Why The Internet Can’t Stop Raving About Tranexmic Acid

The brightening skincare ingredient can tackle hyperpigmentation.

As far as brightening skincare ingredients go, vitamin C is an A-list star. However, there are other effective ingredients that can treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, sun damage, or melasma that deserve some time in the spotlight, too. 

Tranexamic acid is one such ingredient having a moment, with more and more skincare influencers and beauty brands shining light on its benefits and including it in product formulas. While tranexamic acid can be effective on its own, it works even better as an ensemble with other dark spot-fighting ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, and more.

What Is Tranexamic Acid? 

“Tranexamic acid is a synthetic form of lysine, which is an amino acid needed to make proteins,” says Dr. Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist in NYC. “It works by decreasing the production of melanin and we know that the oral form is much more effective at treating melasma than topical form. That being said, serums and other products that contain this ingredient have a lot of potential to help improve hyperpigmentation.” 

The ingredient originally was used as a hemostatic agent to help blood clots, but recently has been utilized as a brightening ingredient to help minimize hyperpigmentation as well as melasma.

What Are the Benefits of Using Tranexamic Acid? 

One of the major benefits of tranexamic acid is that it plays nice with other brightening ingredients, so you can really zero in on hyperpigmentation. 

“There are many treatments for dark spots and these often work well together including licorice, niacinamide, kojic acid, tranexemic acid, retinoids, chemical exfoliants [such as glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid], and more,” Dr. Marchbein says. The dermatologist often recommends serums with tranexamic acid and other brightening agents be used in the same routine for the ingredients to work synergistically to improve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. 

Tranexamic acid is also a safer, effective alternative to hydroquinone, a potentially irritating bleaching ingredient. “There aren’t many options when it comes to safe, effective skin lightening bioactives,” says Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants. “Hydroquinone is banned in the EU and restricted in many countries due to its safety concerns. Tranexamic acid has shown promising evidence as a plasmin inhibitor and therefore an effective treatment for UV induced discoloration, dark spots, and redness.”  

What Are the Side Effects of Tranexamic Acid? 

All skin types can use tranexamic acid, but like adding any other new ingredient to your skincare routine, it’s best to do a patch test to ensure you won’t experience irritation. 

It’s also important to wear SPF when using tranexamic acid, along with other brightening ingredients, because the sun can make hyperpigmentation darker. 

“Remember that before you spend your money on antioxidant serums, brightening ingredients, and retinoids to improve the tone of your skin and hyperpigmentation, the most important and first step is diligent daily sun protection,” Dr. Marchbein says. “It is key to reduce the appearance of brown spots (otherwise you are literally throwing your money away).” The dermatologist recommends a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher should be applied to the face, neck, and ears every day — even in the winter.

How Do You Add Tranexamic Acid to Your Skincare Routine? 

Dr. Marchbein says to use tranexamic acid once or twice a day. “I also layer tranexamic acid containing serums over Vitamin C serums and under SPF in the morning and under retinoids at nighttime, so this can safely and effectively be combined with multiple other actives.”

The active can be found in serums, moisturizers, and toners, so it’s entirely up to you what step of your routine in which you want to incorporate it. 

That being said, Koestline says serums are a popular way to go. “Most people do like using actives in their serum layer since you’re applying it before other products.”

Shop Tranexamic Acid Skincare Products:

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

Dr. Marchbein is a fan of this serum by SkinCeuticals, which she often recommends to patients treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. It’s infused with tranexamic acid, along with kojic acid and niacinamide, another two tried-and-true brightening ingredients. 

To shop: $98; skinceuticals.com

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment

In addition to niacinamide, the all-star cast of Peter Thomas Roth’s discoloration treatment includes tranexmic and kojic acids, alpha arbutin, and pentapeptide. The lightweight cream can be applied twice a day on clean skin and is best followed by a moisturizer. 

To shop: $88; sephora.com

Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Hydrating Mask

Puffiness? Dark circles? Dryness? Crow’s feet? This eye mask by celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas checks all the boxes. It’s powered by brightening tranexamic acid, collagen-boosting matrixyl, soothing allantoin, and hydrating licorice root extract. 

To shop: $60/5; dermstore.com

La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum

In this dark spot-fading serum by La Roche-Posay, tranexamic acid is paired with exfoliating glycolic acid to even out skin tone. Use it alone or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer.

To shop: $40; amazon.com

The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

If post-breakout dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or dullness are your main skincare concerns, try swapping your usual moisturizer for this overnight treatment. Powered by tranexamic acid, vitamin C, and acai berry extract, it targets areas of discoloration and boosts overall radiance. 

To shop: $15; theinkeylist.com

SkinMedica 2.0 Lytera Pigment Correcting Serum 

Dr. Marchbein says SkinMedica’s Lytera 2.0 serum is another great option for treating discoloration. It combines tranexamic acid with niacinamide, phytic acid, phenylethyl resorcinol, and a marine extract blend to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation without drying out skin.

To shop: $154; dermstore.com

INSTYLE article

The Best Powder Sunscreens That Make Applying SPF So Easy

When I discovered powder sunscreen, it was a total game-changer. They’re basically UV blockers (like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) in a powder form that can be easily brushed on skin throughout the day when you need to reapply your SPF, all without messing up your makeup. In fact, depending on which one you try, they’re actually pretty excellent for mattifying oily skin or even adding a little bronzed glow to your face. Genius, right? 

BEST MULTITASKING POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30

Not only does this SPF 30 powder protect you from UVA and UVB rays with zinc oxide, it uses antioxidants (specifically vitamin C and vitamin E) to help minimize free radical damage and ceramides (they’re essential for a healthy, functioning skin barrier) to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. 

Shop $29

BEST REFILLABLE POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF 30 Dry Sunscreen

I love this powder sunscreen for two main reasons (beyond the fact that it shields skin with SPF 30). The first being that the brush head is removable (you can easily pop it off to clean and disinfect the brush hairs as needed) and the second is that it’s refillable! Once you finish up the powder, just recycle your empty powder pod and replace it with a new one.

Shop $50

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

This powder sunscreen feels practically weightless and has a translucent matte finish, so it works on just about every skin tone. Another bonus: It layers perfectly (no clumps or caking) over liquid, cream, and powder makeup products too.

Shop $22

BEST DERM-FAVORITE POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50

Any time I talk to a dermatologist about powder sunscreens, this top-rated one from Colorescience always comes up in the convo. The tried-and-true mineral formula protects skin from UV rays with SPF 50 and comes in four different shades (fair, medium, tan, and deep) that never look chalky or ashy on skin.

Shop $65

BEST WATER-RESISTANT POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder

This powder sunscreen with SPF 30 is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it ideal for days when you’re hanging by the pool or sweating like crazy. I like to apply my regular cream-based facial sunscreen in the morning and then layer this one on top throughout the day as a touch-up.

Shop $32

BEST MATTIFYING POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45

Oily skin types, get excited. This powder sunscreen doesn’t just shield your face from UV rays, it keeps it nice and matte too. As soon as you dust the translucent mineral formula over your skin, it’ll soak up excess oil to keep your face grease-free for hours.

Shop $30

BEST POWDER SUNSCREEN FOR MAKEUP :

Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Sunscreen Powder

The last step in your makeup routine should 100 percent be a layer of this powder sunscreen. It provides you with your daily dose of SPF 30 AND sets your makeup for up to 12 hours of transfer-proof wear. 

Shop $28

BEST SOOTHING POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Face Powder

If you’ve got sensitive skin, this soothing powder sunscreen is for you. The gentle, non-irritating formula is made with anti-inflammatory zinc oxide to protect skin from sunburns and photo-damage, plus redness-reducing chamomile and green tea. 

Shop $22

BEST ALL-NATURAL POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Ilia Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20

This translucent SPF powder is made with all-natural and organic ingredients (like aloe vera, passion fruit, and rosemary oil), making it a legit option for anyone who is into the green beauty scene. Buff it in to protect your skin from UV rays, take down shine and excess oil, and minimize redness. 

Shop $34

BEST SCALP POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Supergoop Poof 100% Mineral Part and Scalp Powder SPF 45

Think of this brush-on powder with SPF 45 as a dry shampoo/sunscreen hybrid. Apply it to your part to soak up excess oil (just like a dry shampoo) and protect your scalp from getting burned. And don’t worry, it won’t leave behind any weird, white-ish residue.

Shop $34

COSMOPOLITAN article

11 Cult Favourite Drunk Elephant Skincare Products

While Drunk Elephant originally started as a skincare brand, the company has since expanded its product line into the body and makeup categories — and most recently, hair care. As always, you can rest assured that each product is designed to keep your skin (and now hair) healthy, nourished, and radiant, thanks to the innovative vitamin-, antioxidant-, and mineral-infused formulas.

There’s plenty of praise to be sung for this brand, and a long list of products to choose from. If you’re new to Drunk Elephant or already a fan and looking to try the latest launches, I’ve narrowed down several — 11, to be exact — of the top picks that I think are worthy of a spot in your routine. 

B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

Applying serum before your moisturizer is one of the easiest ways to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy since many are packed with highly concentrated doses of active ingredients. The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum features a lightweight formula containing brightening pineapple ceramide and hydrating vitamin B5. It’s also infused with sodium hyaluronate, which cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos tells Allure is “very effective for plumping lines.” 

$48 (Shop Now)

C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum

The Best of Beauty Award-winning C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum is another great option. The vitamin C- and antioxidant-rich serum repairs sun damage. It also features pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract, both of which help to dissolve dead skin cells, thus reducing the appearance of pores and overall dullness.

$80 (Shop Now)

Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

You already know the importance of wearing sunscreen daily (even indoors), but with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to narrow it down. The ultra-lightweight Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 pretty much eliminates the guesswork. It’s designed for — you guessed it — everyday wear. The editor-favorite sunscreen has won an Allure Readers’ Choice Award three consecutive years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. The creamy, silicone-free formula is ideal for even the most sensitive skin types and contains 20 percent zinc oxide (to protect the skin from harmful UV rays), as well as antioxidant-rich algae, sunflower sprout extracts, and raspberry seed oil. 

$34 (Shop Now)

A-Passioni Retinol Cream

A-Passioni Retinol Cream picked up a 2020 Best of Beauty Award after one Allure editor credited the product for reducing hyperpigmentation and breakouts. Retinol is one of the most versatile, dermatologist-lauded skin-care ingredients and can do just about anything, including brightening skin, reducing wrinkles, and minimizing breakouts. That said, it’s an all-around win for a range of skin concerns. 

$74 (Shop Now)

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

With professional facials few and far between these days, the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial at-home peel is a more-than-suitable substitute. It’s designed for weekly use and is formulated with 25 percent alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids — and two percent beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), otherwise known as salicylic acid. These chemical exfoliants eliminate dead skin cells and smooth texture. The creamy, non-traditional formula will leave your skin feeling fresh, clean, and rejuvenated. No wonder it won a Best of Beauty Award.

$80 (Shop Now)

Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil

Once you’ve smoothed skin over with a peel, top it off with the brand’s moisturizing Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil. It’s a pure one-ingredient oil packed with skin-restoring and vitamin E-infused marula seed oil to protect against free radicals and pollution. 

$72 (Shop Now)

Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser 

The Best of Beauty-winning Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is chock-full of soothing fruit extracts and oils including marula, baobab, and Kalahari melon seeds to keep skin moisturized and nourished. The oil-based cleansing balm also features bamboo and charcoal powders to gently exfoliate dead and dry skin.

Lippe Balm

Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Balm is especially ideal for the winter months when many of us suffer from dry, dehydrated, and chapped lips. The buttery balm is also made with moisturizing avocado oil, which is rich in fatty acids, along with mongongo oil to keep skin smooth, and hydrating peptides. 

$18 (Shop Now)

D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops

For a natural-looking, all-over glow in any season, try the antioxidant-rich D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops. The lightweight formula is infused with soothing cocoa extract, fine line-eliminating peptides, rejuvenating vitamin D, and vitamin F (fatty acids), the latter of which promotes a healthy skin barrier. 

$36 (Shop Now)

E-Rase Milki Micellar Water

If you’ve yet to dive into the greatness of micellar water, you’re surely missing out. The beloved, ultra-gentle cleaning format gently grabs dirt, tones skin, and removes makeup all at the same time — and all without stripping or harming the skin. The hydrating, non-irritating E-Rase Milki Micellar Water offers a milky formula with nourishing omega fatty acids. “This is a great ceramide-based micellar water that’s perfect for removing makeup pre-wash,” board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson previously told Allure.

$28 (Shop Now)

Wild Marula Tangle Spray

Knots won’t know what hit ’em when the Wild Marula Tangle Spray makes contact. The leave-in treatment works three-fold to detangle, condition, and act as a heat protectant, thanks to moisturizing sacha inchi and pracaxi seed oils. Strengthening amino acids, on the other hand, will help prevent breakage-induced dryness that can settle in during colder winter months. 

$25 (Shop Now

ALLURE article

12 Korean Beauty Products You’re About To Become Obsessed With

For decades, South Korea has been famous for innovative beauty exports like cushion-compact foundation, BB cream, and sheet masks. Known for their “skin first” approach, K-beauty brands like Belif, Peach & Lily, and Glow Recipe have become staples for skincare obsessives who want quality ingredients and packaging at an affordable price point. 

From cleansing micellar water to hydrating essence, here are the best K-beauty products to try now.

Everyday Essence Face Serum

Packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and minerals, this gel-like essence quickly absorbs into skin to deliver deep hydration.

Shop $60

Hydrating Micellar Water

Double-cleansing isn’t complete without micellar water. Swipe off dirt, makeup, and oil with this gentle green tea formula suitable for all skin types.

Shop $14

Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream

Tired eyes are no match for this supercharged eye concentrate with red ginseng, Japanese honeysuckle, and licorice. Apply a pump to the delicate under-eye area and gently tap in.

Shop $180

Pimple Patch Set

ELLE.com Beauty Director Chloe Hall swears by these face-saving acne patches, which protect blemishes from reinfection and absorb impurities.

Shop $19

Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Hop on the watermelon train and apply this hydrating mask while you sleep. Watermelon extract is packed with amino acids that seal in moisture.

Shop $45

Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream

This moisturizer lives up to its name. It’s super lightweight, non-greasy, and fully hydrating, thanks to ingredients like peach fruit and avocado extract. 

Lip Sleeping Mask

Beauty editors swear by this leave-on lip mask to treat chapped lips. Hero ingredients like vitamin C and berry mix complex work overnight to soft and plump skin. 

Shop $22

Clear Skin Oil Free Makeup Remover Wipes

Wipe off the day with these gentle but effective makeup wipes. This pack is free of fragrances, alcohol, and sulfates, ensuring that your skin will stay safe and clear. 

Shop $8

Teatreement™ Cleansing Foam

The magic of tea tree oil! The acne-fighting agent pairs up with salicylic acid and coconut extract to clear pesky breakouts. 

Shop $28

Moisturizing Eye Bomb

This cult-favorite eye cream delivers 26 hours of moisture for supple skin. Apply it under concealer to prevent makeup from creasing. 

Shop $48

Miracle Seed Essence

Use a plant-based essence to prep skin for your routine. Lotus seed helps product absorb while combatting environmental stressors. 

So Rich Hydrating Gel

Dry skin? I don’t know her. Using ingredients like camellia and lotus, this antioxidant-rich cream protects skin from free radicals and sun damage, while locking in moisture.

Shop $25

ELLE article

The 15 Best Drugstore Moisturizers Under $20

Aside from sunscreen, moisturizer is arguably the most crucial part of any skincare routine. Whether you’re looking to banish rough patches, soothe sensitive skin, or simply to keep your hydration levels in check, the quest for the perfect formula can be frustrating, to say the least — and it can end up taking a toll on your patience and your wallet.

Although there are a lot of different moisturizers with their fair share of bells and whistles, a few characteristics should be standard. “A good moisturizer should absorb right into the skin and relieve any tightness or dryness,” New York City-based dermatologist Lokita Singh has previously told Allure. “It should be lightweight so you can’t feel it as a distinct layer on the skin.”

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Certified by the National Eczema Association, the ceramides in CeraVe Moisturizing Cream tackle dehydration, while the hyaluronic acid draws in moisture. This gentle cream, which won a 2018 Best of Beauty Award for being the best sensitive-skin moisturizer, also guarantees a huge bang for your buck because a 16-ounce jar retails for under $20.

$19 (Shop Now)

Differin Oil Control Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Think of this oil-free moisturizer as a sidekick for the Allure Best of Beauty Award-winning Differin Gel (one of the most revolutionary acne breakthroughs in years). Not only is this moisturizer noncomedogenic, but it actually absorbs excess oil. Plus, this formula contains an SPF, so it thwarts breakouts and UV rays.

$14 (Shop Now)

Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion

Cetaphil is well-loved in the skin-care community for its super-gentle formulas that are safe enough for even the most sensitive skin — and the brand’s lightweight hydrator is no exception. It’s spiked with moisture-locking hyaluronic acid and glycerin, so itchy, irritated skin doesn’t stand a chance.

$16 (Shop Now)

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV

I’ve already raved about the magic behind this Best of Beauty Award-winning hydrator and how it effectively moisturizes deep into the microbiome, which is the top layer of the skin’s physical barrier. But I also have to give it props for its UV protection, which is a broad-spectrum SPF 30.

$20 (Shop Now)

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream

New York City dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali recommends Neutrogena’s Bright Boost Gel Cream because of its exfoliating poly-hydroxy acids and mandelic acid, an ingredient that brings down redness and corrects pigmentation issues.

$20 (Shop Now)

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer has earned an impressive five Best of Beauty Awards — and with good reason. It mixes together free-radical-fighting antioxidants, SPF, and soy (which dermatologists say can brighten areas of hyperpigmentation) in a lightweight lotion.

$14 (Shop Now)

Bliss What a Melon Water Jelly Hydrator

Housed in Bliss What a Melon Water Jelly Hydrator’s bright pink jar is a jelly of the same hue that feels like water as you massage it into your cheeks. The end result: skin that feels bouncy and hydrated.

$20 (Shop Now)

E.L.F. Cannabis Sativa Happy Hydration Cream

The star ingredients in E.L.F.’s rich cream are hemp oil, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and vitamins that work to diminish the appearance of fine lines. The brand also added moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid, brightening and smoothing niacinamide, and nourishing vitamin B5 for a powerhouse blend that improves your skin’s overall appearance.

$12 (Shop Now)

Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Gel Cream

Relieve parched skin with this lightweight cooling gel. Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Gel Cream contains three types of hyaluronic acid, skin-coddling oils, and soothing blue lotus flower.

$15 (Shop Now)

Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Overnight Face Cream

Dove’s DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Overnight Face Cream, which contains nourishing shea butter and glycerin, will pamper and soothe your dry skin as you sleep.

$15 (Shop Now)

Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost

Quell dryness and and soothe distressed skin with this thick cream. Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost blends together hyaluronic acid and kale, a “superfood,” which touts major moisturizing properties.

$19 (Shop Now)

Physicians Formula Rosé All Day Moisturizer SPF 30

Aside from moisturizing, this lightweight, oil-free lotion contains vitamin C to brighten skin and an SPF of 30 to prevent sun damage. Wear it alone or comfortably under makeup to enhance your glow.

$17 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care

If you’re not a fan of heavy, creamy textures, you’ll love L’Oréal Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care. This liquid moisturizer, which contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and calming aloe water, soothes dry patches and leaves skin feeling soft and silky without a sticky finish.

$18 (Shop Now)

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream

Honest Beauty’s thick, non-greasy cream sweeps on to feel cool and massages into skin to leave it bouncy and noticeably moisturized. Skin is petal-soft with zero stickiness.

$20 (Shop Now)

Clean & Clear Watermelon Gel Moisturizer

It may be baby-pink and smell sweet like Jolly Ranchers, but Clean & Clear Watermelon Gel Moisturizer is as hardworking as it is delightful. It contains sodium hyaluronate to leave skin hydrated and feeling refreshed as you apply it. The best part: It costs only $6.

$6 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

Everything You Need To Know About BAKUCHIOL, The Plant-Based Alternative To Botox And Retinol

It’s been called “herbal Botox” and a “natural retinol” — but does it actually work?

Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-KOO-chee-all”) is a “naturally occurring antioxidant found in the seeds of Psoralea Corylifolia, a plant found in Eastern Asia,” explains Jesse Werner, founder of Whish, one of the first brands to incorporate the ingredient into its product offerings.

I’ve heard bakuchiol described as a “natural version of retinol” or an “herbal Botox,” so editors asked Werner if there was any truth to those claims. His answer made my highly-sensitive skin positively tingle with anticipation: “Clinical studies have confirmed that bakuchiol is a true retinol-like functional compound without the negative effects of retinol.” In other words, bakuchiol is a potential game-changer for those who struggle with sensitive or reactive skin and aren’t confident in the risk-to-reward ratio of retinol.

First, a quick refresher on retinol: A member of the retinoid family, which includes all vitamin A derivatives, it’s considered a Holy Grail ingredient for all things anti-aging and anti-acne; but even though it’s derived from natural vitamin A, the majority of retinoids are synthesized in some way. Retinol is commonly found in over-the-counter anti-aging products, and can be prescribed in higher concentrations by a dermatologist.

When applied to the skin, retinol “interacts with special retinoic acid receptors” and “initiates a biochemical cascade that leads to activation of certain genes that control collagen production, and reduction of the release of inflammatory mediators,” says Dr. Neil Sadick of Sadick Dermatology in New York City. The result? Smoother, clearer, younger-looking skin.

Oh, and potentially a whole lot of irritation. 

Nearly all retinol users go through something called retinization: a period of about four weeks when redness, inflammation, dryness and even peeling occur while the skin adjusts to the medication. Dermatologists largely recognize this phase as temporary and safe, which is why retinol is so popular. But for some skin types, the “it-gets-worse-before-it-gets-better” functionality of retinol often ends at “it-gets-worse”. In addition to retinization, a small percentage of retinol users contract a red, scaly, itchy rash known as retinoid dermatitis.

While naturally derived ingredients aren’t always less-irritating than synthetics, the notion that bakuchiol may be a less-harsh anti-aging option is certainly an appealing one. “We were looking for the most effective ingredients to prevent and repair wrinkles, sagging skin and overall skin health. We kept coming back to retinol,” remembers Werner. “However, retinol is not natural, it’s very harsh on the skin, and it is very unstable. We searched the globe for an effective and natural retinol-like ingredient and we finally found bakuchiol.”

Bakuchiol doesn’t function in quite the same way that retinol does, but here’s the amazing thing: It offers similar results. “In one third party, 12-week clinical study, the conclusion was that retinol and bakuchiol do not have close structural similarities, yet they exhibit a similar gene expression profile especially on key anti-aging genes and proteins, which is remarkable,” explains Werner. In layman’s terms, bakuchiol visibly reduces fine lines, wrinkles and acne, and is considered a functional analog of retinol.

What’s more, the ingredient actually has some advantages over retinol, aside from simply being a natural alternative. Dr. Sadick confirms that it can be used “without any harsh side effects like irritation, flakiness and redness.” It also has photostability on its side; ulike retinol, which can break down and become less effective, it remains active even in direct sunlight.

It should be noted that bakuchi seed powder, sometimes called babchi seed powder, isn’t the same thing as bakuchiol – bakuchiol is the “compound extracted from the seeds using a solvent,” says cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski, who adds that “there’s not likely to be a downside to adding bakuchi powder to a facial mask.” He notes that “no topical treatment would compare to Botox,” but can’t deny that bakuchiol has all the makings of a natural alternative to retinol. 

Bakhuchiol is actually becoming much more common at beauty retailers of late. The ingredient first started popping up in skin-care formulations back in 2014, and its popularity has only grown since then, though it’s remained somewhat under the radar and is still far from ubiquitous. If you’re curious to try out the natural alternative to retinol for yourself — and honestly, you should be — scroll through the gallery below to see some of fan-favorite formulas.

Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum

An all-in-one skin-perfecting day serum made with a natural retinol alternative that targets fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and dark spots, while instantly brightening.  

Buy at Sephora $58

Biossance Squalane & Phyto-Retinol Serum

A serum with backuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative, that targets the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage and works on sensitive skin. 

Buy at Sephora $72

REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream

REN Clean Skincare’s Bio Retinoid™ Anti-Ageing Cream minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for firmer skin. Its bio extracts moisturize your skin and help repair damaged cells. Rich in antioxidants that protect from free radicals, the formula leaves your skin looking younger and smoother.

Buy at Dermstore $69

Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer

Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer contains PlantGenius, a proprietary complex of wildcrafted and hand-cultivated botanicals grown at elevation in the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This all natural, super-hydrator melts into skin leaving a fresh, velvety finish. Ceramides and squalane help fortify the moisture barrier; vitamin C helps brighten and support skin against environmental stressors; a non-irritating bio-available retinol diminishes the appearance of fine lines. Wild actives nourish with essential vitamins and fatty acids. 

Buy at Credo Beauty $60

Strivectin S.T.A.R. Light Retinol Night Oil

First of its kind, ultra-lightweight oil corrects the look of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone & texture. This advanced formula combines three separate but synergistic Retinol technologies, including naturally-derived Biomimetic Retinol – which mimics skin’s natural processes to better receive the benefits of Retinol ¿ with nourishing Squalane Oil and patented NIA-114 technology to limit sensitivity. Plant-derived Squalane & Chia Seed oils moisturize and replenished skin with essential fatty acids. Astaxanthin & Pro-anthocyanidins, two of the most powerful antioxidants, soothe and protect dry skin.

Buy at ULTA $99

FASHIONISTA article

Supergoop’s New Vitamin C SPF Serum to Make Your Skin Super Glowy

No more excuses for skipping sunscreen!

Wearing a bra, pants, or even a T-shirt without holes in it are all optional when working from home, but sunscreen should be non-negotiable.

I know what you’re probably thinking: “Why do I need SPF if I’m inside?” Well, if you have windows in your house, then it’s possible for UVA rays to penetrate through the glass and onto your skin.

My skincare routine since the beginning of COVID-19 in March 2020 has fluctuated: from being neglected to super intense. I’ve stripped the products I use every day down to the essentials (including SPF!), but I jump at an easy way out. That’s where hybrid products like Supergoop!’s Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF enter the conversation.

Daily Dose is the first serum to combine vitamin C with SPF. Here’s how it works: the formula contains a stable form of vitamin C (10% 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) to tackle dark spots, plus additional radiance-boosting ingredients such as niacinamide, and kakadu plum extract. Because mineral sunscreen operates at a different pH level than vitamin C, Supergoop! has included an oxybenzone-free chemical SPF 40 in the serum. There’s also marine extract to protect skin against blue light, another cause of hyperpigmentation.

Skin cancer and sun damage are the two most important reasons for wearing sunscreen despite spending most of your time social distancing at home. But if the focus of your skincare routine is hyperpigmentation, acne, uneven texture, or all of the above, you’re wasting your money buying expensive products with active ingredients if you’re not topping off your routine with sunscreen to prevent further damage.

That’s why, as someone who has become somewhat lazy with their skincare, replacing my vitamin C serum and SPF with Daily Dose was a no-brainer.

If you’re using the serum in lieu of a traditional SPF, Daily Dose should be the last step in your morning skincare routine. However, you can add another SPF over top for an extra layer of protection, or you can finish things off with your favorite moisturizer, which won’t disrupt SPF filter.

Buy at Nordstrom $46

While serum comes out of the bottle with a thin gel-like texture, it gets thicker like a traditional SPF when you apply it. However, the white cast goes away with a bit of massaging and it doesn’t feel heavy under any moisturizer or make it pill.

The verdict is still out whether the vitamin C is doing anything to get rid of dark spots. But reviews are being patient. And in the meantime, its glow-boosting ingredients gives an instantly dewy look.

Plus, I like the convenience of having two important skincare steps in one product!

INSTYLE article

The Best Winter Moisturizers for Every Skin Type

Best Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin: Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer

“Less moisture in the air causes skin dryness,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “If your skin’s natural moisture barrier isn’t properly hydrated, it’s not as equipped to fight off acne-causing bacteria.” If you deal with constant blemishes, look for an oil-free, water-based lotion or gel that will moisture skin without clogging pores. This Boscia gel offers a soothing formula, rich with calming tea tree extract that will minimize breakout-induced redness.

Buy at Sephora $50

Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 15

If your skin leans on the sensitive side, Dr. Nussbaum recommends avoiding moisturizers with “irritants such as fragrances, dyes, lanolin, parabens and formaldehyde.” This drugstore staple checks off all the boxes. Aveeno’s moisturizer is light, fast-absorbing, and is formulated with skin-calming botanicals. Bonus: It also serves as a second layer of SPF protection. 

Buy at ULTA $19

Best Moisturizer for Hyperpigmentation: Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++

Whether your uneven skin tone is the result of a bad breakout or caused by sun damage, a vitamin C-infused moisturizer will help brighten dark spots while simultaneously hydrating skin. But don’t forget the sunscreen. “Moisturizers containing SPF will reduce the oxidative damage of the sun,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. That’s exactly what this Murad tube is made to do.

Buy on their website $65

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

Fun fact: Hyaluronic acid is an all-star moisturizing ingredient, because it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. That’s what makes Neutrogena’s gel-based, HA-packed moisturizer ideal for oily skin types. Instead of a heavy cream, this lightweight water-based product pulls in moisture without clogging already congested pores.

Buy at Walmart $14

Best Moisturizer for Combination Skin: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Gemini of skin types, finding the right moisturizer for combination skin can be tough because it has to jive with both oilyness and dryness. That’s where The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors comes in. The lightweight, non-greasy cream includes dermal lipids to protect the outer skin layer, hyaluronic acid to draw in moisture, and amino acids to hydrate. It’ll moisturize the right areas of the face without making oily spots shinier.

Buy at Sephora $6

Best Moisturizer for Aging Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer

Important PSA: The sun can still cause oxidative damage in the winter, which can lead to photoaging. That said, Dr. Nussbaum suggests looking for a moisturizer that’s packed with antioxidants to counteract the harmful effects of UV/UVA rays. What else should an anti-aging moisturizer include? Retinol, along with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and moisture-sealing ceramides. “Certain moisturizers will contain a form of retinol that increases skin cell turnover,” she says. “The shedding of the dead skin cell layers also enables increased absorption of moisturizers.”  Look no futher than this Dr. Dennis Gross jar, which is formulated with both retinol and ferulic acid, a powerful antioxdant.

Buy at Sephora $99

Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

“Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin’s natural moisture barrier,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. “In dry, cold weather, your skin’s ability to naturally produce ceramides may be compromised, leading to dry, dull skin.” If your skin is extremely dry year-round, go with a ceramide-rich moisturizer for winter, like Dr. Jart+’s cult-favorite cream. The lipids will strengthen the skin barrier so less moisture gets out.

Buy at Sephora $63

Best Moisturizer for All Skin Types: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer 

If your skin doesn’t fall into one particular category, Dr. Nussbaum is a fan of Olay’s Sculpting Cream because it’s a rich, nourishing cream that works well for balanced skin, but also targets dryness and aging. “It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), a hard-working ingredient which regenerates surface cells and strengthens skin’s natural moisture barrier,” she says. “It also contains amino-peptides, known to boost collagen production and improve skin’s elasticity, smoothness and firmness as well as hyaluronic acid & glycerin.”

Buy at Walmart $23

INSTYLE article

The 7 Glowiest Sunscreens for Radiant Defense Against Sun Damage

Who would’ve thought sunscreen could give you the dewiness of your dreams?

With the majority of us staying inside, the golden rule of skin care — wear sunscreen — applies now more than ever. “There is a bit of a trade-off working from home as you may now be getting more blue light exposure,” says Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “UV light, especially UVA, can travel through windows, so unless you have zero windows in your home, you are still susceptible to UV damage.” Luckily, there’s a new wave of facial sunscreens that do more than protect.

Meet the next generation of multitasking sun protection. These multitasking formulas block harmful rays, contain ingredients for added skin-care benefits, and leave skin with a healthy glow. Just make sure you’re applying the right amount and covering commonly-missed areas like the ears and lips. 

“The simple act of applying is not enough. The marketed SPF is only true if the product is applied generously,” Elyse Love, a New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist, tells Allure. “A good sunscreen is designed so that half a teaspoon of product can be applied to the face and neck without cakiness or greasiness.”

If staying inside has your skin looking dull, read on for some of our favorite formulas that’ll make you the most radiant person in your next Zoom meeting, all while protecting your skin.

Tula Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Tula Protect + Glow SPF 30 gives skin a just-finished-yoga radiance. Its lightweight formula contains ginger root to protect against blue-light stress and probiotics to hydrate and improve skin-barrier function.
$36 (Shop Now)

Supergoop! Glow Screen

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 40 is makeup primer that also provides sun protection. Its champagne-colored tint contains niacinamide to brighten skin while making it the perfect base for a radiant no-makeup makeup look.
$36 (Shop Now)

StriVectin Full Screen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

StriVectin Full Screen SPF 30 goes from white to a beautiful bronzy finish when you work it into skin. Its vitamin-rich formula is contains omega fatty acids, as well as argan and grapeseed oils, for added hydration. Your cheeks will glow like you spent the day at the beach.
$39 (Shop Now)

Solara Suncare Glow Getter Nutrient Boosted Daily Sunscreen

Solara Suncare Glow Getter Nutrient Boosted Daily Sunscreen highlights skin with responsibly sourced mica while protecting against environmental stressors. Its vegan-based mineral SPF 30 formula makes it ideal for daily use. 
$32 (Shop Now)

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil SPF 30

Sol de Janeiro’s Bum Bum Sol Oil SPF 30 transports you to Rio with the brand’s signature Cheriosa ’62 scent. The moisturizing, non-sticky dry oil coats your body in a silky, shimmery glow. 
$38 (Shop Now)

Kinship Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen

Kinship Self Reflect SPF 32 won’t clog pores or damage any reefs. Its nourishing plant-based probiotics formula leaves a pretty, pink sheen without the white cast.
$25 (Shop Now)

Coppertone Glow Sunscreen Lotion With Shimmer

For broad-spectrum, waterproof protection and an all-over glow, Coppertone’s Glow Sunscreen Lotion With Shimmer is an editor-favorite and drugstore go-to. The shimmery formula comes in two coverage options: SPF 30 for daily use and SPF 50 for those even brighter days.  
$9 (Shop Now)

Allure article