the problem I've always had with prescription retinoids is over time, they sensitize and irritate my skin severely. Within a few months of using them, any benefit they provide is overshadowed by the constant pain and redness they leave me with.

That being said, I've never had the "purging" that sometimes happens when you start using retinoids- in fact when I first start using them, what I see is an immediate reduction in the inflammation of my existing acne. Since prescription retinoids are highly effective for my inflammatory acne- but too strong for my skin to tolerate, I decided to try Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM. My thoughts were; over the counter retinol is much milder that prescription retinoids, maybe my skin can tolerate OTC retinol, and reap the anti-inflammatory benefits.

I only used Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM 3 times- once by itself, and twice over my prescription Duac (benzoyl peroxide 5%/clindamyacin 1.2%). Again, I'm always wary to "blame" a product for breaking me out- but all three times I used this product, I woke up with a mini-breakout! This last time, I got about 4 small and 1 large pimple- but all were very inflamed, red, and "angry".

I seldom get a bunch of pimples at the same time. I usually get A pimple- and not on a daily basis. For me to wake up with 2 pimples- much less 5- is highly unusual. The problem with my acne is that it seems to take weeks- sometimes months- for some pimples to go away, so when the new ones pop up, there are old ones still hanging around. And all of them (whether they stay short term, or long term) leave dark marks when they do eventually go away.

Maybe it's not the PTR Retinol Fusion- maybe it's just happenstance- but I'm going to take it as the Universe sending me a message and not use this product any further! Part of why I selected this product is that it has a short ingredient list, and all the ingredients are low or non-comedogenic. I'm not sure if it could be squalane (i don't think I've ever used a product with squalane up to this point), or the tocopherol (an artificial form of vitamin e) but both of those ingredients have low comedogenicity...although tocopherol is said to be more comedogenic than other forms of artificial vitamin-e.

That being said, I think this product could be AMAZING for someone with sensitive skin, who responds well to retinoids/retinol- but finds prescription retinoids, or other OTC retinol products to be too harsh longterm. I didn't use this product enough to comment on it's effectiveness for skin discoloration and luckily, I don't have any facial wrinkles- so I can't comment on that either.

Pros: this product NEVER burned or stung when I applied it, even when I applied it over my Duac. Since prescription retinoids almost always stung me on application, I think this product is VERY gentle and could work well for people with sensitive skin. I even used this product under my eyes- the most sensitive part of my face- and had no problems.

Cons: The consistency of this serum is like water. I had a hard time applying it and always felt like I was wasting a lot of it because there'd be serum running down my hands and arms every time I applied it. But keeping in mind I only used it 3 times, my bottle looks like I've used almost none of it.

So this is a definite "no ma'am" for me, but I would imagine this could be an amazing product for many other people based on the abundance of positive reviews, and the fact that it seems so very gentle- when most retinoids and retinol product are not.

Everyone's skin is different, and reacts differently to different products. What breaks one person out, may work marvelously for another person. And just because a product or ingredient is low or non-comedogenic doesn't mean it won't cause SOME people to break out. Unfortunately, the only way to know if something does/doesn't break you out is by using it.

13 of 16 people found this helpful.

on 6/22/2015 11:30:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Any product that makes your skin break out into dozens of tiny red bumps is a no-go. I stopped and started this product to ensure this was the cause. It was. I will never use it again.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I'm on my second bottle of this and will probably buy another. It feels so oily but sinks in completely and produces no redness, dryness or breakouts on my oily-but-sensitive skin at all. I feel like it keeps my skin clear and improves the look of pores and texture, and is great for use under the eyes! As far as any wrinkle improvement, I only see that under the eyes. Wish it was in smaller bottles as I can't use it up in 6 months and use it approx 5 times a week (not on forehead, that gets Retin-A Micro). I find it easiest to drop a few drops in the palm of my hand and dip fingers in there and apply liberally to face.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

on 8/21/2015 7:42:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I have been using this for almost a year, and it works well for my hormonal acne prone over 40 skin. I found 5 drops to work the best, but I started out slow. It is very lightweight, and seems to penetrate immediately. It doesn't irritate my skin and as I increased from 2 to 5 the benefits seemed to increase. I use a soap free glycolic acid cleanser before, and pure Argan oil after the retinol. So for now this is great for me!

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

[EDIT 9.13.2015: PTR has a new retinoid product that contains 3% of the main active. It's my favorite new product from any brand this year (2015). Still love the retinol 1.5%, but love the 3% retinoid just a bit more :)]

Choosing a good OTC retinol product is tricky! There are so many choices out there at so many different price points. I always get overwhelmed :/. FYI, I used to focus mainly on high end products for all of my makeup and skincare needs. That was back in the day when I was more flush with cash and foolishly ignored most drugstore options.

These days, with the high end stuff as my baseline, I've happily settled into discovering drugstore-priced products that work just as well or better as the pricier stuff that I used to use. It's a fun challenge and I've been happy to find that there's good stuff almost everywhere.

Why do I bring this up? Well, PTR's retinol serum is one of the few products that just doesn't have a satisfactory drugstore equivalent. It's one of the only holdovers from my fancypants years when I was basically throwing dollar bills into the wind (not really, but kinda).

My reasons are basically a combination of research, textural/personal preferences and perceived efficacy:

1. The stated amount of retinol is 1.5%, which is very high for an OTC product.

[EDIT 6.27.2015: I'm not sure if this is still true, but as of 2011, stated that this has the highest concentration of retinol in an OTC product (]

2. The retinol ingredient is encapsulated (microencapsulated, actually), which means that apparently it degrades more slowly than non-encapsulated retinol, and it's also gentler because it's time-delayed in terms of being released into the skin. Also, according to The Beauty Brains' book, _It's Okay to Have Lead in Your Lipstick_ (fun and fascinating book, BTW!), "a product with 2% retinol that is not encapsulated may be less effective than a product with 0.5% retinol that is encapsulated."

I *think* that's how this product is able to get away with using a dropper-style bottle, even though we're all indoctrinated into the idea that a product like this shouldn't be exposed to air, like ever. A little part of me is still skeptical and just for ease of application, would prefer a pump-style bottle.'s probably formulated well enough (that whole encapsulation thing) that it's not the issue that it might be with other OTC retinol products.

3. It contains Vitamins C & E. More good ingredients! But also a good reason to not try to stretch out the bottle longer than say, 3-6 months. (On that note, my current bottle is a little bit older than six months but shows no signs of oxidation. Yay! But I ought to use up the rest as quickly as possible).

4. On a personal level, I like the serum texture. This is definitely one of those things that falls squarely into the realm of personal preference, but I'm a layerer by nature and I like the fact that this stuff sinks in right quick (I usually use it as the first layer in my routine). It also just feels like it absorbs better than some of the creamier styles of OTC retinol products I've tried (I like and use those styles too, BTW, but I don't think they work as well as this stuff, overall).

I'm on my third or fourth bottle of this by the way (would I buy this product again? Yup, yup and yup). Still haven't found a good equivalent at a lower price (there's a CeraVe product that recently came out that contains encapsulated retinol...seemed very promising on paper, but alas turned out to be a bit of a dud in practice (wouldn't absorb properly/balled up weirdly/still waiting for version 2.0).

Highly recommend this stuff [FOOTNOTE]* if you have the bucks to spare but there are plenty of good cheaper options out there too (that I also sometimes use, but which don't seem quite as effective). Four lippies because it's on the pricy side and I wish it had a pump bottle for easier dispensation of product. [EDIT 6.27.2015: Bumped this up to five lippies because it's worth the high price. Just repurchased again (fifth bottle, I think!).]

*[FOOTNOTE]: if you have sensitive and/or acnegenic skin (I have neither), check out the other reviews before making a decision. My own skin type is mostly normal (prone to dehydration but easily keep that at bay with proper moisturization) and pretty much bulletproof.

32 of 32 people found this helpful.

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