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12 Alternatives to Retinoids That Are Safe & Effective

Ruby is a freelance beauty writer at STYLECASTER.

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Alternatives to retinoids that are safe & effective

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Alternatives to retinoids that are safe & effective

Our love affair with retinol (a vitamin A derivative) has been going on for quite some time now. With super-effective over-the-counter and prescription-strength formulas, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of such a powerful antiaging, acne-fighting superhero?

But regardless of how dewy and zit-free retinoids leave your skin, they have one major pitfall: They’re banned from the skin care routines of all pregnant and breastfeeding women as a precaution, as excess amounts of vitamin A have been linked to birth defects (and even using a topical cream can risk absorption of vitamin A into your bloodstream).

More: 15 Photos That Prove Sherbet Is the Prettiest Hair Color of the Summer

That’s a pretty important group of women who can’t use these products, especially considering the stress and body changes that come with childbirth and caring for a baby (read: out-of-whack skin that probably needs soothing the most). There must be safe, effective alternatives out there, right?

We consulted Yale dermatologist Mona Gohara, who says that while retinoids are hands-down the most effective antiager on the market, vitamin C comes in a close second. “Free radicals are cosmetic particles that bind to your skin and cause cancer, sagging and wrinkles, and antioxidants like vitamin C pick them up, almost like a game of Pac-Man,” she says.

“Most vitamin C products are cosmetically elegant, easy to layer and highly concentrated,” says Gohara. Along with vitamin C, Gohara also cites hyaluronic acid, a commonly used ingredient in fillers, as a top-notch antiager. “Hyaluronic acid absorbs water, which in turn plumps the skin like a filler would,” she says.

Smoothing and plumping is one thing, but fighting acne without retinoids can be a bit trickier. Gohara says that even some of the most common zit-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide are unsafe for pregnant women. “I recommend using a mild exfoliating wash that unclogs pores and helps to regulate and even out the skin.”

For all the moms and moms-to-be out there, we found the best retinoid alternative products that actually work — including a skin-brightening vitamin C serum from SkinCeuticals and a gentle exfoliator from Aveeno. Shop all 12. 

   

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

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Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

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Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub (Walgreens, $8.29)

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Derma E Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer

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Derma E Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer

Derma E Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer (Derma E, $22.50)

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Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream

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Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream (Nordstrom, $18)

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Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

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Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (Drunk Elephant, $80)

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Innisfree Skin Clinic Mask with Hyaluronic Acid

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Innisfree Skin Clinic Mask with Hyaluronic Acid

Innisfree Skin Clinic Mask with Hyaluronic Acid (Innisfree, $2.20)

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Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub

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Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub

Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub (Target, $4.99)

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Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster

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Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster

Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster (Paula’s Choice, $46)

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The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost Instant Smoother

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The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost Instant Smoother

The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost Instant Smoother (The Body Shop, $17.40)

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SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator

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SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator

SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator (SkinMedica, $178)

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Youth to the People Age Prevention superfood cream

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Youth to the People Age Prevention superfood cream

Youth to the People Age Prevention superfood cream (Sephora, $48)

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Belif Mild and Effective Facial Scrub

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Belif Mild and Effective Facial Scrub

Belif Mild and Effective Facial Scrub (Sephora, $26)

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