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Thumbnail for Your skin might love this plant-based ingredient even more than retinol
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Photo: Kristen Curette Hines/ Stocksy

Dermatologists and estheticians rave about the powers of vitamin A, but its traditional forms can be harsh on skin. Turn to the plant world, though, and you can achieve a glowing complexion… minus the redness and irritation. Jillian Wright, a trained esthetician and a member of the Well+Good Council, shares her advice on making the switch.

Let’s talk about skin goals. You want your skin to stay glowing, firm, smooth, and bouncy, right? The way to do that is to maintain your collagen levels. Easier said than done! As we age, we lose collagen and elasticity, mainly through unnecessary exposure to damaging internal and external stressors such as UV rays.

You’ve probably heard that topical vitamin A (best known by its brand name, Retin-A) can help slow this process. While it’s true that retinoids (and their over-the-counter version, retinols) are proven wrinkle reducers, they can also thin and irritate the skin. That can cause redness, peeling, and discomfort. Certain forms of vitamin A, like retinoids (found in animal and animal by-products) and retinal or acid form, are more likely to lead to stressed skin.

Using a plant-based vitamin A supports cellular turnover and brightening of the skin.

Here’s the good news: There are natural, less-invasive ways to maintain your flawless, youthful, healthy skin longer—and they involve plant-based vitamin A. Many people are turning to these more natural alternatives to lavish their skin with vitamin A carotenoids, which fight the free radicals that cause premature aging.

natural retinol alternatives
Photo: Leandro Crespi/ Stocksy

It’s the best of both worlds, really. You experience a far lower chance of irritation, while still getting excellent support for rejuvenation, support, and correction. Using a plant-based vitamin A supports cellular turnover, brightening, and overall pro-aging support of the skin. It’s even better when combined with other incredible ingredients like cranberry seed oil, mandelic or lactic acid, or even cloudberry extract.

Since there are several forms and strengths of plant-based vitamin A, you can choose from many options to find the best form for you. Here are some of my favorite healthier skin products with plant-based vitamin A: Zaman Sleeping Beauty Serum, Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil, SheaTerra Organics Carrot Seed Oil, and the pumpkin products from Rhonda Allison. Whether you choose one of these or another product, you’re making a wise choice—because vitamin A is a necessary part of your arsenal when it comes to supporting healthy skin.

What should Jillian write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to experts@wellandgood.com

Jillian Wright is the co-founder of Indie Beauty Media Group, producer of Indie Beauty Expo, Beauty Independent, and BeautyX Summit. A trained esthetician, Jillian owned and operated Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa prior to founding IBMG in 2015. During her tenure there, she also launched her eponymous skin-care line. As a skin health expert, Jillian has performed more than 12,000 facials and consulted for many prominent skin care brands including Olay, Unilever, Nair, St. Ives, and others. Since launching IBMG, she has closed her spa and skin-care line and retired from facials to focus solely on IBMG. To date, Indie Beauty Expo is held in three U.S. cities and is launching in London in October 2018.

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