Worth Every Penny: Peter Thomas Roth’s Un-Wrinkle® Turbo Face Serum Review, Ingredients

Reviews, Skin Care


I love luxury and upscale clothes and accessories – don’t even get me started on my Diane von Furstenberg obsession – but I’m usually the first to tell you that expensive skin care items aren’t worth it 80-90% of the time.  Unfortunately for your wallet, Peter Thomas Roth’s Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum ($150.00, Amazon.com) is one of those rare instances when it is actually worth it.  Here’s why:

High concentration of 15 different peptides

Peptides are unique because they have been shown to increase collagen production when applied nightly to the skin in sufficient concentrations (Cosmeceutical Peptides, 2007).  The interesting thing about using peptides is that the effects are gradual, but over the course of 2-3 months, you will notice increased firmness to your skin – especially when peptides are as abundant as in Peter Thomas Roth’s Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum.

Of the peptides included, palmitoyl pentapeptide has more research on it than any other, at least in topically-applied form.  Also known as Matrixyl 3000®, palmitoyl pentapeptide been demonstrated to stimulate feedback regulation of new collagen synthesis and to result in an increased production of extracellular matrix proteins, which include types I and II collagen and fibronectin.  In a 2005 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, palmitoyl pentapeptide was found to significantly improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as overall moisturization levels, with twice-daily use.  Given that this was 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face, left–right randomized clinical study, it’s one of the best I’ve read regarding peptides to date.

Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum also contains the firming peptide palmitoyl oligopeptide.  What I love about palmitoyl oligopeptide is that it significantly stimulates collagen production in human fibroblasts, as shown in a 2007 study in Dermatologic Therapy When used twice daily for a significant period of time – about six months – this means significantly firmer skin, provided that other factors remain the same (i.e., weight, sun exposure, etc.).

Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum also contains acetyl hexapeptide-8 and acetyl hexapeptide-30.  A patented form of acetyl hexapeptide is acetyl hexapeptide-3, also known as argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3), which was shown in a 2002 study to reduce wrinkle depth by 30% when it was injected into the skin, similar to BotoxTM.  Argireline works on the same muscle-to-nerve connections as BotoxTM, which makes sense, given that it is actually a shortened peptide sequence of BotoxTM.  Unfortunately, it has not been shown that topically-applied argireline has these effects, nor has it been shown that acetyl hexapeptide-30 or acetyl hexapeptide-8 have these effects.  So not all of the peptides in Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum are top-notch in terms of research backing, but it still manages to contain just about all of those that are.

Sodium hyaluronate

If you have dry skin, sodium hyaluronate is a nothing short of a godsend.  Sodium hyaluronate is a particularly effective hydrating ingredient because it is effective in both high and low humidity conditions. As hyaluronic acid, it can bind water up to 1000 times its volume; however, sodium hyaluronate is more stable than hyaluronic acid, and so is more commonly found in skin care products.  The sodium hyaluronate in Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum is present in significant enough concentration to hydrate dry skin well.

Vitamins C and E, and a Compatible Form of Retinol

If you read the FutureDerm blog often enough, you know I love vitamins C and E and retinol.  Vitamins C and E are network antioxidants, meaning that they are capable of forming a system together, helping to “borrow” electrons from one another.  This strengthens the antioxidant capacity of each of the ingredients.  In high concentration (higher than found in  Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum), vitamins C and E have also been found to increase the power of sunscreen four-fold (Acta Dermato-venearologica, 1998).

Retinoids are also a gold standard of anti-aging in cosmetics and skin care, found to fight everything from fine lines and wrinkles to sagging skin to mild hyperpigmentation.  I normally do not like to use retinoids with vitamin C for the simple fact that retinol undergoes esterification at a high, basic pH, whereas vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid is, well, acidic.  However, in Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum, each ingredient is attached to a fatty acid group (palmitate), which not only makes the ingredients more gentle to the skin, but also makes them more pH-compatible.

Don’t get me wrong – normally I’m looking to get the biggest bang for the buck from my retinol, vitamin C, and vitamin E.  However, the true beauty of Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum comes from the peptides, and so including the milder, compatible forms of vitamins A, C, and E is actually a great choice on the behalf of the Peter Thomas Roth company.

Overall Use and Opinions

Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum is sticky and tacky on the skin, so many may find it difficult to use in the morning or under make-up.  For fastest results, use it twice daily.  Make it a point to wash your face and apply it immediately upon wakening, wait 20-30 minutes, and then apply your sunscreen and cosmetics.  If you cannot find the time to do this in the morning, then apply a thin layer of Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum to your face only at night.  It will take longer to get the firming results with once-daily application, but it’s still better than not using it at all.

Bottom Line

Other than the sticky texture, Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum is a dream product, one of the best sources of collagen-stimulating peptides I have seen on the market.  It makes a really great addition to use after a retinol serum at night for a one-two punch against skin sagging.  I love it, and I’d recommend it to anyone who asks!

Product Rating: 9/10 (High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients:  3/3.  Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3.  Value:  2/3.  Sunscreen or sunscreen-boosting ingredients:  1/1).

Ingredients in Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum

Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Propanediol, Alcohol Denat., Squalene, Tetrapeptide-17, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-10, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Tripeptide-10 Citrulline, Tripeptide-1, Caprooyl Tetrapeptide-3, Acetyl Octapeptide-3, Acetyl Hexapeptide-30, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-25, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Acetylaringyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Isopropyl Myristate, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Gluconolactone, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Carbomer, Dextran, Triethanolamine, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Red 33 (Ci 17200).

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  • AJ

    HI Nikki,
    Not sure if you’ll reply back on such an old post, but thought I’d try. 🙂 I stumbled upon your review of PTR’s Unwrinkle Turbo right after I bought it….I love it! My only question is, should I continue my Vitamin C serum (Skinceuticals C+E+Ferulic, of course! or Timeless C+E when $$ is tight) while using the PTR Unwrinkle? I know it has some C & E, but since they’re not the top ingredients, wonder if I’m still getting the benefits? Would love your thoughts. I do use the PTR twice a day to get “added benefits”, but could cut down to PM only if you think I need the my C serum more in the AM?

  • Audrey

    I just purchased the Thomas Roth un wrinkle peel pads. I noticed that it cautions not to use with Retinol A products. I am confused, if the un wrinkle turbo serum has retinol in it and they have packaged together in their kit. I cannot fund any information on how to properly pair products with this? Does thus mean not to use ROC night cream ever for example or just not after using the peel pads?

  • Sherri

    I will be 57 on Friday and have been using the Peter Thomas Roth Turbo Un-wrinkle serum for 11 days. I cannot tell you strongly enough how well this serum works. I had marionette lines, laugh lines and a sagging jaw line. In this 11 days of use they have lessened by half at least. This product is pricy but if you want results you should try it. I have tried many, many products trying to fix my issues and have had no luck until I used this serum. Try it you will like it.

  • Angela

    How does this compare to other creams and serums that have multiple peptides in high concentrations, like, for example Hydropeptide? Any other multi-peptide serums or creams similar to the PTR Turbo?

  • Amale

    Hi, I am the son of a 70 year old woman :). I have been buying her many products to keep her skin beautiful and limit wrinkles. Now she uses Clinique laser repair serum in the morning + cream and then La Prairie cellular repair night cream. La Prairie in the morning seems to give results but the Clinique serum not much, what do you recommend as the best of the best for her age as a day cream or serum. She has a regular skin, a bit dry lately. Thank you for any help I can get as I an surely not an expert

  • Debbie

    I tried this and didn’t like it. To me, his original Unwrinkle worked better.

  • Bunny

    Since there isn’t too much Retinyl Palmitate, can this safely/effectively be used under the eyes? Thinking of forgoing the Kate Sommerville Line Release Under Eye Treatment (triple peptide) and replacing it with the PTR Unwrinkle Turbo Face Serum. Any eye creams that are comparable to the amount of peptides in the PTR UTFS??

  • Josephine

    I’d love to see an updated 2012 top 10 peptides post!!!

  • Dale

    I’m seriously considering buying this since if you want to “spot treat” your skin (such conditions as stretch marks and expression lines) you need to spend a bit more money. Have you yourself triedthis serum. The ladies at my local Sephora recommended it to me.

  • Denise

    Hello again,
    What do you think about L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Advanced Skin Repair Serum? Is it somewhat of a match? Much thanks..

  • Denise

    Thank you. I would say $60 is my limit. I enjoyed the link to what you use and am considering the Timeless c serum. I have fairly normal to dry, slightly sensitive skin, never had any breakout problems, starting to see fine lines, loss of elasticity, broken capillaries.

  • Erica

    Thank you, Nicki!

  • Hi @Erica – The Unwrinkle Serum is actually pH compatible with either retinoids or glycolic acid, as I’ve never read research saying that peptides are more or less active at acidic or basic pH.

    With that said, to get the greatest results, I like to apply retinoids and peptides at night. Research has shown that your basal temperature is higher at night, which allows for greater absorption of the ingredients. In addition, night is the time when your skin cells are replenishing themselves at the highest rate, so stimulating collagen production during these hours is most beneficial.

    Hope this helps, and so glad you love the blog! Please tell your friends too! 🙂

  • Erica

    Dear Nicki,

    First of all, thank you so much for this excellent blog. I just found it today, and I’ve been on and off, going back and forth between your information and product reviews.

    My question:

    I’m strongly considering incorporating the Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum into my skincare regimen.

    If I use Retin-A at night and a glycolic acid product in the morning, should I also use the Un-Wrinkle Serum in the morning, or doesn’t it matter?

    My skin is normal, fair, not sensitive (especially not to acids), and inelastic (thus wrinkle-prone).

    Needless to say I will continue using a high-SPF sunscreen.

    Thanks in advance.


  • Hi @Denise:

    What price range are you looking at?

    Here’s a list of the products that I use. I’m very fortunate because I receive a lot of products from companies to try, but I do return to these staples. Some are from the drugstore, though some are from high-end department or specialty stores:

    Let me know what price range you’re working with, and we’ll go from there.

    Hope this helps,

  • Denise

    I am in the market for a product like this, however and a big however I cannot afford this. What are some similar products in (significantly) lower price range, if any? I’m 42 and my bare bones cleanse, moisturize only routine ain’t cutting it anymore 🙂 The only “active” I believe I use is lactic acid in my moisturizer. I’d be willing to alternate two or more lower priced items to get the same benefits if needed. Thank you so much for you generosity…

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