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Ingredient Spotlight: Retinol Alternatives

It’s no secret that retinol is a powerhouse skincare ingredient. It helps slough away dullness and impurities to visibly smooth the look of skin for a brighter, youthful appearance over time. Yet, even with all these pros, there’s a major con—it can be extremely sensitizing, making it hard to tolerate for some skin types! That’s where retinol alternatives come in. Whether it’s a plant oil or extract, these clean ingredients call on nature to offer the same benefits without the unwelcome side effects (think dryness, peeling, and flaking!). Still not convinced? Let’s dive deeper into the alternative ways to vitamin A!


Gentle and sun-safe vitamin A-derived skincare ingredients that are delivered to skin by serums, creams, masks, and oils.


Mildly exfoliate to clear impurities and encourage cellular turnover for fresh, smooth, youthful-looking skin over time.

Retinol Alternative Ingredient: Bakuchiol

Known as “nature’s retinol”, this gentle, sun-safe botanical extract boosts hydration to reveal a plump and firm appearance sans dryness or sensitivity.

Retinol Alternative Ingredient: Cockspur Thorn

This unique bio-retinol alternative extract hosts the same clarifying benefits as its conventional counterpart while also supporting a balanced microbiome, essential for healthy, youthful-looking skin.

DON’T BE SO SENSITIVE: Clean retinol ingredients don’t cause skin sensitivity like their synthetic counterparts, which means they’re sun-safe for use during the day—just don’t skip on the SPF!

Retinol Alternative Ingredient: Carotenoids

Found in various plant-based ingredients—like carrot root, algae, green tea, and rosehip extract—this vitamin A-rich phytonutrient helps brighten, nourish, and boost skin elasticity.

PAIRS WELL WITH OTHERS: Gentle enough to be used alongside other active ingredients like vitamin C and acids, these retinol alternatives won’t leave skin dry and flaky.

Explore more vitamin-rich skincare!