This PVD Holistic Dr Explains Why These Plant Based Skincare Options Are Suddenly Popping Up Everywhere

Photo by paulynn/iStock/Getty Images

Photo by paulynn/iStock/Getty Images

Have you met Retin-A’s less irritating, greener cousin? These plant-based retinols are having their moment in the green beauty world and for good reason.

Once the go-to for anti-aging and acne treatments, vitamin A derivatives called retinoids accelerate skin renewal and decrease wrinkles. When used topically, since they both increase collagen production and slow the natural breakdown of collagen, they work very well but…they have a downside. Irritating side effects like peeling skin and redness along with sun sensitivity and longer term problems like overall skin thinning and sensitivity are making modern women wary of traditional retinoids.

Have you heard of the hot new greener alternatives? If you’re looking for smoother skin, less sun spots, acne or wrinkles, you may want to check out these plant-based alternatives.

Bakuchiol is a plant extract that has actually been scientifically studied and proven to function the same way as retinol, by stimulating the production of collagen in your skin to smooth the wrinkles you have and prevent the ones you don’t yet have. But unlike retinol, bakuchiol doesn’t cause dryness, irritation, or flakes. Some people can be sensitive to it, as with any product, so be sure to do a spot test.

Moth Bean Extract: Also known as Vigna aconitifolia, moth bean extract is grown in Pakistan and India and is also a rich plant source of retinol. This climbing bean plant is renowned for its resistance to drought and arid conditions, so it’s not surprising that the extract could benefit our skin’s resistance and renewal.

Cacay Oil: This anti-aging Amazonian oil has 50% more vitamin E than other plant-based oils like argan. Cacay oil hydrates the skin, improves elasticity, and contains a high level of natural retinol. It’s also rich in linoleic acid which makes it great for acne prone skin.

Some oils such as lycopene, carrot, and sea buckthorn have great skin benefits, but may not give you the retinoid-like action you desire. These all contain beta-carotene, a plant based antioxidant, which converts to vitamin A…when you ingest it. It has many health benefits, but doesn’t act like a retinol when used on the skin.

With all of these natural alternatives that deliver results, your skin can look fresh and renewed without any side effects, so why not give them a try?

A Special Discount On Oils & Skincare From PEARL Apothecary

Here’s a special gift for Patty J readers: Take 20% off my PEARL apothecary skin care (handmade right here in RI) including the following plant based retinol products: sake refining serum, a gel serum featuring moth bean extract and hyaluronic acid, and bio-retinol night serum, featuring bakuchiol and cacay oils. Enter code PATTYJ at checkout.

More About Dr Mary Claire Dilks

Dr. Mary Claire Dilks is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and owner of Emerging Energy Acupuncture in the Jewelry District in Providence. She has also been named Best Of RI ("Best Inner Healing"). Visit her at