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How to get rid of wrinkles without retinol?

Retinol is not the only solution for reducing the visibility of wrinkles. Many ingredients are equally effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles. We reveal 5 anti-wrinkle ingredients that are suitable for every skin type.

by Kristina Mikulić

March 14, 2024

Somehow, those years when we approach our 30s are years of great changes. I know that I also started to notice the first small wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes . These are the wrinkles that only I see, and everyone else looks at me like I’m crazy when I mention them. All of them were created thanks to the whole spectrum of emotions and events in life. So even though I will remind myself that this is a normal part of life, I like to focus my routine on steps that reduce the visibility of wrinkles.

Whenever the topic of wrinkles is mentioned, retinol is first on the list of desirable ingredients. Retinoic acid, which is produced in the skin from retinoids, helps stimulate collagen synthesis and increase the rate of new skin cell formation. Although retinol is the king among ingredients in terms of effectiveness and function, it does not work equally well for everyone. Sometimes we can’t use it because of pregnancy, too sensitive skin that doesn’t accept it or because of our own cosmetic philosophy. However, this does not mean that there is no desire to reduce the visibility of wrinkles. Before we get to the ingredients themselves, let’s remind ourselves what is needed to “get rid” of wrinkles.

How to get rid of wrinkles?

Unrealistic expectations lead to dissatisfaction. We cannot “get rid” of wrinkles with cosmetics alone. To get rid of wrinkles properly, serious aesthetic and cosmetic procedures are needed, but what we can do with cosmetics is to prevent the formation of wrinkles and reduce the visibility of existing wrinkles. Depending on the depth, we distinguish between fine lines and deep wrinkles. Fine lines are mostly the result of dehydration, so we can easily hide their visibility with the most common moisturizing cream. Deep wrinkles are the ones that really bother us, and their visibility is not easy to reduce. While we can “get rid” of dehydration wrinkles overnight, deep ones require a small army of ingredients with which we can reduce the visibility of wrinkles within 3 to 6 months. All the technology of ingredients that reduce the visibility of wrinkles is focused on collagen synthesis.

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How is collagen produced?

Collagen production is a complex process. As Dr. Magdalena Ivić explains – “collagen is the main protein of connective tissue, and like all other proteins, it is composed of interconnected blocks of amino acids. Collagen is produced by specialized cells called fibroblasts, and vitamin C is necessary for its synthesis.”
We distinguish many types of collagen in the body, but the most important thing is to know about the existence of fibroblasts, or cells that produce collagen. In the very process of collagen production, vitamin C, copper and many peptides are of great importance. In addition, vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means that it has a protective role. It helps prevent collagen damage from free radicals.

Master of Pharmacy Nikolić shared with us what other ingredients it is desirable to have in the anti-wrinkle routine.
“Important ingredients that help in skin cell renewal are peptides, because they stimulate the synthesis of collagen, elastin and other structures of the dermis and thus increase firmness and ensure a youthful appearance of the skin. In addition, regular exfoliation using alpha, beta and polyhydroxy
acid contributes to a fresh and shiny appearance, because in this way the natural process of removing dead cells in the surface layer of the skin is accelerated.”

But the story does not stop there. When we have introduced into the skin ingredients that can contribute to the creation of collagen, it is necessary to protect that same collagen from damage. For this step, we need antioxidants and creams with a protective factor of at least SPF30, because as Dr. Ivić reminds us, “UV rays interfere with collagen production.”

What does an anti-wrinkle routine look like without retinol?

Putting together a skincare routine nowadays seems like science fiction. Precisely because retinol solves so many problems at once, it is many people’s favorite ingredient. Unfortunately, at the same time, it is known for causing redness and irritation, and it often causes peeling of the skin, so it is not easy to use. If we want to get rid of wrinkles without retinol, and at the same time cover all the necessary steps from production to protection of collagen, this is the routine we will stick to.

In the morning routine, the focus is on antioxidants and protection from UV radiation. After cleansing the face, we will apply an antioxidant serum with vitamin C (or another antioxidant such as astaxanthin or pycnogenol), followed by a face cream with peptides, and with oily skin it is possible to skip this creamy step and apply a cream with a protective factor immediately after the serum.

In the evening routine, after cleansing the face, we will apply an anti-wrinkle peptide serum and then a moisturizing cream that can be based on peptides, vitamin C or bakuchiol for an enhanced effect. For dry skin, I would additionally recommend ending the routine with an oil serum, and oil serums containing bakuchiol are ideal. Bakuchiol is one of the natural ingredients that can contribute to skin regeneration, and it is very popular in the routine for reducing the visibility of wrinkles.

Innovations, whether natural or synthetic, are widely available today precisely with the aim of covering various skin needs that include lifestyle. Even if we don’t want to or can’t use retinol, there are plenty of serums and creams to reduce the visibility of wrinkles.