As far as skincare ingredients go, there is no ingredient that has as much data to back up its claims as retinol. Available in prescription and over-the-counter form in various concentrations and under different names like retinol, retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, retinyl linoleate and retinyl acetate, the beloved ingredient is used to tackle everything from acne to fine lines and wrinkles.
There one issue that some people run into when using retinol or retinoids is that they can cause irritation and aren’t always well-tolerated (especially if you have sensitive skin). Potential side effects include redness, dryness, and general irritation—not to mention they can't be used by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to the potential for birth defects.
If you fall into this camp, the good news is there are retinol alternatives you can try instead. We’ll walk you through some of the best options ahead.