Without a doubt, the short-term anti-ageing benefits of retinol, a type of vitamin A, are great.
In fact, you'll start to see the advantages of smoother skin and less fine lines within just a few days.
But, the advantages come with some unsettling side effects that have caused us to rethink utilising retinol creams and treatments.
In the past, a prescription was needed to buy creams containing retinoids, but nowadays it's so simple to find skincare products containing retinol that editors, influencers, and beauty enthusiasts are hopping on board and promoting its use!
However, several dermatologists, skincare enthusiasts, and those who have encountered retinol's negative consequences advise against its broad use.
Understanding why retinol produces such dramatic anti-ageing outcomes is crucial in understanding why it is not the miracle skincare product we think it is.
How does retinol work?
Retinol promotes the division of basal cells, which are located in the skin's lowest layer. As a result, more new epidermal cells are produced, which move towards the skin's surface and eventually develop into the top layer of skin.
The more retinol applied to the skin, the more of these fresh cells show up on the surface, causing the skin to exfoliate.
What are the side effects of retinol?
Retinol use is associated with the following skincare issues, which eventually negate any anti-aging advantages.
- Weakened Skin Barrier
Skin barrier is compromised because skin cells are created improperly when they are compelled to proliferate quickly. This indicates that they are unable to create the lipids (fats) needed to appropriately shield the skin from the elements.
As a result, the skin barrier thins out and is more vulnerable to injury from both internal and external sources, which eventually speeds up the ageing process.
- Sensitive Skin
Ultra-sensitive skin and redness result from a compromised skin barrier. The skin's outer layer has been damaged, making it more vulnerable to irritation.
Increased propensity for hyperpigmentation - Weak skin's top layer makes it more vulnerable to UV rays.
As a result, pigmentation may cause significant problems. While sunscreen can help protect our skin from UV rays to some level, it is often insufficient, and using retinol will cause dark patches to develop on the skin.
- Skin Dryness and Irritation
Skin cell turnover is accelerated by retinol. Skin that is exceedingly dry and flaky may result from this. It goes without saying that sallow and sagging skin results from disrupting the lipid balance of the skin.
- Accelerated ageing
Skin cells can only duplicate a certain number of times. If you apply excessive amounts of retinol in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, you risk using up all the healthy cell divisions that you should be conserving for cell divisions later in your lifespan.
Marketers want us to buy retinol for daily use, but without studies on the long-term adverse effects, we really need to be more cautious.
We don't really know the implications of chronic retinol use.
- Safety concerns during pregnancy and breastfeeding
The use of retinol during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects.
Additionally, it may worsen pigmentation, which is a problem during pregnancy due to an increase in hormones linked to dark patches, therefore, use is not advised when pregnant.
What are some Retinol Alternatives?
I am so happy that I can recommend a product that is as effective as retinol but without the side effects.
Rosehip oil works similarly to retinol in that it boosts collagen formation and skin suppleness, reducing fine lines and enhancing skin hydration and elasticity.
While bakuchiol oil may be preferred by those looking for a more natural yet effective alternative to retinol, it actually doesn’t contain vitamin A.
So consequently, bakuchiol oil simply can’t achieve the same results as rosehip oil.
Rosehip oil contains Beta-carotene (provitamin A), fatty acids, and a small amount of retinoic acid are all found in rosehip oil.
Here are some benefits of rosehip oil as a natural retinol over bakuchiol oil and why you should be using rosehip oil instead of retinol.
- It's a natural source of antioxidants
Rosehip oil contains vitamin E which is one of the best antioxidants for the skin. Additionally, it also contains other carotenoid antioxidants like lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, rubixanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein.
- It's rich in unsaturated fatty acids
Fatty acids are soothing to irritated skin because of their strong anti-inflammatory effects.
An omega-3 fatty acid called linolenic acid, an omega-6 linoleic acid, and a 14–20% oleic acid are all found in rosehip (an omega-9).
- Antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory
Some of the rosehip oil's antioxidants, like phenols, are also known to have antibacterial properties. The oil's anti-inflammatory qualities are also attributed to the high fatty acid content.
- Supports cell turnover and collagen production
Rosehip oil promotes collagen synthesis and skin rejuvenation because it contains beta-carotene, a provitamin A. This makes it beneficial for conditions like stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and wrinkles.
- Supports healthy skin barrier function
Rosehip oil aids in retaining moisture and preventing water loss since it contains a substantial amount of linoleic acid.
- Gentle enough for under eye care
I use rosehip oil almost daily and find it to be quite calming for the region around the eyes. It aids in gently smoothing and brightening the area's fragile skin and is great for fine lines and wrinkles.
As you can see, Rosehip oil has many amazing benefits and uses. It's also great for skin that is prone to acne and other blemishes.
And even though it appears contradictory to use an oil to treat "oily skin" issues, acne sufferers can benefit greatly from Rosehip oil's high content of omega-6 fatty acids, often known as linoleic acid.
Due to its high vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, and K concentrations, rosehip oil has also been demonstrated to aid in skin regeneration and healing, making it a fantastic choice for minimising surgical scars.
Those with sensitive skin, as well as those who are pregnant or nursing, can use rosehip oil because it is not harsh on the skin.
Do you prefer Retinol or Rosehip Oil? Tell us in the comments below.