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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

Best antiaging ingredients if retinol irritates your skin

I love retinol, and I can't stop raving about its benefits, but there are many people whose skin can't tolerate it. Retinol is probably the best antiaging ingredient because it's the only scientifically proven ingredient to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a type of protein abundant in the body and responsible for making your skin look plump and "youthful." As we age, we start losing collagen, and many believe it happens in your late 30s or early 40s, but we start losing collagen in our 20s.

Antiaging is a controversial term as many believe it promotes society's obsession with youth and makes aging seem like a bad thing. There are no skincare ingredients or in-office treatments that can stop aging by any means, BUT some can help keep your skin smoother, cleaner, and "appear fuller" so you continue looking like the younger version of yourself instead of a young you.

If retinol isn't your friend because it feels too harsh on your skin, also medical professionals don't recommend it if you're planning on getting pregnant, are pregnant, or are nursing. Retinol can cause dry, itchy skin, some flaking, or slight redness, and that's because its increases skin cell turnover, and it's called retinization. It often goes away once your skin gets used to it, but if it’s too much, it's best not to use it.

Before you lose all hope, other skincare ingredients can help you.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps your skin against oxidative stress, makes your sunscreen work better (as it protects your skin against UV damage, but you still need sunscreen) can help build collagen and brighten your skin.

You can use it any time of the day, but often most dermatologists recommend using it during the day when you're also using sunscreen. There are various kinds of Vitamin C, and L-ascorbic acid is the purest and most potent form, but it can go bad quickly. YSE Beauty Vitamin C Serum Morning Cocktail is one of my favorites.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, a great chemical exfoliant that removes dead skin cells, revealing super smooth skin. It's commonly used in chemical peels, or you can get it in an exfoliator or serum.

Studies have shown that glycolic acid can improve skin elasticity so you see fewer wrinkles but be careful as it can also irritate your skin, and make sure only to use it at night as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Pick one that's 10% or less. If glycolic acid is too irritating, use lactic acid, as it's milder.

La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Dark Spot Corrector is a great choice. If you want something that has various kinds of AHAs, you’ll love onekind Aciddrops Overnight Resurfacing Serum.


Niacinamide is a kind of Vitamin B3, as research has shown that it can improve skin elasticity by fading fine lines. It can also help fade dark spots and strengthen your skin barrier by locking in moisture.

Make sure to pick a niacinamide serum with a maximum of 5% formulation, as anything higher might irritate your skin, so start at a lower concentration.

You'll love Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster as you can use it on its own or mix it with other products, plus it has Vitamin C.


Peptides are building blocks of protein, and collagen is a protein, so peptides are great for your skin. Studies have shown that the use of peptides does help your skin.

However, there are many kinds of peptides, so if you're looking for a specific kind to give you younger-looking skin- try Matrixyl as it can promote collagen production that can lead to your skin looking bouncier that, could lead to fewer fine lines.

I use The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA, and I like it. Plus, it's so affordable.


Bakuchiol is often called a natural retinol, which is safe for use during pregnancy and nursing and doesn't typically cause irritation like retinol.

It's derived from the leaves and seeds of the babchi plant. It can help stimulate collagen production, making your skin appear firmer and less saggy with diminished fine lines. Bakuchiol is the natural alternative to retinol to increase cell turnover, even out your skin tone, and heal your skin.

Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum is an excellent investment for those looking for (almost the same) benefits of retinol without the side effects.


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