Bio-Retinol VS Retinol: What’s the difference?

Bio-Retinol VS Retinol: What’s the difference? - Three Ships

Bio-Retinol is the hero ingredient in two of our best-sellers (Dream and Skin Hero) - but how does it compare to traditional Retinol? While Bio-Retinol produces similar results to traditional Retinol, it is different in a few key ways. Let's dive into it! 

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that tackles concerns ranging from collagen production to fine lines and skin texture. Though due to its active nature and rapid cell turnover, frequent use of this ingredient can cause the skin to become highly sensitive. Redness, irritation, burning, itching, peeling of the skin and significant sensitivity to sunlight, are some of the side effects that have been detected from its long-term use. 

What is Bio-Retinol?

Bio-Retinol is a Retinol substitute obtained from plant extracts. Bio-Retinol exhibits similar properties as traditional Retinoids would, but without the side effects. This way you can achieve all the benefits of retinol while avoiding irritated, sensitive, skin. 

Depending on the plant it is extracted from, Bio-Retinol can take on various forms. Our Dream Bio-Retinol + Shorea Butter Night Cream contains a Retinol alternative sourced from Picão Preto (a Brazilian native herb). This overnight cream intensely hydrates the skin and evens out skin tone, leaving a softer, smoother skin texture. 

If you're looking for a more active product, our Skin Hero Bakuchiol + Calendula Bio-Retinol Serum is just for you! Bakuchiol derived from the Babchi Plant (Psoralea Corylifolia) is formulated to help reduce the look of fine lines and blemishes, while boosting skin elasticity! 

Although we suggest building up to layering both, once adjusted, together they can be used to maximize your bio-retinol results!

Dream Bio-Retinol + Shorea Butter Night Cream and Skin Hero Bakuchiol + Calendula Bio-Retinol Serum studio image

What are the key similarities between the two?

Both forms have various benefits that combat a multitude of skin concerns. If you want to treat severe acne or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, these two options make for a great solution. Retinol and Bio-Retinol keep your pores unclogged while helping minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

They also assist in boosting the production of skin cells by penetrating deep beneath the epidermis to your dermis layer. In other words, both retinol and bio-retinol boost skin elasticity, resulting in smoother, evenly textured skin. 

Lastly, both Retinol and Bio-Retinol have an exfoliating effect that smooths over rough patches, creating a softer skin feel. Removing dead skin cells from the surface level of the skin is a crucial step to improving blood circulation and uneven skin. 

How do they differ?

Traditional Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative, whereas Bio-Retinol is a plant chemical that behaves similarly to Retinol but it is not Vitamin A-derived.

While Retinol’s dynamic capabilities are impressive, only those with a high tolerance can reap its benefits. People with sensitive skin often struggle to adjust to Retinol due to its aggressive nature. Furthermore, the use of Vitamin A in products can prohibit usage for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

In comparison, Bio-Retinol has shown to be less inflammatory and therefore less irritating. As it does not contain any form of Vitamin A, it is the safer option between the two that can be used by those who are pregnant, struggling with sensitive skin and/or introducing a 'Retinol' based product into their routine. 

Skin Hero Bakuchiol + Calendula Bio-Retinol Serum and Dream Bio-Retinol + Shorea Butter Night Cream studio image

How to use in your skincare routine

Depending on the concentration level of the product, this can vary. Generally, strong retinol products can only be used once a week at night. Using retinol during the day can cause a greater risk to sun sensitivity and irritation.

Bio-Retinol products can be used more frequently. Due to the concentration of  Bio-Retinol in our Dream Bio-Retinol + Shorea Butter Night Cream, it is safe to use daily during the day and night. Based on clinical studies, the Bio-Retinol was exposed to UV radiation as a test to measure if it would degrade, but in fact, it protected the skin from photo-aging.

The same goes for our Skin Hero Bakuchiol + Calendula Bio-Retinol Serum. Though it contains a higher dosage of Bakuchiol (2%), its use of Calendula as a balancing ingredient promotes soothing benefits while offsetting potential irritation. While Skin Hero is meant for everyday use, if you have not previously used a Bio-Retinol-based product, it is recommended to slowly incorporate it into your skincare routine. Use 1-2 times a week and build from there. 

If you liked this article, maybe you’ll like We Answer All Your FAQs about our Skin Hero Bio-Retinol Serum and Everything You Should Know About Bio Retinol.  


Dream Bio-Retinol + Shorea Butter Night Cream

Renew Skin Cells


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Skin Hero Bakuchiol + Calendula Bio-Retinol Serum

Smooths Fine Lines


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