Retinol is considered a must-have in skincare. With so many skin-benefiting properties, it’s unsurprising that companies are keen to include it. But the synthetic retinol ingredient itself which is used by so many of these brands isn’t the only option out there for us.
Following on from our post, Rosehip Oil – A Natural Retinol, we’re sharing what we know about the role of retinol, why natural retinol might be best suited to you and introducing one alternative that has a lot of hype around right now…
WHAT IS RETINOL AND WHAT DOES IT DO FOR THE SKIN?
Our bodies cannot produce enough retinol themselves. A potent and active ingredient, it has been found to aid the production of collagen and support cell renewal – two processes which slow down as we get older. In short, collagen improves elasticity while cell renewal performs a natural exfoliation. For this reason, it’s often found in night creams and serums to allow it to work as part of the overnight skin regeneration process.
Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. Although found in nature from both animal and plant sources, it is the chemical, synthetic derivatives (known quite simply as ‘Retinol’) which are commonly used in skincare; enabling brands to use different strengths of it depending on the core purpose of the product, the other ingredients contained within and of course, the cost. However, it is the plant-derived (natural), vegan-friendly retinol known as Carotenoids which we are most interested in.
Retinol itself can be too harsh, especially for dry or sensitive skin. It can cause stinging, flakiness, redness, irritation and even exacerbate existing skin conditions, resulting in more damage. Natural retinol isn’t only generally kinder to skin, it’s also a great antioxidant meaning it protects from free radicals and UV (sun) damage whilst also improving skin tone and firmness.
Our founder has been using rosehip oil as her natural retinol for over 15 years. It’s the most gentle trans-retinoic acid she’s come across, has been around for a long time and is great for her sensitive skin. Rosehip oil is still in the running as the best natural version, but there’s an alternative that’s becoming increasingly popular that we’re keen to try…
BAKUCHIOL – THE NEW NATURAL ALTERNATIVE TO RETINOL IN TOWN
Bakuchiol – like rosehip oil – is a gentle, vegan-friendly ingredient which acts in the same way as retinol but is not from the Vitamin A family. Found in the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea Corylifolia plant in Asia, Bakuchiol has been used in traditional skin healing treatments for centuries due to having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Clinical studies have shown that in addition to these benefits it also nourishes and revitalises the skin, with further claims that it repairs skin damage, reduces pigmentation and scarring, and diminishes dark spots/circles. The skin is believed to become stronger, plumper, brighter and firmer as a result.
Many dermatologists advise not to use Bakuchiol with acid peels as this may cause over-stimulation and lead to a reaction.
Remember, whatever retinol or alternative you choose, applying this topically to our skin isn’t enough. We must also support our skin from within, so getting plenty of Vitamin A in our diets is important too. This can be found in cod liver oil, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, broccoli, mango and many more sources.
Activate the benefits of Vitamin A in your natural retinol skincare by supporting it with plant oils in your diet or skincare, such as avocado or sunflower.
HAVE YOU TRIED BAKUCHIOL, ROSEHIP OIL OR AN ALTERNATIVE RETINOL?
We’d love for you to tell us about your experience in a comment below!