Not Down With Retinol? Try These Just-As-Good Ingredients For Aging Skin

Not Down With Retinol? Try These Just-As-Good Ingredients For Aging Skin

Retinol is arguably one of the most lauded skincare ingredients out there. We don’t dispute that. But if you don’t get on with retinol, what are the alternatives? Read on for eight other skincare greats that can be just as effective for aging skin.

Retinol? We approve. In fact we have a whole bunch of skincare formulations, including an awesome serum and moisturizer, based around this skincare powerhouse. However, while its benefits to your skin are undeniable, it’s not the only ingredient that helps aging skin. Sure, it’s been proven time and again to nudge collagen synthesis and encourage faster cellular turnover. And yes, this simultaneously works to improve the visible appearance of pimples, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. But retinol is not without its faults. Ask anyone with sensitive skin and they will attest to its sometimes irritating, redness-inducing qualities.

The good news is that when retinol isn’t playing ball, there are tons of other incredible ingredients that can help deal with your skin woes just as well. Some might even be a more effective option for you – depending on your skin goals, of course. So let’s check them out, shall we?

1. Bakuchiol

New (ish) to the skincare game, but already giving retinol run for its money, bakuchiol is your guy if you’re looking to replicate the effects of retinol, but are so not in the market for dryness, redness, peeling or irritation.

Bakuchiol (pronounced bah-koo-chee-awl) is nature’s best alternative to retinol. Extracted from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant, it’s been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and, if recent clinical studies are anything to go by, it’s shown real promise for dramatically improving the surface of the skin. How does it do this? By stimulating collagen synthesis and accelerating cellular turnover at a deep, below-the-surface level. And if this sounds familiar, that’s because this is exactly what retinol does. The difference is that bakuchiol is more gentle on the skin so has way fewer side effects. If any at all.

We’re big fans of bakuchiol (if you couldn’t tell!) and based an entire range of healthy aging formulations on this awesome ingredient. Try the lot with our Longevity Regimen Bundle which includes Renewing Moisturizing Cream, Depuffing Eye Cream and Rejuvenating Serum to tackle the signs of aging from all angles.

2. Ceramides

We know you’ve heard of ceramides, but do you know what they actually are? Well, ceramides are important lipids found naturally in your skin’s structure where they play a major role in the efficiency of your barrier function, binding your cells together while helping your skin to maintain strength, stability and protection from the outside world.

Unfortunately, skin loses ceramides as it ages and this compromises your barrier function, resulting in anything from the odd bit of dryness through to rough texture and some serious premature aging. Not cool.

Topical ceramides, however, can be a great addition to your skincare routine, boosting moisture, strengthening your BFF (barrier function friend, that is!) and, in turn, helping to fight back against wrinkles and sagging skin. Try our fabulous Firming Collagen Day Lotion and Smoothing Collagen Serum dynamic duo to get your fill.

3. Glycolic Acid

As a fully paid up member of the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) club, glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliant that helps accelerate cell turnover by breaking the bonds between dead skin cells and encouraging them to split. Retinol does the same, albeit it in a very different way.

Full disclosure, glycolic acid’s potency is on a par with retinol so it does have a tendency to overpower certain sensitive skin types. But as long as you use it carefully, introducing it slowly and not overdoing it, it can be a great way to brighten and smooth the skin while helping to fade dark spots.

Glycolic acid is also a smart choice if you’re looking to reduce acne breakouts. (Ha, no thanks we’ll keep them as they are, thanks – said nobody, ever!). It works by helping to keep your pores clean and free of dead skin cells, which makes them appear tighter and stops them from becoming blocked and inflamed. Want in on some of that? Then treat your skin with 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant two or three times a week. You won’t regret it.

4. Hyaluronic Acid

Without a decent amount of hydration, skin is nothing. Moisture helps keep your skin plump, soft, smooth and youthful-looking, reducing the appearance of redness, fine lines and wrinkles while smoothing rough texture and firming sagging skin. It figures, therefore, that if you don’t keep your well hydrated it will age up in no time. And no amount of retinol will be able to stop it!

Enter hyaluronic acid (HA) to the skincare scene. A master of hydration, HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, drawing moisture to the surface of your skin when applied topically. It’s also very well tolerated by all skin types (your skin naturally contains HA so, of course it loves it!).

Granted, hyaluronic acid doesn’t have the ability to boost skin turnover, but don’t hold that against it because it does have antioxidant powers to protect your skin against environmental free radicals and safeguard your all-important collagen and elastin supplies. We’ll take that. Try our Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum and see for yourself what a fantastic ingredient it really is.

5. MSM

Otherwise known as methylsulfonylmethane, MSM is a naturally-occurring form of sulfur that’s regularly used in skincare. It often gets overlooked, however, because big guns like retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid like to take all the glory. Pretty unfair if you ask us – especially because it’s so freakin’ good!

Sulfur is one of the most important elements in the human body and it’s often touted as the ‘beauty’ or ‘healing’ mineral because it accelerates healthy blood flow, reduces inflammation, and plays a key role in the production of collagen and keratin. MSM does all this AND works hard to fight environmental damage by helping to increase your production of glutathione, one of the body’s most important, naturally occurring antioxidants.

MSM also gets extra bonus points for increasing your skin’s permeability. This allows toxins to escape more easily and enhances your skin’s ability to absorb all those delicious, active ingredients in your skincare products, allowing them to penetrate the skin quicker and deeper. AKA better. Try our turbo powered Vitamin C Super Serum+ for your fix of MSM… as well as other skin-restoring greats.

6. Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and a total powerhouse for mature skin, helping to address all manner of concerns including dehydration, discoloration, dryness, poor texture, fine lines, wrinkles and even redness and irritation.

An absolute go-to for sensitive souls, niacinamide is an awesome alternative to retinol because it’s well tolerated by all skin types and even helps to calm and soothe irritation caused by chronic skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. It works by increasing the production of ceramides in the top layers, helping to look after that all-important barrier function and improving the strength, resiliency and moisture levels of your delicate skin. As you know, dry skin is terrible for the appearance of line and wrinkles so anything you can do to help maintain a legitimate amount of hydration will simultaneously help your skin look more youthful and glowy.

Niacinamide also fights free radicals and regulates oil production so it’s a pretty fabulous choice for oily, aging skin. But that being said, it’s a pretty fabulous choice for ALL skin types. Which is why our Niacinamide Facial Serum is such a baller.

7. Peptides

When it comes to boosting your supplies of skin-loving collagen and elastin, peptides have your back. How so? Well, just like proteins, peptides are chemical compounds made up of amino acids. And because they’re so closely related – peptides are short chains of no more than 50 amino acids, whereas proteins are much longer molecules of multiple peptides – peptides signal your skin to be more efficient in its synthesis of vital proteins like collagen and elastin. Some peptides also encourage your skin to produce more hyaluronic acid which is great for hydration and free radical protection.

Of course, some peptides are better than others. Many are unstable, some are too large to be able to penetrate your skin and others just don’t perform that well. So make sure you’re looking for the good ones when choosing your anti-aging weapon.

Matrixyl 3000, for example, is a combination of two peptides that has been independently proven to boost collagen in your skin, offering true results for a whole host of skin concerns including fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and hormonal breakouts. We also love palmitoyl tripeptides-1 and -5, and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 which combine to offer a true force for pumping up your much-needed supplies of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Find them in our incredible Peptide Facial Serum.

8. Vitamin C

Last, but never least, is vitamin C which, as you know, means the world to us at TruSkin. With no less than eight skincare formulations based on the prowess of this antioxidant dreamboat, we basically live and breathe vitamin C. No word of a lie!

The reason we love it so? Simple. Vitamin C is one of the most trusted and clinically-proven ingredients known to skin. It provides the very best in environmental protection (read stronger, healthier skin), controls melanin production (hello brighter skin and a more even skin tone) and gives your sunscreen an extra helping hand to shield your skin from the daily onslaught of damaging UV radiation. All of this adds up to stronger, youthful-looking skin that maintains its firmness, radiance, smoothness and evenness. Yes, even if you are closer to 80 than 20 ;)

Our classic Vitamin C Facial Serum is always a winner, no matter your skin type, but you must also try the divine Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream before bed each night to restore your skin as you sleep and power it up for another day.

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Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.