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10 Of The Best, Natural Alternatives To Retinol

There’s no denying retinol is a true skincare hero. It offers so many age-defying and acne-reducing benefits, it’s hard to keep up. But did you know there are some fabulous, natural ingredients that offer similar benefits to your skin? From rosehip to avocado oil, here are 10 of the best retinol alternatives you need to have on your radar… And you can get 20% OFF today in our Summer Sale with discount code SUMMER20. Head to the sale here.

Retinol is no stranger to the skincare limelight. It’s one of the most highly researched ingredients in the industry and has been proven time and again as the gold standard for stimulating collagen production and boosting cell turnover – two of the most important functions for retaining younger-looking skin.

As skincare ingredients go, this makes retinol a veritable powerhouse, helping to improve everything from fine lines and wrinkles, to sun damage, dark spots and even acne breakouts. 

However, while retinol is great, it’s not for everyone. For starters, it’s not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Perhaps your skin is super-sensitive and it simply can’t tolerate the powers of such a potent active. We formulate our Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum with retinyl palmitate, an extremely gentle form of retinol. But even so, it still might not be your thing. 

Well, that’s OK, because nature has a whole host of retinol alternatives up its sleeve which work just as hard on the tone and texture of your skin as the real McCoy.

Herein, ten of our favourites…

1. Apricot Kernel Oil

If you’re looking for a plant-based retinol alternative that’s much kinder to your skin, apricot kernel oil could be right up your boulevard. How so? Because retinol is a derivative of vitamin A which apricot kernel oil contains by the bucketload.

Due to this high vitamin A content, apricot kernel oil has been shown to help repair UV damage and therefore minimise the effects of photoageing like lines, wrinkles, sagging and dark spots. Extracted from the dried kernels of apricots, it’s also naturally rich in vitamin E and fatty acids which work together to soften, heal, hydrate and moisturise your skin. 

Find It In: Imperial Moisturiser, Crystal Cleanser and Night Elixir

2. Avocado Oil

Yes, they’re delicious and nutritious, but it seems avos aren’t only for smoothing on toast or serving with tortilla chips. In fact, avocado oil is one of the buzziest ingredients in skincare right now. Similar to retinol, it has fabulous antioxidant properties thanks to an abundance of vitamins such as B6, C, E, K and of course, vitamin A.

This means it helps fight free radical damage and thus increases collagen production to give you plumper, more glowing skin. Result! Avocado oil is also high in fatty acids which makes it one of the most moisturising ingredients for dry skin

Find It In: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil

3. Beta Carotene

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid which gives things like carrots and sweet potatoes their orange or yellow colour. Like retinol, your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A which is why it’s sometimes referred to as provitamin A.

Beta-carotene is often used in skincare for its antioxidant protection which helps reduce the effects of sun damage and therefore minimise damage caused by oxidative stress (one of the main causes of ageing). Just like its synthetic retinol cousin, beta-carotene has also been proven to significantly reduce dark spots.

Find It In: Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum

4. Orange Peel Oil

A natural anti-inflammatory, orange peel oil is expressed from the tough outer skin of the orange and is often used in acne formulations to help prevent and treat breakouts. It contains good amounts of provitamin A and research shows it also boasts more vitamin C than the fruit itself.

This makes it a fantastic addition to your skincare regime if you’re looking to neutralise free radicals, trigger collagen production and reduce oxidative stress. And who isn’t?

Find It In: Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum

5. Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is viewed as one of the best ingredients for treating stretch marks and scars. Pressed from the small fruit that sits beneath the rose, this healing oil contains high levels of essential fatty acids and is vitamin-packed.

Not least of which comes vitamin A which works to regenerate, heal, brighten and even out your skin tone. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties so it’s an awesome choice for acne-prone skin that can’t quite deal with the strength of retinol.

Find It In: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil

6. Safflower Seed Oil

This plant-based oil is rich in vitamin E and flavonoids which give it powerful antioxidant benefits. It works hard to inhibit UV-related skin damage (think lines, wrinkles and dark spots) and delivers a combination of omegas 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids to deeply moisturise and soothe your skin.

It’s also non-comedogenic which means it’s less likely to block your pores than other botanical oils. Well tolerated by most skin types, safflower seed oil is an age-defying winner.

Find It In: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil

7. Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn oil offers a list of skin benefits as long as your arm – no exaggeration. We’re talking hydration, elasticity, acne prevention, redness reduction, you name it. Extracted from the berries, seeds and leaves of the sea buckthorn plant, it’s chock full of vitamins A, C and E, plus fatty acids, minerals, plant compounds and that all-important beta-carotene.

Studies show that regularly applying sea buckthorn oil stimulates cell turnover to help your skin heal and regenerate itself – just like retinol. 

Find It In: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil

8. Turmeric Root Oil

Searching for a retinol alternative to specifically work on acne and/or inflammation? Then turmeric root oil could be just what you’re looking for. It’s pretty much anti-everything (inflammatory, bacterial, septic, oxidant, the works!) so it truly works to fight acne from all angles, helping to balance oil production, reduce redness and halt the spread of bacteria.

Turmeric also contains an antioxidant called curcumin which is thought to help fade dark spots. Extra bonus points for that. 

Find It In: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil

9. Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extracttru

Great for restoring elasticity and radiance to ageing skin, vitis vinifera extract (aka grape seed extract) has amazing antioxidant properties to help protect your precious skin from the barrage of environmental damage you subject it to on a daily basis.

It’s extremely rich in beta-carotene so works beautifully as a retinol alternative. Omega fatty acids also help nourish and strengthen the skin’s barrier function which is vital for healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Find It In: Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum

10. Ylang Ylang

Research shows that ylang ylang stimulates the growth of new skin cells which is vital for maintaining glowy, younger-looking skin. It also has antioxidant benefits which help rebuild collagen and elastin while simultaneously kicking free radicals into touch.

And that’s not all. Because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, ylang ylang helps balance sebum production, so it’s great for keeping breakouts under control. Win win.

Find It In: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil

So, you see, while retinol and retinyl palmitate are wonder-ingredients in skincare, they’re not the be all and end all. And isn’t it nice to know there are some natural alternatives to choose from? And also, they work!

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