Whether you’re a skincare newbie or a full-on junkie, you’ve likely heard about retinol at some point. Retinol is widely regarded as a skincare staple–especially when it comes to reducing signs of aging. And retinol isn’t just popular, it’s been extensively researched for its research in skincare.
However, retinol has its dark side: it can be quite irritating for many people, often causing temporary side effects like peeling and flaking as your skin acclimates to it. It’s no surprise, then, why bakuchiol has been making such headway.
Despite being a fairly new ingredient, bakuchiol has been rapidly popping up in many different products from a myriad of different brands. And while the research is fairly limited, the results so far are promising.
So what does bakuchiol do to the face that gives it so much hype? Let’s take a look at bakuchiol’s science, its benefits, and whether it’s a novel fad or a new regimen staple.
What Is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is a plant extract that’s derived from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia (also known as “babchi”), which has been cultivated and used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries.
Similar to its well-known counterpart, bakuchiol has been observed to stimulate collagen production in the skin. And like retinol, bakuchiol is available in a variety of creams, serums, and even cleansers. And quite often, you’ll find them combined with powerful antioxidants like vitamin C and niacinamide.
Bakuchiol vs. Retinol: What’s the Difference?
As you might have noticed in this article, bakuchiol and retinol are often compared to each other, because their benefits are so similar.
So what, exactly, is retinol?
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, and it’s typically used in skincare for its ability to stimulate collagen production, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall look of skin.
While it’s known for its versatility, retinol is widely acknowledged as an anti-aging ingredient because of its ability to connect to almost any skin cell receptor site, prompting it to simulate the behavior of a healthy, younger skin cell. Retinol is also a powerful antioxidant that is known to interrupt the free-radical damage associated with wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
Retinol can be purchased both over the counter and as a prescription, depending on the strength of the product. And while OTC retinol products can be effective, they can typically take up to six months before results show. Prescription retinoids, on the other hand, can have an effect in just a few weeks. That being said, your dermatologist can determine which one is better for your skin type, concerns, and goals.
For many reasons, bakuchiol is widely considered a natural, plant-based alternative to retinol, and it may activate the same mechanisms retinol uses to boost collagen production. While further research is needed, bakuchiol may improve the texture and look of skin in a way that resembles over-the-counter retinoids.
However, the key difference between bakuchiol and retinol is this: bakuchiol doesn’t appear to bring on the same side effects as retinol, as some of the research below indicates. Bakuchiol is generally observed to be less irritating and may carry a lower risk of side effects like redness or flaking. Bakuchiol, unlike retinol, is also safe for pregnant and nursing women.
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The Science Behind Bakuchiol
While bakuchiol has not been as extensively studied as ingredients like retinol, there has been evidence indicating that bakuchiol can:
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines: bakuchiol sends signals to your cells to regenerate and produce more collagen, promoting plumpness in your skin and reducing the look of lines and wrinkles.
- Work for all skin types since it has a reputation for being gentle on the skin, just about anyone can safely use bakuchiol.
- Even skin tone: Bakuchiol is known to deeply penetrate the outer layer of the skin, which helps lessen the appearance of dark spots or areas of hyperpigmentation.
Despite having fairly new research, the results examining bakuchiol for anti-aging are promising.
In one study in the British Journal of Dermatology, it was found that bakuchiol is just as effective at fading fine lines and improving skin tone as retinol, but with fewer of the side effects associated with retinol, like peeling and burning. However, it’s worth noting that the study was fairly small–just 44 participants (seven of which dropped out).
In a twelve-week trial evaluating a blend of bakuchiol, melatonin, and the vitamin C derivative ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate and its effects, researchers observed fewer wrinkles, stronger firmness, and an overall improvement in complexion among the trial participants. But because bakuchiol wasn’t the only active ingredient, any skin improvements could not be attributed to bakuchiol with certainty.
Meanwhile, in one systematic review examining the uses of bakuchiol in six pre-clinical studies, seven clinical studies, three commentaries, two narrative reviews, and one report on adverse events, it was concluded that bakuchiol is a retinol alternative with anti-aging, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Additional studies are warranted to better understand its applications in dermatology.
100% Pure Bakuchiol Products
100% Pure has committed to its customers to provide the best skin care products with clean and vegan formulas. Our new Bakuchiol skincare line offers a gentle and plant-based alternative to retinol that is especially perfect for those with sensitive skin.
Bakuchiol Cleanser: Made with Bakuchiol and Kojic Acid, this is perhaps the most gentle cleanser you’ll ever use. It is ideal for those with skin issues like active acne, rosacea, dryness, etc. It cleans the skin thoroughly without causing any inflammation.
Bakuchiol Oil Serum: Made with the clinically recommended maximum Bakuchiol concentration, this serum is a must-have for those who are looking for long-lasting hydrating. It penetrates deep into the skin for a soft and supple feel.
Bakuchiol Moisturizer: Made with Bakuchiol and Hyaluronic acid, our Bakuchiol moisturizer is rated 5 stars by our customers and has quickly become a favorite. This moisturizer boosts collagen production, lightens dark spots, and minimizes wrinkles.
Bakuchiol for Anti-Aging: Final Thoughts
While the research on bakuchiol for anti-aging is still in its infancy, the results so far are promising. And because of its general lack of side effects, it’s a pretty low-risk ingredient to try.
That being said, it’s possible that bakuchiol can be used effectively in a skincare regimen, particularly as an alternative to retinol.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bakuchiol
What is Bakuchiol, and how does it compare to retinol for anti-aging?
Bakuchiol is a natural compound extracted from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. It has gained popularity as an anti-aging ingredient in skincare because it functions similarly to retinol. Bakuchiol stimulates cell turnover, boosts collagen production, and has antioxidant properties, all of which are beneficial for reducing signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. Unlike retinol, bakuchiol is less likely to cause skin irritation and sensitivity, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin or those who find retinol too harsh.
How effective is Bakuchiol in reducing wrinkles and fine lines?
Studies have shown that bakuchiol is quite effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Its ability to promote collagen production helps in improving skin elasticity and firmness, leading to smoother skin and a reduction in the depth and appearance of wrinkles. Users often report visible improvements in their skin’s texture and firmness after consistent use over several weeks.
Can Bakuchiol help with skin discoloration and uneven skin tone?
Yes, bakuchiol can help with skin discoloration and uneven skin tone. Its antioxidant properties help in fighting free radical damage and reducing oxidative stress on the skin, which can contribute to discoloration. Additionally, by promoting cell turnover, bakuchiol helps in fading dark spots and evening out skin tone over time.
Is Bakuchiol suitable for all skin types?
Bakuchiol is generally suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is considered a gentler alternative to retinol, with a lower likelihood of causing irritation, redness, or dryness. However, as with any new skincare ingredient, it’s advisable to perform a patch test first and start with lower concentrations, especially if you have very sensitive skin.
How should Bakuchiol be incorporated into an anti-aging skincare routine?
Bakuchiol can be incorporated into an anti-aging skincare routine as a serum or cream. Apply it after cleansing and toning, but before heavier moisturizers or oils. It can be used once or twice daily, depending on your skin’s tolerance. Bakuchiol can be combined with other skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, but it’s generally recommended to use it separately from retinol to avoid potential irritation.
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