Bakuchiol, The Natural Alternative for Retinol
By Caitlin Traynor
New kid on-the-skincare-block, Bakuchiol is of the latest buzzy ingredients to emerge on the scene. With all the benefits of retinol but with none of the irritation, this all-natural and plant-derived alternative is the ingredient you need this year.
Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, is one of the most dermatologist-approved and powerful antioxidants currently on the market. This skin-transformer comes in many shapes and forms – from prescription and over the counter to being added in products as a step in your routine. We understand the importance of implementing something new, so breaking down the what, why and how behind retinol before incorporating it into your routine is vital.
New kid on-the-skincare-block, Bakuchiol is of the latest buzzy ingredients to emerge on the scene. With all the benefits of retinol but with none of the irritation, this all-natural and plant-derived alternative is the ingredient you need this vegan-uary.
What IS bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol (pronounced ba-coochy-ol) is an all-natural alternative to Vitamin A that packs a punch. The compound is derived from the seeds and leaves the babchi plant which is native to Eastern Asia and has been traditionally used in Indian and Chinese medicine.
As a plant-derived ingredient, bakuchiol does not have the same chemical structure as retinol but its benefits on the skin are incredibly similar and can be considered a 'retinol alternative'. Bakuchiol gives the skin a cell renewal boost that through collagen promotion promotes a smoother, plumper, and more blemish-free complexion.
Why do we need bakuchiol?
Although Vitamin A derivatives have natural benefits, it can be a challenging ingredient to conquer for those with sensitive skin. As a natural alternative, bakuchiol has the same effects as retinol but is gentler, just as substantial and functions as an anti-ageing compound. Studies show that topical use of Bakuchiol stimulates the production of collagen which, in turn, strengthens the skin’s integrity and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
By stimulating cell turnover and combating dark spots, bakuchiol is also a dependable team player when coming up against acne, post-acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
HOW TO MAKE bakuchiol EFFECTIVE?
With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, bakuchiol is a highly effective ingredient. To start incorporating bakuchiol into your skincare routine, you can apply it just as you would a topical retinoid. With a wealth of products available in the market, such as serums, oils and creams, there is no shortage of choice, so you can pick based on your skin’s needs. Therefore, bakuchiol’s place in the order of your skincare routine depends entirely on which product form you have chosen.
WHEN starting out
Currently, bakuchiol has very minimal side effects and is the only botanical extract so far that has shown clinically-proven results in skincare. As bakuchiol is entirely derived from a medicinal plant, most studies have been deemed it safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding - unlike all retinol, which should be avoided.
Although the use of bakuchiol is off to a promising start, it relatively new in the skincare world and more extensive research will need to be done over the next few years to understand the full scope of benefits.
WHEN APPLYING bakuchiol...
As the gentle giant, Bakuchiol is suitable for all skin types and hasn’t been known to interact negatively with other ingredients. This ‘plays well with others’ characteristic makes it very easy to apply alongside other skincare products without being concerned that the ingredients will cancel each other out or cause irritation.
Unlike retinol, bakuchiol does not increase UV and sun sensitivity so it is safe to apply twice a day, both in the morning and at night to maximize effectiveness.