Bakuchiol: The Retinol Different You Want To Know About

Bakuchiol is the latest skin care ingredient that is causing a sensation. Bakuchiol is touted as a gentle, vegan alternative to retinol products that help reduce the signs of aging and aid in the treatment of acne and congested skin.

Bakuchiol is made from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea corylifolia Plant, native to East Asia. It has actually been used in Ayurvedic practices or in traditional Indian medicine for quite some time.

The main advantage of Bakuchiol, which is widely advertised, is that it is less irritating and sensitizing than traditional retinol products. Despite the assumption that bakuchiol is a natural molecule, identical to retinol, that has a similar structure and function, bakuchiol is actually a very different molecule. While some of Bakuchiol’s benefits are the same as retinol, they are very different on a molecular level.

the breakdown


the good:Bakuchiol is a natural ingredient that has benefits similar to retinol. Considered gentler and milder than retinol, it is a vegan alternative because it comes from plant sources.

not so good:Bakuchiol isn’t as well researched as other retinol products and can vary in the strength of the potential benefits.

For whom is that? All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on:Keep an eye out for further research on this ingredient.

What are the benefits of retinol?

Retinols encourage skin cell turnover – in other words, think of it as a deep exfoliation. Here’s why it’s important. Up to the age of about 30, our skin cells turn around every 28 days. This process slows down as you age, which can lead to dry, dull skin and clogged pores – which can worsen the appearance of fine lines.

Using retinol can help speed up the turnover of skin cells, making the skin look fresh and smooth. Thanks to the increase in skin cell turnover, the products also help to fade the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. With no dead skin cells blocking the pores, the pores can also look smaller.

The main negative side effect of retinol products is that they can often cause irritation or tenderness, making them difficult to use. This is where Bakuchiol can be useful.

What are the benefits of Bakuchiol?

As a naturally occurring ingredient and relatively new kid on the block, there isn’t an abundance of peer-reviewed research that has been conducted on Bakuchiol. However, there are some studies that have shown the ingredient’s potential benefits.

Similar to retinol, bakuchiol can help reduce some of the visible signs of aging such as pigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines.

One of the studies looked at the benefits of bakuchiol for collagen production. The study suggested that bakuchiol has an effect on collagen production similar to that of retinol. However, the study was carried out on synthetic skin.

A follow-up study was also performed on living skin or humans. This study, which used 0.5% Bakuchiol twice a day, found improvements in the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, and elasticity.

Similar results were seen in a Study 2018 This found that 0.5% Bakuchiol when used once a day was actually as effective as twice a day. Who doesn’t like a simplified skin care routine.

The skin benefits of retinol for helping with acne, aging, and hyperpigmentation are well known, and research seems to suggest that Bakuchiol may stack up against retinol. However, there is limited research on how it compares to other retinoids such as tretinoin. Tretinoin is 20 times more effective than retinol and is considered the gold standard treatment for acne and aging.

Does Bakuchiol Help With Acne?

Most of the research done has been focused on the ingredient’s antiaging benefits. There is little research into its benefits for acne prone skin. Given that the retinol benefits for acne skin have a mechanism similar to the benefits for aging skin, that benefit is likely not far off in research.

Things to Note: Bakuchiol

The first thing to consider when considering incorporating Bakuchiol into your skin care regimen is that it may not be as beneficial as other retinol or retinoid products. This means the benefits may not be as quick or shocking as other treatments. However, if you’ve tried retinol or retinoids before and are having sensitivity issues, Bakuchiol might be a good option to try.

The second thing to keep in mind is that like any ingredient, it can cause allergies. It is also more complex as a naturally-derived ingredient, so it is more likely to cause an allergic reaction, but an allergic reaction is rare. If you feel you have any reaction to the ingredient, wash it off and see your doctor or dermatologist.

The third thing to consider is the environment. Naturally derived ingredients, especially when they become popular, can cause undue damage to the environment. This can be seen as the need to clear land for harvesting, transporting the ingredient and processing, and can affect workers’ rights and jobs when there is a high demand for the ingredient.

Can you use bakuchiol and retinol together?

You probably shouldn’t. Given that the two ingredients have similar skin benefits, using the two ingredients at the same time may cause irritation and sensitivity. It would also be unnecessary.

Is Bakuchiol Safe?

Limited research has been conducted into the safety of Bakuchiol, however it is considered safe in its current uses and concentrations. Currently the Panel of Experts for the Review of Cosmetic Ingredients Bakuchiol has not tested its safety and effectiveness.

Keep in mind that more research is needed on this new and promising ingredient to fully understand its benefits and safety profile.

Chaudhuri RK, Bojanowski K. Bakuchiol: A retinol-like functional compound demonstrated by gene expression profiles and clinically proven to have antiaging effects. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2014 Jun; 36 (3): 221-30.

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