Bakuchiol: Plant Alternative to Retinol?
Ask a Cosmetic Chemist
The skincare sphere has been thrilled with the discovery of bakuchiol.
With an array of benefits to the skin, bakuchiol has been a popular ingredient in most of the latest formulations.
Interestingly, the more we know about the bakuchiol, the more we fall in love with it.
Let’s learn everything you need to know about this magic ingredient.
What is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is obtained from the seeds and leaves of Babchi’s plant (Psoralea corylifolia Linn.), native to Indian subcontinents. Though it is a newcomer to skincare, bakuchiol has long been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine due to its natural goodness to treat various skin diseases.
Recently, the skincare industry discovered bakuchiol as a gentle botanical alternative to retinol. As scientists speculate, bakuchiol works as a retinoid analog. It mimics similar cellular pathways and gene targets, leading to cell turnover, in turn stimulating collagen production that enhances youthful skin.
The Science Behind Retinol vs. Bakuchiol and Anti-aging Effect
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, perhaps the well-known science-backed ingredient renowned for the industry’s gold standard of anti-aging.
Retinoid receptors are specific proteins in the skin. Retinol works through these receptors, upturning in gene expression, which increases collagen Type I, III, and IV production and aquaporin -3. In addition, it promotes cell turnover, which results in more even, bright younger-looking skin.
However, bakuchiol has no structural resemblance to retinol. Conversely, studies showed that bakuchiol has similar effects on the skin. According to a clinical study published in The British Journal of Dermatology, both retinol and bakuchiol can reduce wrinkles and improve hyperpigmentation.
In addition to its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, bakuchiol has anti-acne properties. Recent studies also found that bakuchiol is less irritating compared to retinol and does not decrease the size of oil glands.
(Chemical structures of (a) bakuchiol and (b) retinol.)
Extra Benefits of Bakuchiol
- As bakuchiol is significantly less irritating than retinol, it does not lead to purging. And it is gentle on people with sensitive skin. By boosting cell turnover and healthy cell renewal, bakuchiol helps soothe and heal the skin.
- The anti-acne property helps acne-prone skin, preventing blemishes without harsh side effects.
- Due to its stability to sunlight, bakuchiol is safe to use in the mornings, (Retinoids can break down and lose their potency when exposed to sunlight or air. Therefore, retinol should be limited to nighttime routine)
Bakuchiol is added to our Face Oil
It is a lightweight, powerful formula that delivers retinol-like benefits—minus irritation or sensitivity.
Nature’s gentle answer to retinol, bakuchiol, helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while evening skin tone. It does not irritate or make skin sun-sensitive like retinoids—so it can be used during the day.
Bakuchiol Face Oil
- Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects. (2014)
- Prospective, randomized, double‐blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing (2018)
- Epidermal and Dermal Hallmarks of Photoaging are Prevented by Treatment with Night Serum Containing Melatonin, Bakuchiol, and Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate: In Vitro and Ex Vivo Studies (2020)
Hope you find this helpful. Follow us on Instagram @ewalibeauty for more skincare updates.
M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology, B.Sc. in Applied Science (major in Chemistry and Botany) and more than 8 years of industrial experience. In her career, she has formulated 600+ new products, reformulated existing products and created experimental studies to resolve problems during projects.
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