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1 of Nature’s Retinol Alternatives for Skin

Headshot of a smiling young Asian woman using a beauty serum on her face.

“95% of us women say they check out what’s in their skincare before buying it”

~Harper’s Bazaar

Beauty Editor’s Note

If you are looking for a plant-based ingredient for fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration then this post is for you. If you are looking for a new ingredient to try in your skincare routine, you might want to read this. Nevertheless, you can learn something new when it comes to skincare ingredients. Dana

The vitamin A derivative for age management retinol is the gold standard. All you have to do is ask any dermatologist.

Over the years we have gotten a lot more savvy and conscientious of what products we use on our face and body. More people are looking for alternative plant-based ways to keep the looks of aging at bay. It is never too late to ramp up your skincare routine. However, retinol can be quite challenging to use because of its side effects of skin sensitivity and tolerance to it. A plant-based version may be an option for some.

Bakuchiol Pros & Cons

Bakuchiol seeds (a Retinol alternative) surrounding a glass dropper bottle of serum.

This plant-based active ingredient is derived from the seeds of the antioxidant rich babchi plant that has been used in ayurveda and Chinese practices.


According to AKT Therapy Elemental Skincare, bakuchiol has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The benefits are similar to retinols counterparts. It helps in accelerated skin cell turnover which is exfoliation. In addition, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots are diminished. It also supports collegen production which improves the firmness of the skin. For some, it may be a gentler ingredient for age management.


Before you say I’m going to give this a shot, you might want to take some things into consideration. I always say just because it’s plant-based or deemed natural doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its quirks. Poison ivy is natural and also a plant, but you don’t want to get near that thing. Some side effects associated with plant-based retinols are sensitivity, redness, itching, peeling, flaking and irritation just to name a few.

My Esthetician’s Perspective

The advancement of active ingredients have come a long way over the years. Treating fine lines and wrinkles doesn’t necessarily require a cosmetic surgery. Night creams, eye creams, and serums can make a real difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without costing a fortune.

There are two types of products out there when it comes to age management of the skin. One that actually treats and prevents wrinkles such as retinol. And the other just helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

When choosing a plant-based product or any other product don’t get caught up in marketing claims. Always look for clinical studies or data versus personal perceptions. I still believe that when you use a plant-based retinol you still have to take it slow. First and foremost, do a patch test behind the ear to see if you have any type of reaction to it. Start with the lowest percentage and build your way up. For example, use at night and maybe one to two times a week. Retinol based products work better at night. And when you go out in the day apply a mineral based sunscreen to help with some sensitivity.

Out of the sunscreen categories which I’m not really a fan of, I always recommend a mineral-based one. Follow the package directions for proper usage especially if you are under a dermatologist care. A realistic expectation in regards to your results for your skin with over the counter products. At best you’ll see a cosmetic benefit where the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles looks better.

Consult with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon for more extensive treatments. Don’t just age gracefully, age gratefully.

By Dana Hinnant, Beauty Editor

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Author Bio

A headshot of Dana wearing a black scoop neck top under a black jacket. She has glowng caramel colored skin and short dark hair.
Dana Hinnant

Dana Hinnant, a Washingtonian native, whose journey into the beauty industry began 20 years ago after receiving her B.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland in 2000. She received her aesthetics training at Von Lee International School of Esthetics in Baltimore, MD.

Dana started as a local makeup artist and events coordinator with Alluring Looks, Inc. in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Her articles were featured in local publications such as Pose Magazine and Yndigo newsletter. In the mid-2000s, she was a volunteer instructor with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better program, which landed her an esthetician position at an area day spa. 

Over the past several years, Dana has worked with various non-profit organizations and small businesses. During her tenure as the President of the Health and Wellness division of the National Federation of the Blind DC affiliate, she utilized the platform to provide salon safety tips and skincare advice throughout the community. She was a consultant with the Ecumenical Health Council in Port Towns, MD doing beauty and wellness presentations at area churches and events.

In 2019, Dana received the Maryland Association of Community Service Award for Volunteer of the Year due to her community engagement work for The Arc of Prince George’s County. In addition, she also received the Volunteer of the Year award for 2020 from The Arc of Maryland. She is a member and an ambassador with the Professional Beauty Association. Dana is one of the co-owners of Capitol Collective Consulting LLC which launched in April 2021.

Image Descriptions

  • Headshot of a smiling young Asian woman using a beauty serum on her face.
  • Bakuchiol seeds surrounding a glass dropper bottle of serum.
  • Author bio photo is a headshot of Dana wearing a black scoop neck top under a black jacket. She has glowing caramel colored skin and short dark hair.

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