Ah, retinol, the magical ingredient that has got the internet divided. Both sides hold valid views too. Those who love it swear it's the one-stop solution for smooth, glowing and youthful-looking skin. Those who hate it harp on about 'the purge' — where your skin breaks out for the first couple of weeks after use. If your skin agrees with retinol, then, by all means, proceed ahead with its use.
But if retinol is more of a frenemy for your skin, we've got a few miracle ingredient alternatives to retinol that are much more suitable for all skin types — and less harsh too. Here are five retinol alternatives to try if retinol is too harsh for your skin.
Consider this nature's answer to retinol! A plant-based oil rich in Vitamin A, which is the same as retinol, shares the same skin benefits as retinol since it targets the same skin concerns as retinol does. Added bonus? It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it a much better fit for sensitive skin than retinol.
02. Vitamin C
A skincare fave through and through, is there anything that Vitamin C can't do? Similar to retinol, Vitamin C boosts collagen production and brightens up the skin. Additionally, it's an antioxidant that helps neutralise free radical damage on the skin, preventing premature ageing and ensuring youthful, glowing skin. If you're looking to add a Vitamin C serum to your vanity, opt for the Lakmé 9 to 5 Vit C+ Facial Serum. It contains one of the richest known sources of Vitamin C, Kakadu plum, and will give you even-toned, radiant and supple skin.
Niacinamide or Vitamin B3 smooths out the skin and reduces the appearance of pores, making it pretty similar to retinol. The only difference? It's much more gentle. The skin-restoring ingredient not only helps boost the skin's hydration and improve its texture, but unlike retinol, it doesn’t irritate your skin or make it flaky. Incorporate niacinamide into your skincare routine with the Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum. Apart from salicylic acid, which helps reduce breakouts, the serum combines the goodness of niacinamide and white shiitake mushroom to promote a smooth, glowing, and even skin tone.
04. Amino acids
Popularly known as peptides, amino acids stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines. They also have antioxidant properties that shield the skin against free-radical damage and reduce the signs of ageing too. And since they're already present in the skin, there are no side effects to these.
05. Rosehip oil
Apart from taking care of stretch marks and being an all-around helpful product for all things skin, rosehip oil actually contains a little bit of all-trans retinoic acid. Although this won't mean that your results will be as dramatic as they would be with retinol, it does mean that you'll reap quite a bit of retinol's benefits — without having to face any of the annoying side effects.
Written by Nishtha Bhalla on Sep 07, 2021
Nishtha is a freelance writer who loves all things beauty, fashion, culture, and lifestyle. With content covering a variety of topics, she brings a holistic, nuanced perspective to her writing. In her free time, she can be found watching reruns of The Office, reading anything she can get her hands on, and experimenting with astrology.