Guest Post
There is a wonder compound out there that reduces, wrinkles, dark spots, acne, and dull appearance. Its’ an all-rounder and basically falls short of solving world peace problems.

But why should you care about some wonder compound? Because the skincare industry, which is lowkey ruled by retinoids, is expected to generate a revenue of more than USD 137 billion by 2021.

So for anyone wanting to invest in this highly profitable domain, Retinol is a good compound to consider.But let’s first understand what retinol is and how it does its magic. Retinol a.k.a. Vitamin A₁ is a vitamin found in foods. Apart from being used in creams and lotions, it is used as a dietary supplement.Retinoid is a class of compound vitamers of Vitamin A or chemically related to it. Retinol happens to be the most popular of them all.Data for Nerds:
Retinol

Retinol
Since it has been clinically proven to show improvement in skin, retinol is distributed in both prescribed and over the counter drugs. Tretinoin (Retin-A, generic), tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and adapalene (Differin) fall in the prescription retinoids category due to their strength.

Adapalene, on the other hand, is available as an advanced retinoid (in a 0.1% formulation versus the 0.3% prescription version). Tretinoin can be used with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) for additional skin-smoothing effects.

So how does it help your skin?
You see, until the early 30s, your skin undergoes something called a skin cycle wherein your cells turn over a brand new fresh layer of skin every 28 days.But after your mid-30s, this skin cycle slows down.

Retinol works by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They hamper the breakdown of collagen and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles get started. This improvement in cell regeneration boosts collagen production which in turn makes skin bright and healthy.

This vitamin A derived chemical helps to increase collagen production, fades dark spots, brightens dull skin and  reduces wrinkles and acne.So why isn’t every brand injecting their products full of this wonder component and why aren’t people overdosing on it?

Well, it's not exactly a win-win deal. Retinol while has a considerable list of cures, it happens to have a slightly longer list of side effects. Some of these include burning stinging, tingling, itching redness swelling dryness peeling irritation, and discoloration of the skin.That’s why some brands are hesitant to use this compound and even the ones that do, use it in a very small quantity.But there’s good news for skincare product users and makers alike! There are a few alternatives for retinol. 

These alternatives have retinol-like attributes without the drawbacks that come with retinol.So let’s see a few of them!

1. Bakuchiol
While many confuse it to be a form of retinol, bakuchiol is simply an alternative to retinol and a natural one at that.

Bakuchiol is called a “natural” alternative to retinol since it is found in the seeds of the Indian plant Psoralea Corylifolia traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases.

While they are chemically and structurally different, they share similar results when applied to the skin. Bakuchiol has been shown to improve collagen production and reduced melanin synthesis in the skin.

The overall net effect seems to be an improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation which are commonly associated with Retinol.A study conducted by the British Journal of Dermatology revealed Bakuchiol to be a promising and more tolerable alternative to retinol.
Half the 44 participants of the study received a 0.5% bakuchiol product twice a day and the other half received a 0.5% retinol product once daily. After 12 weeks the effects between the two groups were indiscernible to a dermatologist who was asked to compare the test subjects and didn’t know which group was which.

2. Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil is extracted from the seeds of the rosehip fruit. It is considered as an alternative to retinol not just because it mimics its healing properties such as anti-aging and collagen production, but also because it contains retinoic acid.

Rosehip oil may seem like a new hype. Its name may have popped up recently when people started to look for retinol alternatives earnestly but in truth, it was a remedy used by the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, and Native Americans because of its healing properties.

Apart from retinoic acid rosehip oil constitutes vitamins, antioxidants, and Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids.This ancient healing oil has properties almost identical to retinol such as increased collagen production, increased skin regeneration, regeneration of skin elasticity, reduction of skin pigmentation.And apart from “retinol’s properties” it has added benefits as it also provides your skin with antioxidants and boosts immunity.Rosehip oil is a “dry oil” so, it easily absorbs into the skin and does not leave a greasy feel.

3. Granactive Retinoids
Granactive retinoids belong in the class of retinoid compounds. Retinol, while most popular of all the retinoids, has people looking for other retinoids due to its skin irritancy and instability to sunlight.Granactive retinoids come to the rescue as they offer solutions similar to retinol while overcoming the retinol cons. So one gets anti-aging benefits without the skin irritation.They are ideal for people with sensitive skin. Due to its slightly different blend, it is gentler on the skin.

This retinoid is ideal for people with sensitive skin, or eczema or rosacea-prone skin and can't tolerate standard retinol.Granactive Retinoid’s INCI name is Dimethyl Isosorbide. It is a cosmetic grade ester of all-trans retinoic acid.All that being said, one has to note that all tests and trials have been conducted mostly on retinol. Hence all the properties, pros, cons, and features of other retinoids are still a bit obscure.

But apart from retinol alternatives found in nature such as Bakuchiol and Rosehip Oil, there are retinol alternatives being synthetically produced. One of the companies working on it is Johnson & Johnson. And they seem to have a lot of faith in their new compound. That’s probably why they sold their retinol division RoC.

Author Bio - Oorja Pandya is a Marketing Associate in GreyB Services, a Global Patent Research Firm with offices in Singapore, India, and the US. She has been researching in the Skincare domain for the past 6 months.