RETINOIDS vs. ROSEHIP OIL
Many people have asked me if retinol is toxic and if rosehip oil is a good vitamin A alternative for repairing aged skin.
To be clear, there's nothing wrong with retinoids unless you have a specific condition such as pregnancy, eczema, rosacea, allergy, or experience severe intolerance to retinol. Retinoids work! In fact, only retinoic acid has a biological effect on the skin and there's plenty of peer reviewed dermatological journals confirmed by in-vivo (performed on living people) studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791161/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/.
I am all for "clean" beauty products but as a clinical aesthetician, my focus is on results oriented treatments and products formulated with tried and tested ingredients proven to safely transform the skin.
Indeed, rosehip oil contains a tiny (parts per million) of natural retinoic acid (tretinoin), a retinoid famously known in the skin care world for its anti-aging, anti-pigmentation, anti-acne benefits. However, when you're looking for "active" vitamin A content in a product made with rosehip oil, you would first need to estimate its percentage according to its full ingredients list. So let's do a little math...
Pure rosehip oil contains about 0.357 mg of tretinoin PER liter of oil, which translates to 0.00003923% tretinoin. Keep in mind its potency also depends if the oil is refined or cold-pressed. Let's use Tata Harper "Retinoic Face Oil" as an example. Going by the ingredient list on their bottle, we can safely estimate 37% rosehip oil, which indicates the product contains approximately 0.0000145% tretinoin, in other words almost nothing!
Prescription tretinoin is usually 0.025% to 0.05% or higher. That being said, the amount of retinoic acid in rosehip oil is not significant enough to scratch the surface of skin rejuvenation.
Other than being formulated with nourishing rosehip oil and probably smelling good (due to a blend of essential oils), I'd proceed with a high level of skepticism in regards to the retinoic acid claim. Please beware of the misinformation and marketing jargon used by many cosmetic brands misinterpreting the term "retinoic" or "clean" retinol in the name of their retinol-free products. As I explained, there is no such thing as clean and dirty/toxic retinol!
If you've been on the lookout for an effective vegan vitamin A product without retinol, look no further! Try Beleza by Z Vitamin 'A' Renewal Elixir. This plant-based high-performance elixir powered by hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR) is an ester of all-trans retinoic acid, which works without the dryness, itching, and sun sensitivity commonly experienced with retinol.