What is bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is a natural extract that’s derived from the babchi plant (also known as the Psoralea corylifolia plant). It uses the leaves and seeds, which are also commonly used in ayurvedic, Siddha and Chinese medicine for their healing properties. It’s great for soothing and calming the skin, plus it’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
In skincare, bakuchiol is used to hydrate the skin, reduce wrinkles, improve firmness and to reduce the appearance of pores. So far, so retinol. Studies have backed up bakuchiol’s effectiveness vs the effectiveness of retinol, and have said that there’s less stinging, dryness and peeling skin with bakuchiol.
It triggers the skin to create more collagen (just like retinol), meaning that the skin starts to repair and rejuvenate, improving some of the signs of ageing. It doesn’t affect the oil glands in the same way as retinol, which means no irritation, dryness and peeling. Both ingredients are vegan as retinol is usually synthetic and created in a lab whereas bakuchiol can be harvested from natural resources or made synthetically.
What skincare concerns can bakuchiol help with?
Let’s take a look at some of bakuchiol’s benefits for the skin, based on studies in the British Journal of Dermatology. Here’s why bakuchiol needs to be a part of your skincare routine:
- Anti-ageing - bakuchiol reduces the appearance of fine lines by helping the body to create collagen and reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Speeds up cells - bakuchiol speeds up the regeneration of skin cells to make collagen.
- Anti-acne - because it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory it can help with acne. It’s regenerating effect can also help to improve the appearance of scars. That’s why you’ll often see it in products targeting acne.
- Evens skin tone - bakuchiol deeply penetrates the skin to help lessen the appearance of dark spots or areas of hyperpigmentation. This includes dark circles and age spots that happen as part of the ageing process.
- Avoids dryness and irritation: - while retinol and other skincare ingredients can be drying on the skin or cause irritation, bakuchiol is more gentle and far less likely to irritate the skin.
- Helps soothe and heal skin - bakuchiol helps soothe and heal your skin from the inside out, leaving it smooth, radiant and rejuvenated.
The interest in bakuchiol is growing, with more and more products containing this ingredient as an alternative to prescription-only retinol.
Is bakuchiol a good alternative to retinol?
In blind tests bakuchiol was found to have nearly identical results in a 0.5% bakuchiol cream versus a 0.5% retinol cream when applied for 12 weeks. It’s also a more natural, skin friendly version of retinol, which can irritate the skin and needs to be handled with care at first.
While bakuchiol can still cause some irritation, particularly on sensitive skin, many people report that the effects are milder than when they’ve tried retinol before. It’s also worth remembering that in the UK, retinol is usually prescription-only so is harder to pick up (and more expensive) than it’s natural counterpart.
Interestingly, unlike retinol, bakuchiol may actually make the skin less sensitive to the sun’s rays. You still need to wear SPF daily (it’s a skincare must for everyone, whatever the weather). It’s also worth noting that retinol isn’t safe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. There isn’t enough data to confirm this for bakuchiol, despite some sources claiming that it’s ok. It’s best to seek advice on this from a medical professional.
With all of this in mind, bakuchiol is definitely a great alternative to retinol, giving similar results with fewer issues. If you’re trying to balance out your acne-prone skin whilst dealing with signs of ageing, then bakuchiol actually works for both. It’s ideal for adult skin that’s dealing with ageing at acne all at once.
How to use bakuchiol
Bakuchiol is generally safe for all skin types. Like retinols and other skincare products, you should do a patch test to make sure that it feels ok on the skin. You can use it in the morning or the evening and it can be used every day, just scale back if it does feel like too much.
It’s generally advised not to use bakuchiol with glycolic acid as this can interfere with bakuchiol’s formulation. It works well with other hydrating ingredients like squalane and hyaluronic acid. Some people combine their use of retinol and bakuchiol, starting slowly and alternating before combining them into an evening routine. This is only recommended if you’re used to using this type of product and understand the risks - overdoing it on retinoids can seriously strip your skin barrier.
The FACESS Super Serum is the perfect way to add a little bakuchiol into your life (or should we say, your skincare routine). It works to plump, smooth, hydrate and soften the skin whilst adding radiance, revitalising, refining textured skin and improving fine lines and wrinkles. Use Super Serum at night, applying to clean, dry skin. Apply a single pump and spread evenly over the face to get those bakuchiol benefits coupled with hyaluronic acid, B5 and allantoin. That’s how simple it is.