5 Best Retinol Alternatives for Smooth Skin + How to Use Them
The best part about alt retinols is that they usually work well with other ingredients; so you’ll often find a cocktail of powerful botanicals alongside an alt-retinol player. And you likely won’t have to worry as much about skin sensitizing by applying multiple actives. In fact, “they can be combined with other active ingredients for a more effective treatment, and can be used at any time of the day or night,” says Yadav. Yes, even AHAs and BHAs!
You’ll still want to follow the directions on your particular product and see how your skin reacts (and that doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen during the day); but in general, Karp says you can use them with other exfoliating acids without irritation.
“However, there is a possibility that the active ingredients may reduce the effectiveness of each other.” A general skin care rule of thumb: You don’t want to apply multiple high-potency serums in one treatment. Also, “I would avoid using benzoyl peroxide with any of these products because of the very likely irritation,” Karp says.
Which alt-retinol to choose? Well, the good news is that there have never been better and more effective options. There is no “better” or “worse” alternative to retinol (bakuhiol is not superior to rambutan, or vice versa); it’s more about which active ingredient is most compatible with your skin type. “For example, pure rosehip oil is effective, but not everyone likes oily textures,” explains Yadav.
Another reason to take part in the test, here are some of the winners below: