Advanced & effective organic skincare from Norway

Bio-retinol VS Retinol

October 02 2023 – Olivia Shaw

Our founder, Marina E. Engervik, often writes in-depth articles for the industry magazine Kosmetikk. This time she has written about bio-retinol and retinol. Read on to learn the difference between these two popular super ingredients.


our founder talks about bio retinol to popular magazine kosmetikk
There is a lot of talk about retinol these days. But what exactly is "bio-retinol", also called phyto-retinol, and is it better than regular retinol?
Retinol is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, and among the most widely used active skin care ingredients with proven ability to improve fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and reduce acne. But unfortunately, retinol can also cause side effects, and products with retinol can irritate the skin, cause itching or other annoying skin reactions.

We would like to have the good effects of retinol, but without the side effects. That is why we are now going to get into the natural alternative to retinol, namely bio-retinol. What is it really?

The term "bio-retinol" is often used in the skin care world to refer to natural and plant-based ingredients that have retinol-like effects on the skin, enabling the skin to make its own effective vitamin A. Bio-retinol can be extracted from plants that contain carotene, by using oil extracts of, for example, sea buckthorn, carrot seeds or rose hips and other plants. There are many varieties out there, but the ones mentioned in this article are the ones that are most used and recognized for their good effect.

Plants that are sources of bio-retinol are always very rich in carotene (carotenoids), which is the precursor to vitamin A. When the skin is nourished with carotene, it is converted into vitamin A. This means that the skin can make use of the vitamin in a completely natural and very efficient way, and there will be a more synergistic effect. One can compare it to eating healthy, nutritious food; it will always give the body more holistic nutrition to eat the food itself, than just taking a dietary supplement pill that contains the same nutrients. The body is better able to utilize the food. Bio-retinol is a bit like giving the body the nutritious food, instead of just the dietary supplement.

Bakuchiol is perhaps the most famous bio-retinol, because it was the first on the market in its category. Bakuchiol is extracted from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia, also known as the babchi plant. It has been used as medicine in the East for centuries, and originally comes from India. In 2014, a study was published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science comparing the effects of bakuchiol and retinol on skin aging. The study found that bakuchiol had the same effect as retinol in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, but with fewer side effects. Bakuchiol is also a potent antioxidant, and can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Rosehip oil is extracted from the fruit and seeds of the plant Rosa canina, which grows wild in Europe and Norway. It is like a superfood for the skin, and a popular ingredient in skin care products due to its high concentration of vitamins A and C. Rosehip oil has a very high content of carotene, which is immediately converted into vitamin A when it comes into contact with the skin. It therefore helps to stimulate collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the skin's texture. Rosehip oil is also very rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the skin from sun damage and pollution.

Sea buckthorn oil is extracted from the edible berries of the sea buckthorn plant, Hippophae Rhamnoides, and grows wild in Europe and Norway. Like rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil is also a superfood for the skin, and a rich source of vitamin A precursors, including beta-carotene and other carotenoids. Sea buckthorn oil can help stimulate the production of new, healthy cells, promote collagen production and reduce the visibility of lines and scars in the skin. It is also an incredibly good source of antioxidants, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Another new and exciting method for making bio-retinol has also now come to the fore. Simply explained, plant sugar is fermented which is then distilled, and the result is a pure and completely naturally extracted bio-retinol. Clever chemists have blended this retinol alternative into sunflower oil, stabilizing it with vitamin E and rosemary extract for skin absorption. According to the manufacturer Givaudan, it has been shown to be just as effective as synthetic retinol, in addition to causing the skin to produce more hyaluronic acid, which provides an even better anti-aging effect. This completely new and natural alternative to retinol has been named RetiLife, and we will probably see more and more of this type of bio-retinol in all skin care.

So is bio-retinol a better alternative to traditional retinol? According to a study from the British Journal of Dermatology, daily use of bakuchiol was found to be as effective as retinol in fighting wrinkles and hyperpigmentation after just 12 weeks, and participants who used retinol reported more itching and burning than those who used natural bakuchiol. In other words, bio-retinol is as effective as retinol, but without any side effects. Bio-retinol is also not affected by sun exposure, and can therefore be used both during the day and at night. Retinol, on the other hand, is often only recommended to be used at night to avoid possible skin sensitivity due to sun exposure. Therefore, you can safely use bio-retinol to a greater extent.

A lot is happening now with the development of bio-retinol. We see that the market wants an alternative to retinol that works effectively and is without side effects, and at the same time also sustainable and safe for both the skin and the environment. When comparing bio-retinol and retinol, it is mainly the way in which the skin gets vitamin A that is the big difference, and both ways lead to the goal: The cells are told to renew themselves faster, and the result is a smoother and healthier skin.

5 quick facts about bio-retinol

1. Bio-retinol is an alternative to retinol that comes from natural ingredients
2. Bio-retinol works by converting carotene into vitamin A in the skin
3. Unlike retinol, which can cause various skin irritations, bio-retinol is gentle, making it an excellent option for those with sensitive skin
4. Bio-retinol is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the skin against damage caused by UV radiation and pollution
5. Bio-retinol also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and can therefore treat acne and other skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema

Which of the Marina Miracle products contain bio-retinol?

We use bio-retinol in several of our products where we see that this will provide good benefits and effects for the skin. In these products, we use bio-retinol in the form of oil and extract from organic rosehip and/or sea buckthorn:

Rosehip Peeling Mask
Shea Hydration Mask
Amaranth Face Oil
Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser
One & Only Lip Balm
Essential Nail Elixir

1 comment

  • NancyWilkinson: February 12, 2024
    Author's avatar image

    where do we find this product and what face cream is this in or serum-prefer serums?-thank you

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