Which essential oils contain Retinol?

When it comes to smooth and youthful-looking skin, adding retinol to your skincare regime has become the go-to treatment to help reverse the visible signs of aging. This free-radical fighter encourages skin regeneration through exfoliation, which helps to improve cell turnover as well as collagen production. The visible effects of these processes result in a reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Today, retinol, essentially the entire vitamin A molecule, is synthetically derived for use in the skincare industry. For those who prefer all things natural, the good news is that plant-based certain essential oils contain retinol or at least a version of it.

Your go-to list of essential oils that contain retinol

Rosehip oil      

This oil is known to reduce scars and fine lines, regenerate skin and improve skin tone. Rosehip essential oil contains retinol, but it is a much kinder and gentler type of natural vitamin in how it reacts with the skin. This is largely because the body is able to recognize this type of vitamin A and assimilate it faster. That said, the amount of this natural compound is far lower in concentrations than is found in over-the-counter prescription Retinol creams. This means that it takes much longer to achieve results as far as seeing fine lines and wrinkles diminish compared to synthetically derived Retinol.

Rosehip oil contains a type of Beta-carotene that helps build healthier cells which most certainly will feed the skin and make it appear more youthful. Adding Frankincense, Bergamot, or Neroli to your Rosehip oils will help maximize its benefits for the skin. Rosehip oil is a die-hard favorite for many who experience a more even complexion with it. If you want to see results, invest in a high-grade Rosehip oil that is unrefined. The concentration of Beta carotene will give it a pink-orange and red hue.

We choose

PURA D’OR Organic Rosehip Seed Oil

100% Pure Cold Pressed USDA Certified Organic

All-Natural Anti-Aging Moisturizer for Face, Hair, Skin, Nails | 4 oz / 118mL

Rosehip essential oil contains retinol.

Carrot seed essential oil

Carrots are known for their high beta carotene content, which makes carrot root oil which contains retinol another great oil to add to your anti-aging arsenal. The high level of vitamin A from which retinoid oil is derived helps tackle pigmentation fades spots and increases the turnover rate of skin cells.

We choose

Plant Therapy Carrot Seed Essential Oil

100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Grade

10 ml | 1/3 oz

Carrot seed essential oil contains retinol.

Apricot kernel oil

Apricots too are loaded with vitamin A. Likewise then Apricot kernel oil also contains a type of natural retinol. It is especially useful in preparing the skin for sun exposure. It also has high levels of vitamin E and K which help moisturize the skin, treat acne and improve hair health.

We choose

US Organic Apricot Kernel Oil

USDA Certified Organic | 100% Pure & Natural, Cold-Pressed Virgin Unrefined

Amber Glass Bottle w/Glass Eyedropper | 4 oz

Apricot kernel essential oil contain retinol.

Frankincense essential oil

This highly prized oil given to Jesus Christ at birth by wise men from the East is known for its beautifying properties. It has a lovely soothing effect on the skin in addition to acting as an antiseptic too. Frankincense essential oil acts as a natural retinol replacement, by increasing cell turnover, resulting in healthier-looking skin, and improving skin texture.

We choose

Rocky Mountain Oils Frankincense Serrata Essential Oil

100% Pure and Natural Aromatherapy Diffuser Oils

Essential Oil for Skin Care, and Home | 15ml

Frankincence essential oil contains retinol for hyperpigmentation.


Hailed as skin care’s new hero, the new kid on the block is worth mentioning is Bakuchiol. It is neither retinol nor type of vitamin A but acts as a true natural retinol alternative. A molecule called meroterpene is isolated from the Babchi plant’s seeds, a plant used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine.

Studies have shown amazing results. In a 12 week period, a significant reduction was seen in signs of aging. Bakuchiol’s retinol-like action significantly reduced the appearance of fine lines, improved skin tone, firmness, and elasticity. What’s even more promising is that it does not cause the same side effects as experienced with traditional retinol, such as redness, sun sensitivity, or peeling.

We choose

Bakuchiol Botanicals Facial Serum Oil

Retinol Alternative | Clinical Strength Bakuchiol | All Natural Plant Derived Clean Beauty Ingredients

Bakuchiol, Squalane, Vitamin C, Rose Hip Oil, Vitamin E

Made in California, USA | 1.7 oz

Bakuchiol Botanicals Facial Serum Oil contains Bakuchiol that works like retinol.

We choose

Insta Natural 2.5% Retinol Serum for Face & Skin with Bakuchiol

Pore Minimizer, Anti Aging, Fine Line & Wrinkle Care

Natural Alternative Serum | Hyaluronic Acid & Niacinamide

30ml | 1 fl oz

Insta natural  serum contains Bakuchiol that acts like retinol.

We choose

Bakuchiol Serum Natural Retinol Alternative with Vitamin C

Hyaluronic Acid and Peptides, Anti-Aging for All Skin Types, Hydration

Antioxidant Natural Skincare | 30 ml | 1 fl oz

Inotka serum contains Bakuchiol that acts like retinol.

Things to know before using essential oils that contain retinol

Unlike synthetically derived retinol, essential oils containing retinol are natural. This means that most of the side effects of traditional synthetically derived retinol are sidestepped. That said, it is important to remember that all pure essential oils are potent plant extracts and when applied topically may cause side effects. People using essential oils for the first time are advised to dilute the strength with a carrier oil first before topical application. Many essential oils in full strength are photosensitizing and may cause redness, rashes, and skin irritation.

 Last thoughts on essential oils that contain retinol

Essential oils are not equal. If you want to see results with essential oils that contain retinol, always use a high-grade oil. The market is saturated with unscrupulous brands making unverified claims about their products. Choose well. Do some research on the production processes and check the label for dilution and/or any fillers. a good quality essential oil is usually a bit pricier.

Many essential oils smell nice but do not carry enough active compounds to see results. Use only high-grade essential oils that are pure and undiluted. If you are new to the world of essential oils, choose an equally high-grade carrier oil to dilute your essential oil with first when starting out.

Other enjoyed these articles too:

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Disclaimer and Cautionary note: Sunny Life Mag is a digital magazine for entertainment. The articles published are not here to diagnose or treat any health or medical conditions. Not any of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of the articles and the products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health issue. The intention is also not to imply that essential oils heal/ treat or cure. Please consult a dermatologist or medical practitioner knowledgeable in using essential oils as a natural remedy or skin treatment.

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Image credit: Dom Aguiar via Unsplash

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