Beauty Featured Ladies' talk

Natural alternatives to retinols to achieve great skin

natural alternatives to retinols

Let’s talk about some natural alternatives to retinols their benefits and why you should add them to your skincare routine instead.

I found using natural alternatives to retinols can be gentler on my skin, non irritating. You can achieve the same great results such as even complexion, smooth skin, wrinkles, and acne. Let’s take a look at some of those under rated products.

Retinols have long been advertised as the best treatment around for hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, acne, fine lines, and collagen increase. Retinol are not new to the skincare industry, in fact, they are one of the most studied and evidence based topical medications. The main reason is because retinol products deliver great and long lasting results.

They are so many types of products with retinols out there, that one might need to stop for a moment and wonder: What are retinols? For those with sensitive skin, pregnant, are there any natural alternatives to retinols? How do they compare?

What are retinols?

Retinols are vitamin A derivative. They are found in many skincare products targeted toward wrinkles, fine lines, acne, and uneven complexion. They are the gold standard in the skincare industry, they stimulate collagen production that, with the right combination of enzymes is converted to tretinoin or retinoid acid.

Retin-A and retinol are considered two class of retinoids, although some believe they do the same thing. Retin-A requires a prescription while retinol is easily found over the counter and in all of majority retinol based beauty products at the department store.

Retinols are usually animal-derived but recently brands have been using plant-based sources of retinols. Truthfully, animal derived retinoids are more potent but their plant-based counters are nothing to sneeze at. However, both require the use of sunscreen when using to avoid sunburn and sun damage.

Although retinoids show promise in the treatment of skin aging, they often have some unpleasant side effects such as burns, irritation, peeling, allergic reactions, and redness.

When does one need to use any type retinols?

While some wait to use any type of anti aging in their late 20s to 30s, retinols are totally fine to use in early 20s for treatment of acne, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and uneven complexion. Since retinols are great to smooth out the skin and reduce appearance of enlarged pores it is OK for someone in their early 20s to use them safely. Besides, when it comes to anti-aging measures consistent prevention is the way to go unless you don’t mind going the surgical or more expensive route in my opinion.

When is the best time of the day to use retinols?

Most forms of retinols are not photo-stable; to clarify, retinols perform better away from sunlight and in dark containers.

There is no evidence that retinols have toxic reaction to the sun, but it does become ineffective when used in the light, so be careful!

When using any type of new retinol product, a patch test is a must to test for allergic reactions. A small pea size amount is usually enough. Some experts advise to wait at least 30 minutes after applying retinol based products before following with a moisturizer especially if that said moisturizer contains any sort of AHA or BHA. Some even say to use such products on alternate days or alternate days and nights. First-time users often experience dry, red and peeling skin, a reaction called retinization. Subsequently, retinols are not safe to use while nursing or pregnant. Hence, why I was on the hunt a safe natural retinol alternative. In the same vain, People with skin conditions like rosacea, and eczema should steer clear of them or use them under a licenced professional supervision.

natural alternatives to retinols

What are some natural alternatives to retinols?

Since retinols are not suitable for sensitive skin, nursing, expecting women, and others with skin conditions like eczema some prefer not to incorporate them into their more natural skincare routine. Fortunately, they are quite a few natural alternatives to retinols to use based on your skincare needs. I personally feel more comfortable using them while pregnant as my skin tends to be more sensitive and reactive due to the cocktail of hormones raging through my body.

It all depends what results you are trying to achieve and your skin conditions.

Let’s take a look at a few natural alternatives to retinols, their properties, and who should give them a try.

Rosehip seed oil

Rosehip oil comes from wild rose seeds. It’s packed with omega 3 fatty acids, All-trans-retinoic acid which comes from cold pressing the seeds. Trans- retinoic acid is a natural moisturizer with regenerative properties. Consistency is key. So, don’t expect great results if you use it sporadically. Rosehip improves firmness, elasticity and diminishes acne scars and helps fading new stretch marks. It is not as powerful as retinols but it’s high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E with makes it a great mild natural alternative to retinols. Rosehip seed oil is safe enough to use while pregnant or nursing.

Our Recommendations: Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($44)

Organic Rosehip Oil by Sky Organics ($12.95)

Immortelle Oil

Immortelle or Helichrysum is a yellow gold flower found in Corsica. It’s a very scare plant with powerful properties. Legends say the flower possesses the secret of eternal youth because it never fades and always retains its beautiful vibrant color even when dried in the sunlight. It produces a powerful anti-aging oil. Additionally, immortelle stimulates collagen production, encourages skin detoxification, and works as antiseptics. So, immortelle oil is a great multipurpose oil to have around. It helps maintaining smooth skin, reduce fine lines, wrinkles, scars, age spots, new stretch marks, and acne. Immortelle oil is a gentle natural alternative to retinols albeit not with the full benefits most definitely not with the side effects either.

Immortelle oil is safe to use during pregnancy, while nursing, and on sensitive skin.

Our Recommendation: Source Vital Apothecary, Soothing Cream ($29.95) Amazon


Bakuchiol, pronounced “back-uh-heel,” is a natural, over-the-counter ingredient as powerful as retinols. Studies show that bakuchiol acts similarly as retinols by simulating collagen and encouraging new cells turn over. Bakuchiol doesn’t have the same unpleasant retinols side effects. So no peeling, irritation, and redness. It’s gentle enough to use on sensitive and eczema prone skin. It’s also safe to use during pregnancy and nursing.

Bakuchiol contains plenty of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it is however gentle enough to use day and night. Additionally, Bakuchiol has antibacterial properties which makes it perfectly fine to use on acne prone skin and oily complexion. Bakuchiol is the ultimate natural alternative to retinols.

Bakuchiol based beauty products are gaining popularity, although on the steep price for most, I recommend you give it a go.

Our recommendations:Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum

 Bakuchiol is the ultimate natural alternative to retinols.

Bakuchiol anti wrinkles serum, ($18.95) Amazon

Natural alternatives to retinols

Have you learned anything new about natural alternatives to retinols today? Which one are you more likely to try in the future? What are your thoughts on the new holy grail beauty ingredient: Bakuchiol? Let’s share in the comments section below!

Natural alternatives to retinols to achieve great skin

About Author

Hi, darlings! I am Mika! My first home will always be Haiti! I have been living a plant-based lifestyle for a while now. I don't have a favorite color or food for that matter. I like a variation of shades and recipes. I have a little girl who is the center of my world! I am married to my favorite human! I can spend days browsing drool-worthy food pictures on Pinterest. I love biking and hiking. I love tea, and I am a self proclaimed coffee snob! I am always trying out new recipes, new eco-beauty products, and ethical fashion wish list so long it will make your head spin!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.