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 • Beauty  • The Most Popular Alternatives to Retinol

The Most Popular Alternatives to Retinol

Safe to say, retinol is a magical skincare ingredient that can take your skin from 0 to 10 with little time and patience. 

Unfortunately, not everyone can use this magical ingredient. 

Who should avoid retinol?

Retinol can be quite harsh on the skin especially when you’re new to it. It can cause dryness and peeling of the skin. 

  • People with sensitive skin, or with rosacea should avoid retinol as it can further sensitize the skin. 
  • Pregnant women should refrain from any form of synthetic Vitamin A (retinoids) – may it be oral or topical.

Alternatives to Retinol

No need to discard the dream of beautiful and glowing skin just because you are unable to use retinol. There are plenty of alternatives in the market that can deliver similar results without the threat of skin sensitivity or harm to the fetus. 

But before we begin with the list of potential alternatives, it is wise to know what retinol does for the skin. 

  • It increases the cell turnover of the skin. 

Retinol keeps renewing the skin to reveal new skin cells that contribute to a healthier, fresher looking skin. 

  • It exfoliates the skin.

When the skin is exfoliated, it gets rid of the dead cells and allows skincare to sink in better. It also improves the overall texture of the skin.

  • Boosts collagen production.

Collagen is the key to plumper, healthier, and wrinkle-free skin.

The products below perform all or most of the functions that retinol is known for.


The plant-based alternative to retinol.

Bakuchiol is the closest to providing results as retinol. This super-ingredient is also much gentler, yet powerful in performance. It enhances skin cell turnover, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and makes your skin smoother. 

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is a part of Alpha Hydroxy Acids also known as AHAs. These acids are widely used for skin exfoliation, however, they serve other beneficial purposes too. Like retinol, glycolic acid revitalises the skin by shedding dead skin cells. It also protects the collagen of your skin.

Peptides/Amino Acids

Peptides are a sure ticket to younger-looking skin.

Peptides are made up of amino acids, which are a significant component of our cells. Hence, the more peptides your skin has, the more healthy and youthful it will stay – just like retinol promises. 

Vitamin C

Disclaimer: When we say Vitamin C, we do not encourage applying lemons on your face. Seriously though, never use lemon on your face!

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful and versatile skincare ingredients. It protects the skin from sun damage, brightens the skin tone, smoothes texture, boosts collagen production, and prevents wrinkles. Magic Potion, if you will.

Rosehip Seed Oil

When retinol was not so famous, it was rosehip seed oil that people relied on for anti-ageing. 

Minus the exfoliation part, rosehip seed oil serves all the purposes of retinol – all while keeping the skin plump and hydrated!


If you cannot use retinol, the above ingredients will reap similar results. However, if you do use retinol, we still encourage you to incorporate these ingredients into your skincare routine (one at a time, of course). They certainly will transform your skin.


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