The Natural Retinol Alternatives Saving our Skin

by Roki Prunali

Natural Retinol


Retinol continues to reign as one of the most sought after-ingredient in our beauty routine in the fight against acne and fine lines. Though effective, it does have some downsides; retinol can be harsh on the skin, causing irritation, redness, peeling and flaking skin. Many people elect to try natural alternatives rather than over-irritate their skin.

The umbrella term retinoid refers to any derivative of Vitamin A. So the most frequently used term is retinol, which can usually be associated with any over-the-counter products that are a natural derivative of Vitamin A. A little stronger in the retinoid world is retinoic acid, which is what you would typically find in prescription topicals such as Retin-A and Tretinoin. Not many studies have confirmed the difference in efficacy between the different retinoids, but the reason retinoic acid is stronger than retinol is because our enzymes work to convert retinol into retinoic acid. So, if we are already applying the retinoic acid to our skin, it can get to work right away.

What we all know to be true at this point is that retinol makes our skin peel, and this harsh treatment might not be the right treatment for every skin type. Thankfully – since we are such diehard natural skincare fanatics here at ATPB – natural products that use Vitamin A ingredients have been taking their place in the world among the their retinoid competitors. The likes of rosehip oil, beta-carotene, and the recently most popular bakuchiol – an antioxidant that mimics retinol – have given us much gentler options in the fight against acne and fine lines.

With these less harsh retinol alternatives, it may take a bit longer to see the effects on your skin, and you probably will not see the instant gratification of a peel. The Vitamin A still needs to convert to retinoic acid when it hits the skin, and the more natural options take a bit longer to get there.

The biggest hype seems to be circling around bakuchiol, which is in no way shape or form related to retinol, but seems to have the same effects on the skin. Studies have been made on the matter, and it appears to show an increase in collagen production and minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles… all without that pesky irritation. A study at UC Davis comparing bakuchiol and retinol saw similar results, because the natural alternative seems to activate the genes that regulate collagen and elastin production – just as retinol does. It is made from the extract of the Babchi plant that has been used in Ayurevedic medicine for ages.

Good news for all you pregnant ladies that have had to shelf their retinol til post-birth. This is a great natural alternative to keep you glowing while pregnant without having to say goodbye to your friend retinol. If you are in the market for some help with acne and fine lines, try some of these natural alt-retinol products.

Natural Retinol

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil

Bakuchiol reduces the depth and appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by boosting collagen production, combined with the oils of sea buckthorn berry, rosehip (another natural retinol alternative) and sweet almond, which hydrate while providing an antioxidant defense.

Natural Retinol

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

This lightweight serum with Bakuchiol has a “No Compromise” formula that is found to be non-irritating and effective for all skin types.  It not only reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, but also evens tone.

Natural Retinol

Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Facial Oil

With 18 high-performance botanical ingredients, this luxurious face oil reduces the look of early wrinkles with the retinoic acid from rosehip, while vitamins and minerals provide nourishment for youthful looking skin.

Natural Retinol

Olenhenriksen Glow Cycle Retin-Alt Power Serum

This age-defying serum, powered with AHA’s and bakuchiol, fights the major signs of aging. It is also enriched with Edelweiss stem cell, which helps firm and improve elasticity, while hibiscus flower extract evens skin tone and texture.

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