Bakuchiol - Nature’s natural alternative to Retinol?
We’re excited about this (relatively) new discovery of Bakuchiol for use in skin care products. So, what is this, and what’s it all about?
Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-koo-chee-all") is a powerful plant-derived skincare ingredient, extracted from the leaves and seeds of the Bakuchi (Psoralea corylifolia) plant. Bakuchi is an herb commonly used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, as well as Tamil Siddha practices, to help heal, calm, and soothe the skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Bakuchiol is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce skin discolouration caused by environmental exposure, whilst having a profound soothing effect on the skin. Bakuchiol also has the very desirable effect of reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Which is why, due to its similar actions, Bakuchiol is often touted as a natural alternative to retinol. The soothing properties of Bakuchiol have made it popular in acne formulations whilst its powerful antioxidant properties make it highly beneficial in anti-ageing products.
In a 2019 study, it was concluded no difference was found between retinol and bakuchiol in treating wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. However, the retinol users did experience more skin dryness and stinging. Many other studies have also reported improvement in lines/wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and firmness with bakuchiol.
It was also found, bakuchiol is not only as effective as retinol at targeting fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone; it’s also less irritating. Much like a retinol, bakuchiol triggers the genetic pathway in skin cells to create several types of collagen that are useful in skin health and anti-aging. However, it doesn't decrease the size of oil glands—so that means no stubborn dryness or irritation. Plus, unlike retinol, which can make the skin more sensitive to the sun (always make sure to wear SPF during the day), bakuchiol may actually help to make skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays.
According to the previously mentioned study in The British Journal of Dermatology, after 12 weeks, individuals treated with bakuchiol saw major improvements in wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and photodamage overall. In addition to its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, bakuchiol also enhances anti-acne properties.
Benefits of Bakuchiol
Evens skin tone: Bakuchiol deeply penetrates the skin to help lessen the appearance of dark spots or areas of hyperpigmentation.
Reduces the appearance of fine lines: Like retinol, bakuchiol tells your cells to make collagen, "plumping" your skin and reducing the look of lines and wrinkles.
Doesn't cause dryness or irritation: While retinol and other skincare ingredients may dry out skin or cause irritation, bakuchiol is more gentle and isn't known to cause any irritation.
Speeds up skin cell regeneration: Bakuchiol sends signals to your cells that it's time to amp up collagen production and cell turnover.
Safe to use twice daily: Since bakuchiol isn't as drying or irritating as retinol, you can use it both during your morning and night-time skincare routines.
Suitable for all skin types: Being gentle on skin, it normally suitable for even sensitive skin.
Helps soothe and heal skin: By promoting cell turnover and healthy cell regeneration, bakuchiol helps soothe and heal your skin rom the inside out.
Retinol is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Whilst research has not fully determined if Bakuchiol may be used in these circumstances, the chemical difference with retinol is significant enough that it may not present any issues. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised though, if you are considering using Bakuchiol containing products whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.