This Gentle Alternative to Retinol Has Earned a Permanent Spot in My Skin-Care Routine—And I Love That It’s Sun-Safe, Too

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When it comes to targeting fine lines and wrinkles, the active ingredient dermatologists recommend over and over again is retinol. A member of the vitamin A family, the benefits of retinol for skin include supporting the body’s natural collagen production efforts, increasing cellular turnover, smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines, and exfoliation—all of which can result in a more radiant and supple complexion.

With that said, all of these benefits come at a cost, particularly one that is more annoying in the spring and summer months (but should be taken seriously year-round). Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight and should only be used at night time with extra sun-protection measures (hello, sun hats and SPF) during the day. Additionally, retinol is a more potent ingredient that some experience sensitivities to, and, therefore, can’t use all that often, or at all in some cases.

I have personally had my ups and downs with retinol. Luckily, my skin isn’t super sensitive to it, however, I have tried some retinol products that cause more irritation than others, so I am definitely cautious about ingredient. And, as someone who already has skin that is sensitive to the sun, using a product that makes it more vulnerable stresses me out, no matter how often I reapply sunscreen. Plus, it would be nice to use a product with retinol’s benefits in the morning and night to maximize the potential results. This is why my life (okay, my skin-care regimen) completely changed when I tried the Sonäge Refixion Sans Retinol Créme ($60), which features a formula inspired by retinol without the downsides.

Sonäge, Refixion Sans Retinol Créme — $60.00

Powerhouse ingredients include:

  • Bakuchiol: A natural retinol alternative that provides the benefits of retinol without the irritation
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide -37: Amino acids that smooth fine lines and make them look less pronounced
  • Arginine: Another amino acid that works as an antioxidant, protecting skin from environmental factors and keeps it looking youthful
  • Ceramides: This protects the skin barrier from pollutants and harsh climate factors
  • Helichrysum: Comes from “Everlasting Flowers” and helps combat fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: A hyaluronic acid that helps skin retain moisture throughout the entire day

Sonäge Refixion Sans Retinol Créme review

The Sonäge Refixion Sans Retinol Créme is a retinol-free mature aging product that targets fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin texture. The reason why the retinol alternative can work all of this magic is because of an ingredient called bakuchiol which, unlike retinol, is super gentle and safe to use on the skin in the morning and at night. Bakuchiol is a plant-based ingredient that, according to research, can significantly decrease wrinkles and hyperpigmentation in the same way retinol does, making it an excellent solution for those with retinol sensitivities or those (like me) who are concerned about using retinol during the spring and summer seasons, when it’s hard to avoid to the sun.

retinol alternative
Photo: Author

“Bakuchiol works as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, so it’s also ideal for those who suffer from dry, sensitive skin and can’t tolerate a retinol," New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, previously confirmed this.

The Refixion Sans Retinol Créme rivals retinol creams in benefits; however, that’s only one reason why I am in love with the cream. In addition to it being one of the best retinol alternatives, it is one of the best face creams I have ever tried. I am someone with super dry and often dehydrated skin. When trying the Refixion Sans Retinol Créme for the first time, I noticed the texture and how buttery soft it felt on my skin—it has this creamy, luxe feel that my skin immediately responded to and slurped right up. As a result, my complexion felt nourished and hydrated with an amazing glow after application and absorption. After several uses, I noticed that my skin continued to respond to the cream and, much to my surprise, stayed nourished between uses (which almost never happens—my skin is usually so parched at the end of the day).

retinol alt
Photo: Author

With all of its retinol-matching benefits and plant-based, more gentle formula, this mature aging skin-care product has earned a permanent place on my skin-care shelf. And, if I run out, Sonäge sells product refills for a more sustainable and cost-effective replenishment.

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