Retinol will continue to be a hero ingredient in 2021, thanks to its many benefits. "Using a retinol can increase collagen production and skin-cell turnover, help treat acne, unclog pores, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and even out skin tone," said Howard Sobel, MD, founder of Sobel Skin and attending dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
While it's best to start using retinol as a preventative treatment in your mid-to-late 20s, many people are afraid to try the powerful ingredient for the first time due to fear of irritating the skin — that's where gentler alternatives come in. "We have found some great antioxidants and plant-based alternatives such as Bakuchiol that help counter some of these effects," said Dr. Ramanadham. "While these are not new to the skin-care market, combining them in formulations that contain retinol have shown to be beneficial."