Discovering the Natural Power of Bakuchiol: A Gentle Alternative to Retinol
Natural and plant-based skincare ingredients have gained much interest in recent years. And one that has gained quite a lot of attention recently is bakuchiol.
It's touted as an alternative to retinol -- boasting its benefits, without the drawbacks. In this post we'll look at where this ingredient comes from, its reported advantages, some of the science and anecdotal evidence behind it, and how it can benefit your skincare routine.
So first off, what is bakuchiol and how do you say it?
You can get by saying bak-ooh-chi-ol. It comes from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant (yes saying bakuchiol is the easy part... ) It is a compound that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. It's thought to offer results similar to retinol but without the potential side effects often associated with retinol use. But is it all it's cracked up to be?
As an aromatherapist and herb user I definitely know that plants and plant derived ingredients are powerful.
And like other professionals, we look for research to better understand how ingredients derived from plants, essential oils, and plant extracts exhert their benefits on wellness and graceful aging.
The research on bakuchiol has been promising but limited, as is the case with many plant derived compounds.
Plant extracts often work more subtly than their pharmaceutical counterparts. It doesn't mean they aren't effective. Its just sometimes difficult to measure the effect of a plant extract that may vary in composition and synergy to a more pure or synthetic compound (in the case of retinol).
But even with limited research data here are a few reasons why people say they are turning to bakuchiol:
Gentle yet Effective: One of the primary reasons for the surge in bakuchiol's popularity is its gentle nature. Unlike retinol, which can cause skin irritation, dryness, and sensitivity, bakuchiol is well-tolerated by most skin types, including sensitive skin. This makes it a great option for individuals who have experienced discomfort or adverse reactions while using retinol-based products.
Anti-Aging Properties: Bakuchiol is noted for its anti-aging properties. Like retinol, it is thought to stimulate collagen production, which helps improve skin elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, unlike retinol, bakuchiol achieves this without the potential for skin irritation, making it a suitable option for those with sensitive skin or a history of retinol intolerance.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: In addition to its anti-aging effects, bakuchiol it believed to possess antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from environmental stressors, such as pollution and UV damage. It is also believed to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, to soothe and calm the skin, making it potentially beneficial for individuals with redness or inflammatory skin conditions like acne or rosacea.
Enhanced Skin Texture and Tone: Regular use of bakuchiol may lead to improvements in skin texture and tone. It may aid in exfoliation, promoting cellular turnover, potentially revealing a smoother, more refined complexion. It may also help fade hyperpigmentation and age spots, resulting in a more even skin tone.
Incorporating Bakuchiol into Your Skincare Routine: Bakuchiol can be included in various products, like serums, moisturizers, and facial oils. Some sources recommend to start by using bakuchiol products once or twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency as your skin becomes accustomed to it.
Conclusion: Bakuchiol has emerged as a promising natural alternative to retinol, offering a gentler approach to achieving healthier, more youthful-looking skin. Its benefits are best enjoyed in products such as serums or creams.
Are you a fan of bakuchiol? Why or why not?
As I delve deeper into this ingredient I will share more as I learn.
Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, Notay M, Trivedi M, Burney W, Vaughn AR, Nguyen M, Reiter P, Bosanac S, Yan H, Foolad N, Sivamani RK. Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Br J Dermatol. 2019 Feb;180(2):289-296. doi: 10.1111/bjd.16918. Epub 2018 Sep 21. PMID: 29947134.
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology Website, The Use of Bakuchiol in Dermatology: A Review of In Vitro and In Vivo Evidence, Accessed from: https://jddonline.com/articles/the-use-of-bakuchiol-in-dermatology-a-review-of-in-vitro-and-in-vivo-evidence-S1545961622P0624X/