Bakuchiol: a gentler alternative to retinol

bakuchiol is the new retinol

Skincare experts are saying bakuchiol is the new retinol. Here’s where it’s showing up.

If you’re in any area of spa and wellness related to skincare, you’ve probably already heard of bakuchiol. This plant-based skincare ingredient is all the rage right now as a potential natural alternative to retinol, and those in the know haven’t been able to get enough of it for the past couple of years.

Retinol, a Vitamin A derivative, has long been considered the gold standard in anti-aging skincare ingredients, known for its ability to improve fine lines, acne and pigmentation. But it’s also hard to tolerate for those with sensitive skin and conditions like eczema. Bakuchiol, by contrast, seems to do all that retinol does while being gentler on the skin. A compound obtained mainly from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia, which is also known as babchi or bakuchi, and is widely used in Eastern medicine, bakuchiol has been moving in as a potential rival to retinol’s rule.

A study published recently in the British journal of dermatology concluded that “bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoaging and is better tolerated than retinol. Bakuchiol is promising as a more tolerable alternative to retinol.” And another study published a few years ago found that bakuchiol was associated with “significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage … without usual retinol therapy-associated undesirable effects.”

Some experts are cautious about getting too excited with the retinol comparisons, as the research has not been very robust and more is required to determine if there are potential downsides or side effects. But that sort of thing doesn’t usually stop people from getting excited anyway.

Over the past few years, bakuchiol has been making an appearance in skincare formulations, like creams, masks and serums in spas all over the world.

Some examples of skincare products containing bakuchiol:

Whish Moisture Replenishing Day Cream

All of Whish Beauty’s products are made with naturally sourced, organic ingredients. Among Whish’s products containing bakuchiol is the Moisture Replenishing Day Cream. This “ultra emollient” cream contains bakuchiol, terminalia chebula fruit extract, and organic rose hip oil to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Alpyn Beauty PLANTGENIUS Melt Moisturizer

Alpyn Beauty is a sustainably sourced natural skin care line formulated with botanicals grown in the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, WY. Alpyn’s PLANTGENIUS Melt Moisturizer is a cocktail of natural hydrators, antioxidants, and bakuchiol, among other things.

Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil

Budapest-based Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil “replenishes like a rich cream yet absorbs instantly like a serum.” This award-winning product contains oils of sea buckthorn berry, rosehip and sweet almond hydrate; bakuchiol, and winged kelp extract.

Oskia Super 16 Serum

The Super 16 Serum is from Oskia, a “nutri-cosmeceutical” brand that “specialises in bio-cellular skin nutrition.” The serum contains 16 “super nutrients and bio-actives designed to boost collagen synthesis, lift and firm the skin and reduce fine lines.” These include bakuchiol, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Hyaluronic Acid , Vitamins C & E, and  Crithmum Seaweed Extract.


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