Allure Editors Pick Their Pro: Here’s What Happened When We Tested Out Three New Professional-Strength Skin Care Products

3 bottles from the peter thomas roth pro strength skincare collection on a white and pink table
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If you know anything about us here at Allure, it's that we do our due diligence when it comes to testing, and endorsing, new products. In other words, when a shiny new skin-care product comes our way, we don't let our excitement get in the way of the facts. That is, what's in a product's formula, how it works, and if it really does, in fact, work. That said, there are certain skin-care brands that seemingly never fail to deliver when they launch a new product, and Peter Thomas Roth, with its potent formulas and minimalist packaging, is at the top of that list.

So, when we caught wind that the brand was launching three new professional strength skin-care products — PRO Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum, PRO Strength Lactic Pore Treatment, and PRO Strength Exfoliating Super Peel — needless to say, we were eager to put them to the test. To do so, we enlisted three Allure staffers to pick a PRO Strength product based on their own individual skin concerns, test it out for three weeks, and report back with results. Spoiler alert: Nobody was disappointed. Keep reading to learn about each staffer's experience with each new product, plus expert-backed information on the ingredients in each formula that helped deliver some seriously impressive results.

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum
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When I think of the word "retinol," images of thick creams come to mind. Not...serums. And certainly not a serum like the new Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum.

This is because, in all of my many years of being a skin-care editor, I've never once used a retinol quite like this one before — and I'll explain why. Instead of the creamy, white formula that's typical of most retinols, Peter Thomas Roth's peptide-packed version comes in a thin fluid that's reminiscent of a face oil. And that's probably why I like it so much. That, and the glow-inducing, skin-smoothing, breakout-free results I experienced after just a few weeks of use.

The formula pairs retinol (10 percent granactive retinoid, to be precise) with super-moisturizing ingredients like a super lipid complex and squalane, which, in my experience, helped to mitigate the typical negative side effects of using a retinol (more on this later). Granactive retinoid, if you're wondering, is "a form of retinoid that is supposed to deliver the benefits of vitamin A, [such as] increased collagen stimulation and decreased acne, without the traditional irritation associated with retinoids," explains New York City-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali. Why is this important? Because "tolerability tends to be the biggest issue with retinol, so better mediums for delivery are always welcome," Bhanusali says.

Here's exactly how I use it: Every other night, after cleansing, I pat on a droppers-worth of serum all over my face (being careful to avoid the eye area) and then let it set in for a couple of minutes. Next, I tap on my eye cream, seal it all in with a moisturizer...and then promptly crawl into bed.

Come morning, my skin is noticeably plump (that's thanks to the peptides), and clear (again, the retinol), without any of the side effects usually associated with retinol (i.e. redness, dryness, sensitivity, etc.). I'll admit that, as I get older, preventing fine lines is also on my radar, so a serum that helps keep my skin clear and visibly smooth is a win-win. Needless to say, a retinol serum may be what I've been missing in my skin-care routine all this time.

Sarah Kinonen, Associate Digital Beauty Director

Peter Thomas Roth's PRO Strength Lactic Pore Treatment
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Lactic acid has a major place in the skin-care world as an alpha hydroxy acid. Simply known as AHAs, these chemical exfoliants help to gently slough away dead skin cells, brighten skin tone, and clear out pores. As the product name implies, lactic acid, in particular, is the star of Peter Thomas Roth's PRO Strength Lactic Pore Treatment (it's formulated with a whopping 30 percent lactic acid complex). It's second on the ingredient list — after water. Witch hazel also makes an appearance to help sweep away debris and excess oil.

To test it out, twice a week after washing my face, I spread a thin layer of the treatment all over my skin, and then let it sit for two minutes. I usually take that time to brush my teeth. Unlike most at-home acid treatments, this one doesn't burn or make my sensitive skin turn fiery red. If anything, you feel a slight tightness on the skin.

Once 120 seconds is up, I rinse off the treatment with water. Then, to make sure I fully remove it all, I follow up by wiping my skin with hydrating toner on a cotton pad. The PRO Strength Lactic Pore Treatment is formulated with glycerin to help keep skin from flaking, but your complexion can never be moisturized enough, if you ask me.

After about three weeks of use, I noticed that the PRO Strength Lactic Pore Treatment did help clear up my pesky cystic acne breakouts and amplify my skin's glow. My mom even said that my skin looked perfect, which means a lot coming from a woman who values a clear complexion to the highest degree. That's basically her version of "I'm proud of you."

Devon Abelman, Digital Beauty Reporter

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Exfoliating Super Peel
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In the past, when I've used any type of at-home peel product, the results have always come with certain strings attached — namely, stinging, redness, and yes, some actual peeling. The Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Exfoliating Super Peel had no such side effects, yet it somehow still retained all of the skin-smoothing benefits you expect from a peel.

This rinse-off peel, which is to be used two to three times a week, is formulated with 35 percent phytic acid extreme, a natural rice acid that works to chemically exfoliate the skin, plus glycolic acid and salicylic acid. As potent as all of those acids may sound — and they are potent — in my experience, while they did noticeably help even out my skin tone, they did so without causing any irritation at all.

As directed on the package, I swiped this peel onto clean skin two to three times per week, saturating a cotton pad with the liquid formula and then applying evenly all over my complexion (avoiding my eyes). I left it on for exactly two minutes, then rinsed everything off with lukewarm water and followed up with my favorite hydrating toner and a gentle, non-scented moisturizer (not a lot of fancy steps here, because like I said, I was expecting some irritation after the peel). The bottle says that slight tingling is common, but I didn't feel anything.

But the lack of tingling didn't mean that this stuff wasn't working. Immediately after each use, my skin felt noticeably softer to the touch. Over the course of the three weeks, the dark spots around my chin area (my peskiest skin concern of all), almost completely faded. Again, this all happened without any flaking, redness, or peeling. I suspect that this skin tone-evening, sans any irritation, is thanks in large part to the phytic acid extreme in the formula, which Bhanusali says "tends to be less irritating than its [other acid] counterparts."

Rebecca Dancer, Contributing Writer

All in all, as far as at-home chemical peels go, this one is impressive. Rather than only using it a few times per week, I have a feeling it'll remain in my rotation on an as-needed basis.