Better than Retin A?

Better than Retin A?
The older I get, the dryer and more sensitive my skin becomes.

I’ve had melanoma on my leg so I go for a skin cancer check every six months with my dermatologist. Every time I see her, without fail, she gives me samples of  the big guns Retin A to try. She insists the exfoliation will help with little skin keratosis that come up and also soften the wrinkles texture on my face. I take my trusty little bag home with good intentions but after 4 days, I’m so red and flaky I have to stop using it. What’s the point of softening my texture if my face is seen through a red haze of flakes?  None to me.
Enter… the little guns.
I try to use only natural, cruelty free, organic products without parabens or synthetic chemicals on my face and body whenever I can. Since our skin is the largest organ of our body, what we put on it must be as important as what we put in it.
I’ve used Rose Eye Cream from Weleda for years and just noticed it has Rose Seed Hip Oil as one of its major ingrediants. Loaded with antioxidants, its fragrance free and quickly absorbed. Strangely, the directions for use say “do not apply onto the eye itself”.  Just wondering who would actually do that…?


I did some checking into natural alternatives for topical Vitamin C and Retin A. What kept popping up were a lot of articles on Rose Hip Oil. So…I started using it on my face several weeks ago. It doesn’t have the lovely smell of fresh roses, but is touted to have a lot of beneficial properties for aging skin. 

Rose Hip Seed oil is a pressed seed oil, extracted from the seeds of a wild rose bush which is native to Chile. It’s an amber colored liquid with a mild odor. It’s extremely rich in vitamin A (retinoids ), vitamin C & E (antioxidants), essential fatty acids (effect cell structure), linolenic and linolenic acids (diminishes scars and age spots).


This oil is purported to improve the tone, texture and pigmentation of the skin, helping to the correct sun damage responsible for photo aging. A dry oil, it soaks in quickly, leaving no greasy residue. I apply it to my dry face and neck, morning and night under my moisturizer.
I’ve noticed an big improvement in my dry patches and no longer have chapped lips. A surprising benefit is that my fingernails have stopped splitting. I may be imagining it but I think the dark spots on my left cheek are also fading. It’s so inexpensive, I will now be slathering the backs of my hands with it.
Rose Hip oil goes bad quickly when it’s exposed to light and air. That means you want to purchase a brand sold in an airtight pump bottle with dark glass and use it up quickly.
Here is a link to an article I found this morning from the Huffington Post discussing Rose Hip Seed Oil properties and benefits. Its getting a lot of press lately and promises many things…

Is it better than Retin A? I doubt it can produce the dramatic results of  Retin A, but it’s better for me because my skin can tolerate it.  I’ll report back after I’ve been using it for several months.

Do you care if your products are free of chemicals?



  1. August 6, 2013 / 7:38 am

    My skin has always been on the dry side but like yours it’s sensitive as well. I will definitely be trying this out.

  2. August 6, 2013 / 9:53 am

    I am going to look for this today! not a ton of wrinkles yet but mild rosacea! my grandmother used to make rose hip jam – she swore it was so healthy – may have to try that at the end of summer with my rosa rugosas!

    • August 6, 2013 / 5:27 pm

      Not a ton of wrinkles? Lucky gal!! Rose hip jam would be loaded with vitamin C. How did it taste?

    • August 6, 2013 / 6:53 pm

      It was wonderful! I really must find a recipe for myself! it kind of tasted like roses – sweet, but a but peppery..

  3. August 6, 2013 / 11:39 am

    I’m fascinated! especially the part about the fingernails. Will definitely try this.

  4. August 6, 2013 / 1:28 pm

    After having a clinical facial I learned I have a bit of rosacea typical of celtic complexions. I was told to stay away from Retin A and anything with acid. This is perfect timing for my nails. Bonnie

    • August 6, 2013 / 5:34 pm

      I have a friend who suffers terribly with her Rosacea!! It’s a challenge and has to be treated so carefully. Everything causes hers to flare up. This Rose hip oil has been nothing short of amazing for my nails.

    • August 6, 2013 / 6:54 pm

      I am like Bonnie – I avoid Retinol A for that reason – skin would just be in agony. Rose hip oil is on my list for sure!

  5. August 6, 2013 / 1:53 pm

    My skin is super sensitive and I have rosacea so I am very careful with what I put on my skin.
    The rose hip oil sounds divine!
    I am currently using the Eclos line….serum, night cream and day moisturizer. All very gentle and they agree with my skin.
    What brand of rosé hip oil are you using?

  6. August 6, 2013 / 5:39 pm

    I’m using a brand called “Divine Essence” from the local health food store. When I’m in the US I use “Aura Cacia” line. I haven’t seen the Eclos line. Sounds intriguing. Where do you get it?

  7. Coulda shoulda woulda
    August 6, 2013 / 12:23 pm

    Rosehip is amazing but retin a and other vitamin a derivatives do sort out the skin like nothing else. There is a case of persevering a little or asking the dermatologist to thin and dilute the retin a with a plain base cream. I use akin oil that has rosehip and other oils but once in awhile one needs that strong booster – check out avibon bc that is milder than retin a and doesnt peel and go through that healing crisis period.

    • August 6, 2013 / 5:31 pm

      I just googled this Avibon. Sounds like a winner! Their website is sold out so it must be really popular. I’ll see if I can find some to try.

  8. August 7, 2013 / 4:04 am

    I have heard a lot of good things about rosehip oil and have been meaning to try it out. Thanks for this post!

    When it comes to anti-ageing skin care products, the retinoids remain the gold standard. Have you tried using retinol instead of Retin A? Retinol must be converted to retinoic acid first before it becomes active. This rate-limiting step means that it is a lot gentler than Retin A – you won’t get the dried out/irritated skin that you get from Retin A. There are quite a few retinol products that are available over the counter. They are very effective but they are much milder than prescription retinoids and it takes more time to see an effect. SkinCeuticals and Peter Thomas Roth offer retinol serums which are very good.

  9. Adrienne
    August 6, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    I’ll have to try Rose Hip oil. I used to use Retin A Micro and looked like a snake shedding its skin for far too long that, like you, I felt it defeated the purpose.
    Thanks for the information about this…I’ll let you know how it works for me!

  10. August 7, 2013 / 9:56 am

    I use Dr. Hauschka rose cream (winter) and rose cream light (summer) and I’m really happy with both, but I don’t know, if Dr. Hauschka is distributed out of Europe. Beside of the rose cream, the eye balm is also fantastic.

  11. August 7, 2013 / 5:37 pm

    It took my skin some time to get used to the Retin A lotion but I persevered and now notice a great difference. I will check out the rose seed oil. Sounds interesting.

  12. August 7, 2013 / 11:27 pm

    I am not a fan of Retin A, as my skin is far too sensitive to tolerate it. I did try it, but I prefer a gentle exfoliation with a product like Remède, whose exfoliating beads are very fine and less irritating. I always use a gentle hand, and only on certain spots on my face, and never more than once a week. The older we get, the thinner and more delicate our skin becomes and it does not rejuvenate like young skin.

    So, easy does it.

  13. August 8, 2013 / 3:04 am

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m giving rose seed oil a try.

  14. August 9, 2013 / 6:42 pm

    I love the Weleda Rose range. I’ve been using their facial oil capsules and night cream for a few years and wouldn’t use anything else now. I am starting to be more conscious about what is in my products more so now than before.

  15. August 11, 2013 / 6:53 pm

    Thank you for commneting on my site because I’ve so glad to have found you. I cannot use Retin A on my skin because I get basel cell skin cancers and the Retin A thins it out too much. I also get red and blotchy as you and I hate it. In fact I have to be very careful as to what i put on my face. It’s too sensitive.
    I am going to go to my local Whole Foods and look for the rose seed oil. Mybe that will be the answer.

  16. August 13, 2013 / 4:33 am

    Just as simple, organic and as close to as nature made it is good for food choices, a big light bulb went off recently and I thought the same for skin care. I’ve been using just a lavender or rose hydrosol with a serum that is a mixture of plant (mostly rose hip) oils with a little vitamin E and my skin has been very happy. I also noticed no more flakey dry areas and lips that don’t get chapped. And I love the subtle scent of the hydrosol, it makes you feel beautiful.

  17. August 13, 2013 / 5:34 am

    I have used rosehip oil following surgery to avoid scarring and I was amazed at the result. It has been used with amazing results on burn victims to reduce or eliminate scars.

  18. August 14, 2013 / 9:35 pm

    Rose hip season is coming up. I used to collect the hips when the children were small to make syrup, (something that my mother did for me as a baby during the 2nd World War.) I wonder if it is possible to make my own supply of oil? I’ve got a juicer and might give it a try. My skin is healthy but becoming increasingly dry as I become older. I use Weleda wild rose smoothing day cream because I do care about chemicals in products that are spread onto my skin!

  19. About Last Weekend
    August 15, 2013 / 11:43 pm

    Great to know about rosehip. I know 15 years ago I wrote about an organic cruelty free creams (made in NZ) and they were really one of a kind back then

  20. August 17, 2013 / 12:57 am

    I am so intrigued by this. I have used mostly organic products for the better part of a decade although recently I added in Retin A pads and while they work and have faded a lot of my freckle/brown spots I’ve been concerned about the chemicals. I’m going to look into this alternative–such a great share, thank you!


    Mary Jo

  21. clare
    March 23, 2015 / 5:25 am

    I have used Retin A for decades. It is amazing, and my skin looks really really good. I started off with the Retin A like this: First week – put on for an hour a day, remove with your normal cleaner and then moisturise your skin. Even start for a half hour for the first week if you wish. Week 2: 2 hours a day. Week 3: 3 hours. etc. Your will reach a place where your skin is fine with it. And always, always, use a really good sun block. I think that’s the trade off. I have never let sun on my face since starting with the Retin A. Although that probably helps with your skin looking younger anyway. Love and blessings – Clare

  22. July 5, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    I’m trying out some organic “food for your face” herbal face food. It’s in my blog. I let you know if my wrinkles disappear!

  23. June
    November 25, 2016 / 7:25 am

    I am using RetrinAl 0.1 by Avene. No flaking!! I asked my dermatologist for Retin-A and was given RetrinAl instead. Love it. I knew it was working when a friend noticed a difference and asked what I was using! For exfoliating I use a little baking soda and liquid facial soap. Works great for me.

    • Jennifer
      November 25, 2016 / 8:44 am

      That’s 2 votes for Avene…I’m googling it right now! Thanks, June!

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