REVIEW: PTR Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel

This product has been in my skincare routine for a long time and I never travel without it.  I tend to have dull and flaky skin on my cheeks and chin while an oily forehead and nose.  I'm classic combination skin with sporadic break-outs that range from small pimples to painful, scarring cystic acne. 

Since adding Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel into my skincare routine, I've noticed visibly brighter and smoother skin, less whiteheads, and reduced break-outs. Fine and dry wrinkles have also, over a long period of time, disappeared from my face.  However, this is just one of many products I use in my routine, so not 100% of all positive changes to my skin can be attributed to it, although I can say with certainty that this glycolic acid gel has helped tremendously. 

Key Features

The following is a list of notable features about this product as per PTR's product web description: 

  • An oil-free fragrance-free gel treatment for all non-sensitive skin types.
  • Contains whole leaf aloe vera & anti-oxidants vitamin C E A.
  • Replenishes moisture to maintain natural balance.
  • Diminishes appearance of fine lines wrinkles & other signs of aging.
  • Clarifies skin & smoothes out rough texture.
  • Leaves skin soft supple youthful & healthy.

This product is meant to help skin achieve the benefits of glycolic acid without the harsh dryness and flaking that can come with using such an ingredient. There are great moisturizers in the gel to balance out the 10% glycolic acid, such as whole leaf aloe vera, which is a fantastic moisturizing ingredient. Furthermore, the glycolic acid is released into the skin slowly, which can mitigate the initial shock to the skin when an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) is first introduced to it.  Generally, it takes a couple of weeks for the skin to get accustomed to AHAs before users can start to see some benefits.  To read more about AHAs, read my ingredient guide.

How to Use 

It is suggested on the bottle that the gel is applied directly after cleansing; however, I disagree with this method since it forces users to skip the crucial toning step.  Toners are important because they balance and quickly rehydrate the skin after cleansing.  Furthermore, I find that when I apply this product to my skin AFTER my toner, it won't sting as much (yes, it can sting a little if my skin has any damage anywhere because of its higher percentage of glycolic acid).  In short, I never apply this as my first step, but always right after toner/essence step in my skincare routine. However, I recommend that a moisturizer always be used in conjunction with this gel!


I have been asked about the gel texture of this product before by readers, and truthfully, it's very lightweight and non-sticky for a gel.  While rubbing it into my face, it can feel slightly sticky in the way that aloe vera gel can feel a bit sticky at first, but that disappears shortly after application and absorption into the skin.  This gel, if used alone, leaves a completely matte finish.  

Gel is clear and lightweight.

As the gel is rubbed into the skin, it almost turns into a water-like consistency! 

Absorbs to a matte finish.


Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid (AHA), Glycerin, Ammonium Hydroxide, Arginine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Phospholipids, Methylparaben, Imidazoldinyl Urea, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, BHT, Alcohol Denat.

Pretty awesome ingredients with the exception of methylparaben (as a preservative), Imidazoldinyl Urea, and Denatured Alcohol.  The denatured alcohol is last in the formulation, meaning there is a very very small amount of the ingredient in the product.  As for the other ingredient, Imidazoldinyl Urea, there is a moderate concern for irritation in the skin and as a formaldehyde releaser as per EWG here.  However, keep in mind there is a limited amount of the urea in the product formulation.   

Notable GOOD ingredients include:
  • Glycolic Acid (AHA): Exfoliates surface dead skin cells and supports natural cell turnover.
  • Vitamins A ,C, and E: Offer antioxidant protection against free radicals.
  • Aloe Vera: Soothe and hydrate skin. 
Another bonus? It's fragrance free!

The formulation is also at the right pH level for the glycolic acid to work on the skin.  Unfortunately, my pH test kit's colour legend doesn't go below a 4.5 rating, but the it's easy to see that the pH test strip shows a level that is below a 4.5.  The pH is most likely somewhere around a 3.5-4 if I had to make a visual guess. To support my test results, I compared my findings with Paula's Choice, which states on its website that this gel is also around a pH of 3.5 approximately.  

Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel
*A bit pricey by volume.
*0.5 pt taken off for Methylparaben, Imidazoldinyl Urea, Denatured Alcohol

*0.5 pt taken off for clear glass bottle design (360 label keeps most of the sunlight out but not some degrading occurs)

You can purchase this product at the following, trusted e-shops:
Sephora - $48 USD 
PTR - $59.95 CAD (On Sale)


Post a Comment

Follow Us


Join Skin & Beauty Story

Don't miss a post!