Retinol: The Superstar Ingredient We All Need In Our Beauty Arsenal

Now that I am dangerously close to thirty, I find myself concerned about complexion issues I somehow thought only my Mother would have to worry about—fine lines, loss of volume, under-eye circles (when God forbid I don’t give my body a full nine hours of sleep or have more than one glass of wine). Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that my face shows the story of my life—with every mark and spot tied to a deep belly laugh or a wonderful day in the sun, but I still want to look my best (sans makeup) and aim to maintain the most youthful, healthy appearance that I can.

Enter: Retinoids, the class of vitamin A derivatives that are notoriously proven to boost collagen production, promote healthy cell turnover, fight acne, increase elasticity and reverse the signs of photo-aging (essentially making you look as young as possible, naturally, without having to go under the knife, or err… needle).

Retinoids are a class of vitamin A derivatives that include (amongst other forms) retinol and retinaldehyde. These derivatives easily convert to retonic acid, which is the essential ingredient responsible for modulating gene expression and influencing the cellular processes mentioned above. While there is certainly no fountain of youth ingredient that will magically revert your complexion back to its bouncy, twelve-year-old form (and if someone tells you there is run for the hills, they’re lying), retinol is darn pretty close. It remains to be the most prescribed dermatologist “anti-aging” treatment (after sunscreen) and many derms’ top picks for treating acne.

Retinol has personally done wonders on my skin since implementing it into my routine over a year ago to prepare for my wedding. About 6-8 weeks after I started using it, I noticed a more even skin tone, less fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes, and a significant decrease in blemishes and acne scars of ocd-picking past. Retinol does take a few weeks to work—so don’t fret if you don’t see results right away; the cells need time to make a complete turnover before you’ll notice anything different. So, which products should you add to your routine? 

African Botanics Retinal Night Cream

Powered by Retinaldehyde—an encapsulated and ultra stabilized bio-active form of Vitamin A that gradually and effectively converts to Retinoic Acid— African Botanics Retinal Night Cream is my go-to vitamin A treatment that supercharges your complexion without the irritation. Not only that, this beautiful night cream boasts a soothing cocktail of Marula oil, Laminaria Algae extract, CoQ10, Reservatrol, Vitamin E, Marshmallow, Hibiscus, Grape Seed, Chamomile, and Swiss Apple Stem Cells to calm the skin and provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

MARA Algae Retinol Face Oil

Another fantastic option that I constantly reach for is MARA’s luxurious Evening Primrose & Green Tea Algae Retinol Face Oil that soaks your skin with powerful algae extracts, 1.2% clean retinol and natural sources of vitamin A to supercharge cellular turnover to reveal healthy-looking new cells and soften the signs of aging. This vitamin-rich superhero serum boosts the hydration barrier and visibly improves wrinkles, pores and uneven texture by drenching your complexion with that powerful retinol, amino acids, and free-radical fighting antioxidants from fermented green tea. Also, the bottle is so gorgeous that you’ll love keeping it front and center of your skincare line up.

African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum

Some other excellent options that deliver a lower concentration of retinol (if you just want to dip your toes in the retinol water without diving in) include the African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum which is powered by skin superstars like Resveratrol, Retinol, and antioxidant phythonutrients like Swiss Garden Cress Liposomes and Green Sea Algae. This serum is a best-seller and cult favorite for a reason: it truly works. I absolutely love this product and recommend it to family & friends all the time. 

African Botanics Intense Skin Repair Balm

Alternatively (or even better, layered on top of the retinol products mentioned above) is the African Botanics Intense Skin Repair Balm. This silky product is an ultra- moisturizing reparative beauty balm that soothes and nourishes reactive & dehydrated skin with Niacinamide, Resveratrol, CoQ10, Vitamin C ester, and Retinol. Perfect for the cooler months, this dreamy moisturizer targets wrinkles, loss of firmness, redness, hyper-pigmentation and scars. Vitamin-rich botanical oils of Marula, Baobab, Kalahari melon, Evening Primrose, African Immortelle, Calendula and Rosehip also deliver anti-inflammatory, restructuring and regenerative properties.

Final thoughts

With use of all retinoids, they are best implemented low & slow, meaning start using only once or twice a week and work your way up, and only to be used at night. It is imperative they are paired with a sunscreen (since retinoids make you more sensitive to the sun) & not to be used while pregnant or breastfeeding unless discussed with a doctor.

If you have any questions about which retinol product might be best for you, please send our team a note at and we’ll send you a personalized skincare treatment plan. 



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