Retinol Alternatives

At Skin Studio Beauty Co. skin health is our priority, and we believe you can achieve your desired results without experiencing adverse reactions. This is the main reason for choosing retinol alternatives in the products we carry.

Retinol is a group of synthetic Vitamin A derivatives that increase cell turnover to force the production of newer cells, stimulate fibroblasts to make collagen fibers, remove damaged elastin fibers, and promote the formation of new blood vessels. Retinol will unclog pores, soften the appearance of wrinkles, and lighten pigmentation, thus, making this ingredient the go-to for treating acne, discolouration, and aging concerns. However, retinol does come with side effects such as peeling, irritation, burning/stinging, dryness, and redness when it is overused or used at strong concentrations. If adverse reactions or “retinol burn” is prolonged it can lead to chronic micro-inflammation which can start to break down collagen and elastin fibers over time.3 It will increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and should not be used during the day. It is also not recommended during pregnancy as too much vitamin A in the body can lead to fetal retinoid syndrome. Retinol should not be used in combination with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and scrubs, as it can cause further irritation and damage to the skin barrier. Luckily, for those who cannot tolerate retinol or are looking for a gentler and more natural route, there are alternatives. 


Bakuchiol is an extract from the seeds of the babchi plant, found to be a potent antioxidant, with anti-inflammatory properties, and is photostable, meaning it is safe to use during the day. One study found that bakuchiol can reduce wrinkle depth and decrease the size of pigmentation the same as retinol without the side effects. 2 It has also been shown to be better than retinol at preventing the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers by slowing down the activity of MMP-1 and MMp-12 enzymes.1 This ingredient can be found in our Anteage Stem Cell Duo as well as our Eminence Bamboo Firming Fluid. 


Another great natural alternative is beta-carotene, which converts into retinyl esters, a precursor for vitamin A when in contact with the skin. It will help to repair damaged cell DNA to promote healthier cell growth, protect from sun damage and strengthen the skin barrier. Similar to retinol, it increases cell turnover, reduces pigmentation, and addresses signs of aging. Beta-carotene is found in the Eminence Seabuckthorn Mask, Pumpkin Masque, Yam & Pumpkin 5% Peel, Bamboo Firming Fluid, Rosehip C + E Firming Oil, and Apricot Body Oil. 


At the end of the day, you will do what you feel is best for your skin and lifestyle. At Skin Studio Beauty Co., we want you to know there are other options and encourage you to talk to professionals so  you can make the best decision for you. 


If you are having skin concerns you would like help with, book a complimentary Skin Analysis with one of our estheticians. Either in person or online. 


Blog by Stephanie Byrne


1Dhaliwal, S. et al. (2018). Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. The British Journal of Dermatology, 180(2), 289–296. Retrieved from

2Chaudhuri, R. K. (2015). Bakuchiol: A Retinol-Like Functional Compound, Modulating Multiple Retinol and Non-Retinol Targets (3rd ed.). Cosmeceuticals and Active Cosmetics. 

3Yoon, H. S., Kim, Y. K., & Chung, J. H. (2011). High-concentration all-trans retinoic acid induces dermal inflammation and reduces the accumulation of type I procollagen in human skin in vivo. British Journal of Dermatology, 165(3), 669–672.