I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Monday everyone! I hope your weekend was relaxing! Saturday’s post was all about an anti-aging regimen. One of the things I mentioned was adding a Retinoid to your routine, and today I’m going to share my favorite non-prescription brand!

The Benefits of Retinoids, Explained

Retinoids, or Vitamin A, is sort of the All-Purpose Flour of skincare products. Vitamin A increases cell turnover, lightly exfoliates, also causes cell proliferation and gently reduces tyrosinase activity on the skin.  Tyrosinase is a copper-containing enzyme present in plant and animal tissues that catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments from tyrosine by oxidation, as in the blackening of a peeled or sliced potato exposed to air. (Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?! Not!) So, retinoids work to reduce that activity and can lighten hyper-pigmentation over time. An increase in cell turnover has an exfoliating affect on the skin, which is not only helpful for those who suffer from acne, but it also keeps the skin feeling smooth and fresh. As we age, our cell turnover rate decreases, which can leave the skin looking dull, tired, and oxygen deprived due to a layer of dead skin overstaying its welcome!

My Favorite Non-Prescription Retinoid

There are a LOT of different retinoids to choose from in the consumer market. (And I’ve tried ’em all!) My absolute favorite retinoid line, above all, is Biopelle. It is a superior product and I will tell you why!

Owned by the Ferndale Pharma Group, they are a medical grade skincare line added to the Ferndale Laboratories in 2005 as a groundbreaking aesthetic company committed to providing high quality, cost-effective skin rejuvenation and wellness products with cutting-edge technologies. They have three formulations of their Retinoid called “Retriderm Serum”- a Mild .5%, a Plus .75% and a Max 1%. The retinol is delivered in a protein-rich, oil free, aqueous suspension allowing for maximum absorption, minimal irritation and actual results that you can see! Biopelle’s line of Retinols features a clinically advanced formula designed to visibly reduce the signs of premature aging. The formulations also contain soluble collagen, which reduces fine lines as it increases firmness and elasticity for a radiant and revitalized complexion. It also contains Hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide present in the body that we lose over time. It holds 1000 times it weight in water, and therefore helps your skin to retain its natural moisture. In other words, your skin will not dry out from the rapid exfoliation taking place due to the retinol. I could talk about the science all day long- but it’s the visible results you will be most happy with! There’s a great before and after photo on their website, here.

You need to see a qualified Aesthetician or Derm to determine which strength of this retinoid is appropriate for you. I personally use a 1% solution, as my skin can tolerate it every other evening. A good rule of thumb is if you skin is sensitive, go with the mild; Normal to Dry skin can tolerate the Plus and maybe even work up to the Max, Oily and Combination skin (unless extremely sensitive due to a skin condition). As I said before, a consultation is key to ensure the proper strength so that your skin can maximize the benefits!

Why would I choose this over getting a prescription from my Derm such as Retin-A?

 I don’t recommend Retin-A unless your skin is very acneic (and most derms agree!). A long time ago (we won’t say how long!) Retin-A was pretty much the only prescription Vitamin-A formulation on the market. My derm prescribed it for me for my Keratosis Pilaris on my arms. My skin became red, irritated and peely. NOT what a 16 year old wants her friends to see at school! Le sigh! The reason my skin became so irritated is that the delivery system for Retin-A is very harsh. If you think of a product as a vehicle that drives the Vitamin A into the skin, Retin-A is like an 18 wheeler, whereas some other formulations such as Tretinoin are more like a 4 door sedan. They still drive the Vitamin A in, but with much less damage in the process! The delivery system of a retinoid is very important, as retinoids on their own are very powerful! Because Biopelle contains Hyaluronic acid as well as Vitamin E, it cushions the retinoid molecule as it goes in almost like bubble wrap, replacing the skin’s moisture and hydration while also resurfacing with the Vitamin A but with minimal damage!

Can I find this on Amazon?

You can. But don’t do it! Biopelle is only sold in licensed Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Practices and Medical Spas. I am going to do a post exposing the divergent market at a later date. If you buy on Amazon, you don’t know what you are getting, The product may be compromised in a number of ways- past its expiration date, watered down, or it may not be the product inside of the bottle at all! Biopelle has a great Where to buy link on their site where you can be directed to a qualified and licensed practice to obtain this amazing product!


  1. Great post Ashli! I never knew this about retinol and whenever reading about it elsewhere it was too long, too many big words and well…. I gave up fast. Your article was quick, easy and understandable! Now if I only had an Ashli nearby to be my skin doctor :~D Great Article :~D

  2. What to do if it’s not sold anywhere near you?! I went to their website and apparently Nashville is too “rural” to have a qualified practice!

      1. Oh perfect! I was going to ask you if dermstore was trustworthy.

  3. Hi Ashli! I would love to add Retinol into my beauty routine but am still nursing and plan to conceive again soon. Are there any good anti-aging serums or products that you would recommend that do not include Retinol? I’m sure they won’t be as effective, but I’ll take what I can get! Thank you! Love your blog!

    1. Author

      Hello beautiful! I have a fantastic alternative for you! Retexturizing Activator from SkinCeuticals utilizes 25% Hydroxyethyl Urea/Aminosulfonic Acid Compound: This unique combination of ingredients is designed to stimulate enzymes that help break the bonds that bind dead skin cells to skin’s surface to evenly exfoliate skin for a resurfacing effect as it replenishes and maintains the skin’s moisture levels and it is safe for nursing and pregnancy! It is my go-to recommendation for all of my Mama patients and friends! <3 Thank you so much for liking my blog!!! I love and miss you! XO

      1. Thank you so much Ash! You’re the best. Love and miss you too!

  4. Very great info!! There are such great non prescription retinols these days, I totally agree with you! I love using retinols for anti aging purposes, etc. and I review them on my blog. If you’d like to check out some of my suggestions you can find them at http://www.retinol.com

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