Why Bio Retinol Is the Retinol Alternative That Your Skin Has Been Missing

If it sounds like a New Age, woo-woo, hippie version of retinol, that’s because it is.
BY Sarah Lim
| August, 2021
Bio Retinol

Just like loud clubbing music or wearing six-inch stilettos after a pandemic, some things take a little time to adjust to—like retinol. Although retinol has some significant benefits for the skin, it’s not a friend to every skin type. People with sensitive skin often struggle to adjust to retinol when incorporating it into their skincare routine. Depending on the concentration of retinol, people with normal skin types can have a hard time adjusting too! Bio retinol comes as an alternative in those cases.

Retinol alternatives are on the rise because not everyone is keen on going through the irritation that retinol can cause just to have picture-perfect skin. Bio retinol is a vast category that encompasses some beneficial plant-based alternatives to retinol that still support your anti-aging skincare goals.

Here’s why bio retinol is the retinol alternative your skin has been missing!

What Is Bio Retinol?

The term “bio retinol” can be a bit misleading because it’s not just one compound or one product. It includes plant-based oils and compounds such as bakuchiol, sea buckthorn oil, rosehip oil, carrot oil and sea samphire.

Each of these forms of bio retinol has its respective benefits for the skin. Still, they help increase cellular turnover to mimic the effects of retinol and deliver younger-looking skin over time.

Bakuchiol is one of the most popular alternatives to retinol. Research has shown that bakuchiol rivals the effects of retinol on the skin, just without the irritation or adjustment period!

Other botanicals that can provide similar benefits to retinol include:

1. Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed Oil

This oil contains polyphenols, fatty acids and antioxidants to provide skin with anti-aging and rejuvenating properties to support a youthful complexion.

2. Rosehip Oil

bio retinol botanical

Best known for improving skin tone, supporting anti-aging, boosting collagen production and helping to improve the appearance of scars.

3. Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn oil

Packed with nourishing fatty acids, this oil can improve the appearance of mature, dry and flaky skin. It can also help repair skin and protect against inflammation while inhibiting the aging process.

4. Sea Samphire

Sea Samphire

The extracts of this botanical can help protect the skin barrier and reduce the appearance of aging, all while lowering inflammation.

So now that you know what bio retinol is let’s look at exactly how it’s different from retinol.

Bio Retinol vs. Retinol

Ever wondered what the difference between bio retinol and retinol is? Here are the major differences as well as a few important similarities for you to know!

The Major Differences

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Bio retinol is not. However, bio retinol has similar effects, such as promoting healing, preventing breakouts, keeping skin moisturized and improving the appearance of aging.

You can use bio retinol during the day, but can’t use retinol. However, even if you use bio retinol, make sure to use sunscreen as your last step to ensure even more protection from the sun!

You likely won’t have the same dramatic effects as retinol with bio retinol, but you won’t have the dramatic irritation either. It’s totally up to you if the trade-off is worth it or not.

Key Similarities

Retinol and bio retinol both increase cellular turnover. Although bio retinol compounds aren’t as effective at increasing cellular turnover—a process that slows naturally as we age—they can still boost the natural rejuvenating effects of your skin to repair damage and prevent wrinkles. 

Both can result in younger-looking skin. Whether you choose retinol or its plant-based alternatives, both can help you achieve the supple, even-toned skin you’re looking for!

Both retinol and bio retinol can help keep skin dewy, thanks to their moisturizing and cellular turnover properties. However, it’s crucial to note that you won’t get to this point with retinol until after the adjustment period.

The Best Bio Retinol Products to Try

Now that we’ve seen how bio retinol and retinol compare, let’s look at some of the best plant-based retinol products to try for your skin!

Best Bakuchiol: Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

This 1-ounce bottle also comes in a mini size for you to try! Made for all skin types, this serum can specifically help with dry, mature or dull skin. Made with bakuchiol, a polyhydroxy acid, tremella mushroom and herbal extracts, you can use it both morning and night without worry of sun sensitivity. 

Best Carrot Seed Oil: Naturopathica Carrot Seed Soothing Facial Oil

Made with sunflower seed oil, evening primrose seed oil, jojoba oil and flower oils from rose, ylang-ylang and lavender, this facial oil stars carrot seed oil and carrot root extract for anti-aging power. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent redness and keep skin looking supple and calm.

Best Rosehip Oil: Breedlove Beauty Co. Pure Organic Rosehip Seed Oil

This 100% organic, pure rosehip oil from Breedlove Beauty Co. delivers vitamin C and other antioxidants to the skin to boost collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Rosehip seed oil is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It can hydrate, reduce inflammation and even help improve the appearance of acne and scars. Use on its own or add a few drops in with your moisturizer daily.

Best Sea Buckthorn Oil: Grown Alchemist Antioxidant + Facial Oil

With rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil and macadamia seed oil, along with vitamin E, this facial oil can help firm and hydrate skin with its rich fatty acid content. It can even help you reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and age spots. You can use it two times a day for all skin types.

Best Sea Samphire: Earth Harbor SAMPHIRE Sea Retinol Digital Serum

Made with sea samphire, red algae, Persian lilac and honeysuckle extracts, and humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, this facial serum can help protect skin from blue light damage and is non-irritating to nourish and rejuvenate skin. Apply daily on its own, or add a few drops to your moisturizer for an added plant-based retinol boost.

Have You Tried Bio Retinol?

If you haven’t given these retinol alternatives a shot yet, it’s time to see what they have in store for your skin! Already tried a few? What was your experience with it? Let us know in the comments below! And while you’re looking for bio retinol products, download your free checklist on skincare ingredients to avoid protecting your gorgeous glow!

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