Alternatives to Retinol: Products to Keep Your Skin Youthful

Skin Secrets

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Retinol, derived from vitamin A, penetrates deep into the skin’s dermis layer to neutralize free radicals. Retinol has been a go-to beauty secret for women as they age or combat acne due to its collagen-producing qualities. However, there are side effects. Itching, redness, peeling, sensitivity to UV light and eczema flare-ups are just a few of the downfalls of retinol. Retinol and its more potent version of retinoids should be avoided during pregnancy, as they have been linked to birth defects. The good news is you don’t have to use retinol to achieve anti-aging benefits, as there are alternatives. For example, vitamin K protects collagen and is safer than vitamin A, which can be harmful in large amounts. Vitamin C protects from sun damage and promotes collagen.  Below are various options if you’re looking to move away from retinol.

Retinol Alternatives That Are Safe For Pregnancy
Retinol Alternatives For Sensitive Skin
Retinol Alternatives Made With Bakuchiol

Retinol Alternatives That Are Safe For Pregnancy

Total soy complex, a component of proteins and fatty acids, has been utilized in this particular product that not only moisturizes but enhances skin texture. Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Intensive Moisturizer also contains vitamin B3, which is touted to have a multitude of benefits, from hydration to reducing redness. Vitamin B3 is also known to be an antioxidant. With any product, always refer to your doctor before using it while pregnant.

Add to that already seriously vibrant pregnancy glow with a plant-based serum that is full of antioxidants specifically designed to work together with stabilized vitamin C. Paula’s Choice RESIST Antioxidant Serum is made in a way to reduce dullness while fighting the signs of sun damage. No matter what age you are, a powerful serum like this may enhance your already beautiful skin.

Retinol Alternatives For Sensitive Skin

Potent retinol products can cause retinol burn for those just starting out using the substance and those who have sensitive skin. This type of burn is an irritating presentation of flaky, dry skin. Elemis’ S.O.S Emergency Cream is designed to do exactly the opposite while still providing anti-aging benefits. The ultra-moisturizing formula also contains calming natural ingredients such as lavender and myrrh.

Reviews note that this cream does not irritate the skin, although it does even out skin tone and can diminish dark circles. Some folks even mention that they use it to reduce puffiness around their eyes during allergy season. Other benefits include reducing fine lines, and the product itself feels lightweight. If you’re looking for something that you can wear underneath your makeup, this might be a good option.

Being one that I have personally tried, Andalou’s rejuvenating eye balm immediately adds a firmness to the skin. Not being overly heavy or greasy, the product can be a good option for those who tend to have more oily skin. Plant-based stem cells are one of the secret ingredients within the Beauty essential, making it also a solid option for vegans.

Retinol Alternatives Made With Bakuchiol

This bakuchiol product falls under Sephora’s “clean” beauty products. Those who left reviews mentioned that they combine this cream with a moisturizer to combat dry, flaky winter skin. Some also detail that they apply just a little bit on the face and neck area at night to achieve hydration, thus reducing fine lines. Most products have their naysayers, but one common mention is that the formula tends to be a bit runny, and the packaging is sometimes faulty.

Bakuchiol is a plant-derived retinol alternative that has been studied to have the same cell turnover-promoting properties as retinol, without the dreaded irritation. Bakuchiol has even been known to be antibacterial and is a vegan anti-aging option. Kakadu plum extract, which is a source of vitamin C, works together with bakuchiol to help achieve smoother skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles, thanks to its hydrating components and antioxidants.

Eco-certified, vegan cane sugar squalane is an alternative to shark liver oil, and it helps hydrate the skin. Combine this with high-strength bakuchiol, and you’ve got a potential powerhouse for younger-looking skin. The description also details that this mixture is great for reducing the appearance of stretch marks or acne scars. Sixty-seven percent of the people who use this product gave it a five-star review, and five percent gave it a one-star review. You can be the judge.

Burt’s Bees has hopped aboard the bakuchiol train, and their serum is dermatologist approved! There’s a lot of power packed in that tiny bottle, as a pea-sized droplet is recommended for a light coating. Rub it in, morning or night, and see if you notice the fine lines around your eyes fade. Reviews predominantly note this cream to be great for sensitive skin, but it should be noted that some people still have had reactions.

Falling in line with Burt’s Bees’ eye cream, this overall face cream also contains the plant-based retinol alternative, bakuchiol. So, of course, the same anti-aging benefits are mentioned within the description. Other ingredients within the cream include sunflower oil and natural and just plain fragrance. Overall, reviews from Walmart’s website praise this product for being highly moisturizing and not overly heavy.

Prebiotics and probiotics work together to firm the skin and smooth it and reduce irritation. Along with those elements, this product contains bakuchiol, alfalfa sprouts, and, more surprisingly, Stevia, which helps with the skin renewal process. These ingredients are used in place of retinol. While the majority of reviews highly praised the product for its effectiveness, there are folks that experienced burning and irritation. It’s always important to talk with your dermatologist and consider your skin type before starting a new product.

Not that men can’t use any retinol alternative creams on the shelves, but this one is specifically designed for a man’s skin. One of the key ingredients is Kalahari melon oil, which is sourced from a wild watermelon, typically from Africa. High in fatty acids, it serves as a great carrier oil to help other nutrients absorb more efficiently into the skin. Along with vitamin E, results can range from reducing fine lines to adequate hydration.


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