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Bakuchiol: The Anti-aging Retinol Alternative for a Gentle Skin Reboot

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

Retinol may be one of the buzzy active ingredients that have graced the fickle world of skincare, but that doesn’t mean it is meant for everyone. Most ‘over-the-counter’ beauty products adversely affect people with sensitive skin, increasing their sensitivity to the sun or even causing them inflammation.

Fortunately, skincare and beauty companies have developed a more natural alternative just as effective as Retinol, only gentler on the skin, called Bakuchiol - a skin-friendly substitute slowly rising to stardom on beauty drawers.

Knowing more about the perks of Bakuchiol would help you determine how to leverage its numerous benefits, so I will expound more on this ingredient and why it's a better alternative for your skincare regimen.

What is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is a plant-derived or vegan ingredient in beauty products derived from the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant (commonly known as babchi plant). This element has its roots in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, where its topical application serves as a solution to skin problems.

In recent times, it has become beneficial as a potent antioxidant that visibly reduces discolorations on the skin as a result of sustained exposure to various environmental factors like the sun. Bakuchiol helps treat fine lines, breakouts, and dark spots, without causing any form of irritation or discomfort to the user, regardless of their skin type.

While Bakuchiol is a terpenoid phenol which means it acts similar to Retinol, it has some stark differences that make it a choice for skincare.

Retinol vs. Bakuchiol

These two ingredients have a reputation for regulating ‘cellular turnover’ and improving the ‘skin microbiome.’ In other words, they are both highly effective in rejuvenating the skin by removing dead skin cells and making room for new ones - but with slight distinctions.

What makes Bakuchiol different from Retinol? Actually, nothing much aside from adding a significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and firmness, but with less irritation. Due to its mild effect on the skin, Bakuchiol is a great skin care option for virtually all skin types. Most skin types are intolerant to Retinol, sustaining dryness, redness, peeling, burning, and other side effects that are seldom reported with users of Bakuchiol.

The cherry on the sundae is how Bakuchiol is not degraded by sun exposure, unlike Retinol, which is degradable on instant exposure to the sun, thereby sprouting potential skin sensitivity that causes susceptibility to sunburn.

Bakuchiol has a few perks worth mentioning, especially when compared to Retinoids.

Benefits of Bakuchiol

  • Bakuchiol is an anti-inflammatory, which may be effective for acne and other skin issues, helping reduce the side effects associated with its usage.

  • This vegan-produced anti-aging ingredient is a potent antioxidant that aids in getting rid of harmful bacteria that might pervade our skin microbiome.

  • It is all-natural, making it unreactive to all skin types, even the most sensitive on the sensitivity spectrum.

  • Bakuchiol is a photostable cosmetic ingredient, making it safe for nocturnal and diurnal (night and day) usage.

Side Effects of Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol may help address signs of aging or be safe for pregnant and lactating mothers (I recommend checking with the Doctor before using topical creams). Still, there's been some reported risk of sensitivity, including redness, dryness or sting