Everyone has heard of retinol, and for the past few years, it’s been one of the most sought-after ingredients in skincare. The benefits of retinol are plentiful, offering anti-aging, skin reviving, skin softening, and more.
Who wouldn’t want those amazing benefits in their skincare products?
It’s easy to find retinol products over the counter, and the strongest kinds of retinol can be prescribed by a dermatologist.
What is Retinol Exactly?
To understand retinol, one must first understand vitamin A.
From an ingredient standpoint, vitamin A is found in plant sources. Some oils retain their vitamin A content even after processing. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means it is absorbed along with fats when eaten.
Dietary vitamin A is stored in the liver and fatty tissues of the body.
Retinoids are a class of compounds that encompass both natural forms of vitamin A and synthetic versions of retinol.
Vitamin A, Retinol, and Retinoids Classes or “Generations”
The best way to understand the ingredients you see on the bottle when it comes to retinol or it’s related ingredients, is to look at the 3 classification levels of the compounds.
These are considered the first generation of retinoids, because they come from natural sources. This class contains Vitamin A (retinol) and it’s naturally occurring derivatives: tretinoin, isotretinoin, and retinal.
Synthetic compounds which are also classified retinoids/ vitamin A, but have a different chemical structure. Etretinate and acitretin are considered the second generation of retinoids.
Arotinoid, adapalene, tazarotene are considered the third generation of retinoids, and differ from the previous generation because of the way that they are formed, their molecular structure, as well as the way they function.
What Do Retinoids Do?
While the different classes of retinol may seem confusing, the compounds are all part of the same family.
But what do they do, and why is everyone crazy about them?
Vitamin A is recognized as a wrinkle fighting ingredient that can change the appearance of the skin and boost its youthful appearance.
The most important takeaway is that vitamin A, retinoic acid, retinol, retinal, all have the same biological functions and features.
Anti-Aging Backed by Science
There are many other nutrients and ingredients that may support youthfulness of skin. However, vitamin A and its related compounds are one of the few recognized by much of the scientific community and skincare industry. It’s one of the better understood ingredients with lots of data to back it up.
That’s why it’s much easier to get retinol related ingredients and products from your dermatologist than other kinds of ingredients.
How do Retinoids Work?
The processes that cause aging happen on a cellular level. While it takes years for us to notice the change of our skin as we age, the body is always busy with processes that are much more dynamic when we look at them from a molecular scale.
How to Understand Aging
One of the ways we understand aging is through a process call cell apoptosis, which believe it or not- is the death of our cells!
Even though it sounds alarming, cell apoptosis is something that is always happening and in the vast universe that makes up our bodies on a cellular level. Cell apoptosis is a normal part of the growth and development of our bodies and cells.
Researchers look at the way chemical compounds affect cell apoptosis and other cellular functions, because it helps them understand why and how chemicals work.
Retinoid's Anti-Aging Benefits
One amazing finding is that retinoids can slow down and change the process of cell death. It’s also been shown to protect collagen from breaking down, reserve the skin’s moisture balance, fight inflammatory compounds that lead to wrinkling of skin, and even boost the skin’s protective properties.
Because of their amazing properties for dermatologic applications, retinoids in many forms are used to help people with chronic skin issues.
Retinoid’s Proven Anti-Aging Benefits
Supports Cellular Function
Improves Moisture Balance
Fights Inflammatory Compounds
Strengthens the Skin’s Protective Qualities
The World of Retinoid Products
As we have learned, the compound family that makes up retinoids has many benefits for human skin. Prescription retinol or products with synthetic compounds are preferred in some situations.
In addition to the different classes of retinoids that are used, different concentrations and applications are all things to consider when attempting to understanding the wide and varied world of “retinol products”.
Retinol products are not all the same and that’s because there’s such a wide range of both clinical and cosmetic applications for this class of ingredient.
Plant Oils with Natural Vitamin A
However, most people think that they need a high price prescription version of vitamin A to get all the benefits of retinol. The truth is that for the average person, natural sources of vitamin A can do many of the same things, and sometimes with even more benefits!
There are many reasons to try prescription or pricey retinol alternatives. Pure plant oils provide a bundle of nutrition along with vitamin A as we will see in some of the examples below.
Why Choose One Kind of Retinoid Over Another?
Concentrated retinol products can work wonders and may be needed in case of certain skin problems. However, concentrated products and treatments may not be the right solution for every individual. That’s because they can cause sensitivity or may be too harsh on the skin. You might just not need that level of concentration to see results.
For others, the cost of pricey retinol might be an issue. Whatever the reason may be, plant-based oils high in vitamin A can provide a surprising number of benefits.
And as we learned before- while natural vitamin A is not always the same compound or version of retinoid you’ll find in prescription products, it might still provide many of the same benefits.
Find the Right Products for You
It really boils down to your needs, your skincare history, and your budget. However, you might find it suitable to use more than one source of vitamin A.
That’s because many of the plant-based sources of vitamin A are so beneficial and nourishing for skin, some people are still able to use them in conjunction with more concentrated or prescription forms (but always talk to your health care provider first if you have a prescription).
The main takeaway is that despite what you may have heard, you might not even need the strongest kind of retinoid product.
Many people don’t need the strongest concentration to see results and might even benefit from a more natural version or a hybrid combination.
Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil
Seeds of plants hold many nutritional wonders! It’s true-seeds and the oils made from them contain a multitude of complex chemical compounds. The oils made from seeds are the most nutritious in the world and sea buckthorn seed oil is no exception.
In addition to its perfect balance of omega fatty acids and antioxidants, sea buckthorn seed oil is a good source of vitamin A. One of the ways that sea buckthorn seed oil can support skin is by nourishing cell health, supporting the natural lipid barrier of the skin, smoothing and or plumping skin, along with fighting wrinkles.
Omega 3 (ALA)
Omegas 6 & 9- (A nearly perfect 1:1 ratio, ideal for human health)
Tocopherols & Tocotrienols
Phospholipids & Glycolipids
Rosehip oil is an unsung hero of skincare. It’s easy to make and roses are abundant everywhere on the planet. Because it’s so easy to find, most people don’t realize the amazing benefits of humble rosehip oil! Just like sea buckthorn seed oil, rosehip oil has a “drier” texture or feeling on the skin. It absorbs quickly and feels luxurious! Like sea buckthorn seed oil, the rosehip contains a concentrated bundle of nutrition.
Omegas 6 & 9
Phytosterols (high levels of β-sitosterol)
Are Synthetic Ingredients Always Bad?
Synthetic retinol or isolated versions of vitamin A are not inherently bad, and there’s no reason to fear them. There are plenty of safe and even beneficial synthetic ingredients that can be found in modern skincare products.
We are passionate about traditional, natural ingredients and advances in chemistry and science- especially how they relate to our industry.
Why we use Plant-Based Sources of Vitamin A
SeabuckWonders got its start as a nutritional supplement company.
Our focus has always been creating premium sea buckthorn oils that are food grade- making them safe to take orally or put right on your skin.
To put it simply, we feel most comfortable working with premium plant oils at the core of our products.
Not just because they’re “natural”, but because we know how powerful pure plant oils can be.
A pharmaceutical company or cosmetic company would approach the task of creating a skincare line in different ways.
We approach skincare in the same way that we would our supplements, it’s what we know and what we’ve been perfecting over 20 years!
Creating Balance for All Skin Types
Sea buckthorn oil remains our core ingredient because it has a balancing and nourishing effect for nearly every skin type. Many of our skincare customers started out taking our supplements first.
They found that their skin, hair, and even nails improved over time- even for some who were taking the supplements for completely unrelated reasons!
Nourishing Your Skin
Not all serums are created in the same way. A benefit of using pure plant oils and synthetics only when needed is that the products can balance a wider range of skin-types.
Many people who have been taught that they have “problem” skin have skin that’s dehydrated. They might think their skin is too sensitive or “bad”, but it’s malnourished!
The Process is Important
Even with the rise of plant-based oils and “natural” skincare, many customers don’t realize how important the quality and process of creating skincare is.
It’s a Matter of Quality
We approach our product development in a different way than other skincare companies.
For us, pure plant oils are at the core of what we do. We do use safe synthetic ingredients when needed but treat our skincare as an extension of our supplement line- it’s nourishment for your skin.
Made for our Customers!
We already knew many of our customers had sensitive skin, so when we created a luxury oil serum line, we did it with them in mind. However, SeabuckWonders skincare is not just for people with sensitive skin.
It’s for everyone! Not every product will be perfect for everyone, but everyone can find the perfect product for their skin.
The result is an entire line of serums, skincare, and supplements that can be tailored to fit your unique beauty, health, and wellness needs.
Zielińska, A., & Nowak, I. (2017). Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil. Lipids in health and disease, 16(1), 95.
A, & Ilyasoğlu, H. (n.d.). Characterization of Rosehip (ROSA Canina L.) seed and seed oil. Taylor & Francis.
Zasada, M., & Budzisz, E. (2019). Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 36(4), 392–397.