Peter Thomas Roth admittedly makes some of my favorite skin care products, including Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Cream (great for dark circles, particularly when used with a low-concentration retinol cream) and 1.5% retinol Peter Thomas Roth. The new Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum ($150.00 retail, $80.95, Amazon.com) has four new complexes; the company claims each does the following:
- 10% Growth Factor Extreme: Helps to activate skin’s natural repair mechanisms.
- 5% Neuro-Blokk™: Packed with power, this hexapeptide inhibits line-inducing facial expressions.hex
- 5% BoNt-L: Clinically proven to reduce the depth of expression lines and promote skin elasticity.
- 10% Serilesine™: Redensifies skin to promote skin elasticity for a more supple appearance.
Of these advertised ingredient complexes, I am enthusiastic about 5% Neuro-Blokk™, which appears to be a trademarked name for the hexapeptides hexapeptide-10, palmitoyl hexapeptide-19, and acetyl hexapeptide-25. You may remember a few years back when there were lots of radio commercials advertising the hexapeptide in Hydroxatone (acetyl hexapeptide-3, also known as argireline) as an “an alternative to Botox”. An independent 2002 study found injections of acetyl hexapeptide-3 decreased wrinkle depth by an average of 30% when it was injected into the skin, a result similar to BotoxTM. Given that acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a shortened form of BotoxTM, working on the same muscle-to-nerve connections, this makes sense.
Unfortunately, while injections of acetyl hexapeptide produced similar results to BotoxTM, acetyl hexapeptide in skin care creams cannot diffuse through the top layers of skin to reach the crucial muscle-nerve connections like injectable BotoxTM. Still, I have heard reports that acetyl hexapeptide in skin care creams causes a temporary relaxation of the muscles in some users, for a 3-4 hour “BotoxTM” effect. I assume this is at least partially because some people have thicker skin than others, but there may be more factors involved. As such, it’s impossible at this time to tell whether or not the hexapeptides in Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum will induce a temporary “freeze” effect in your skin or not.
Another Ingredient I Love: Glutamylamidoethyl Indole
Glutamylamidoethyl indole is also known as Glistin, a very new antioxidant that protects the cell from oxidative damage and stress. Originally developed by Biosiltech, Glistin has the unique property of acting as an antioxidant at concentrations less than 0.025 µM, a concentration at which many other antioxidants (like xanthine and hypoxanthine) do not provide protection against oxidative damage. For this reason, it is hypothesized that Glistin works in a different manner than most other antioxidants. The company proposes that Glistin protects cells in the same way naturally-occurring neurotrophic growth factors, like nerve growth factor and other neurotrophins, do – that is, by increasing the production of certain protective neuropeptides and substances called interleukins.
Glistin has also been demonstrated to increase cellular production of IL-6, which is a growth factor for plasma cells (found in the blood). In so far as protecting the skin, early studies show Glistin prevents cell death (apoptosis), but there are a lot of regulatory processes and other considerations that go into cellular death. In fact, when a skin cell dies, it secretes certain factors that stimulate other, newer skin cells to grow. So the prevention of cellular death is not why I’m interested in Glistin. Rather, I like the idea of protecting the nerves within the skin. The idea of preventing nervous system aging, known as neuronal degenerescence, is novel indeed, and who knows just how much aged nerves contribute to the overall appearance of aging itself. It’s a new area for cosmetic science, and I’m excited about it.
Ingredients I’m Not Excited About: Growth Factor Extreme
Of all the ingredients in Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum, I’m actually least excited about Growth Factor Extreme. Granted, true growth factors do exist; biologists define them as substances capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation, and cellular differentiation. Most established growth factors are proteins or steroid molecule that include epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast stimulating factor (FGF), or cytokines like TGF-β or IL-3.
It’s hard to say whether or not growth factors in skin care creams can enact change at the cellular level. Some skin care creams, like Vitaphenol Cellustructure Serum and Skinmedica TNS Skin Recovery Complex, actually contain TGF-β. However, after examining the ingredients list of Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum, there is no TGF-β or other established growth factor to be found. It is likely that the company is trying to market a(n) ingredient(s) proven to stimulate the growth of fibroblasts (collagen-producing cells), such as retinyl palmitate and/or bark extract, as Growth Factor Extreme. They may even be calling Glutamylamidoethyl indole, with the growth factor-stimulating properties described above, “Growth Factor Extreme.” However, I find it a little misleading to call anything but an actual growth factor “Growth Factor Extreme.” Even if it stimulates growth factors! So don’t go buying Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum thinking that you are getting 10% TGF-β!
What do the studies say?
According to Peter Thomas Roth, an independent four-week clinical study supports the claims of Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum; the study was conducted on women between the ages of 41 and 60 using twice-daily application.
Reported results by percentage of participants:
– 100% FIRMx instantly improved skin, increasing softness, smoothness, and hydration.
– 100% Skin feels firmer.
– 100% Overall appearance is firmer and more youthful looking.
– 100% Fine lines and wrinkles are visibly reduced.
– 100% Face and lower jaw line look more contoured.
– 100% Felt an improvement in the elasticity of their skin
– 100% Skin tone, clarity, and texture visibly improved.
– 100% Skin looks more radiant and luminous than before.
– 97% Skin improved instantly.
– 88% Felt like they had a mini face lift.
My only comment is that the company needs to release the number of women who participated in the study. The greater the number of participants, the more accurate the results. Assuming worst-case scenario, considering the reported percentages include 97% and 88%, there could be as few as 33 women in the study (i.e., if 1 did not feel her skin improved instantly, that would be 97% who did; if 4 did not feel as though they had a face lift, 88% did).
So while I do love the impressive numbers and appreciate the fact the study was independent, I still feel the company needs to release the number of participants, as well as confirm the study was peer-reviewed and randomized. Until then, I consider the study impressive, though I take it with the proverbial grain of salt.
Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum has a lot going for it. I love, love, LOVE the inclusion of glutamylamidoethyl indole, and I approve of the hexapeptides, so long as you are in the small proportion of people for whom topically-applied hexapeptide will work.
The only reason this product does not get a 10/10 is two-fold and due to disclosure. For one, I wish the company would list the ingredients as, for example, “1.5% glutamylamidoethyl indole” rather than “10% Imaginary Complex.” In this information-based age, you cannot get away with marketing ingredients as “10% Imaginary Complex” for very long. Even if it sounds more impressive initially, we are long past the days of where the bulk of sales are impulse buys. As many as 70% of women will search for beauty product reviews online before making a purchase, and in the long run, Peter Thomas Roth would win a lot more fans for full disclosure. Two, if the company mentions a study, the number of participants, as well as randomization and blinded-ness, should be mentioned as well.
So, even though that may sound harsh, I like Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Extreme Neuropeptide Serum very much, particularly due to the novel glutamylamidoethyl indole, and give it an enthusiastic 9/10. (High or optimized concentration of proven-effective ingredients: 2/3, with a -1 due to the mention of concentrations of complexes rather than ingredients. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value for the cost: 3/3. Sunscreen or oxidative damage protection: 1/1).
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Silica, Dimethiconol, Sodium Pca, Urea, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Hexapeptide-10, Myristoyl Octapeptide-1, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-19, Acetyl Hexapeptide-25, Quercus Suber Bark Extract, Hydrolyzed Oats, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Arginine, Phospholipids, Glutamylamidoethyl Indole, Pyroglutamylamidoethyl Indole, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanyl Palmitate, Polysorbate 20, Isohexadecane, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Dmpa/Isophthalic Acid/Smdi Copolymer, Polysilicone-11, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Trehalose, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triacetin, Acrylates Copolymer, Dextran, Carbomer, Dipropylene Glycol, Laureth-3, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Mica (Ci 77019).