Bakuchiol: What Is This Retinol Alternative?

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You may have heard the social media buzz around bakuchiol, with lots of (tik) talk about this ingredient among skin care enthusiasts. So why is it getting so much hype? Touted as a natural retinol alternative, this plant-based powerhouse offers many of the same skin benefits as conventional retinol, minus the harsh side effects. Let’s peel back the layers and explore what is bakuchiol, what skin care products feature this botanical extract and its long list of skin care benefits.

What Is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is an extract derived from the leaves and seeds of the babchi plant. Though it’s relatively new to the beauty world, the herb has been used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines for hundreds of years. Traditionally, this potent little plant has been used to help heal, calm and soothe the skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. 

Bakuchiol has been touted as an effective and natural alternative to conventional retinol. While the two are different in numerous ways, including at a molecular level, many of their benefits are similar. Yet what sets them apart is what makes bakuchiol the new darling of the skin care world. 

Conventional Retinol is known as an ingredient that multitasks to help your skin look its best. It increases skin cell production, helps unclog pores, exfoliates skin and increases collagen production, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving your complexion a fresher, plump appearance. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, for some, it is. Retinol can cause increased irritation, excessive dryness, peeling, itchiness and enhanced sun sensitivity. 

Enter: Bakuchiol. This plant-based powerhouse offers many of the same results as retinol without the harsh side effects or concerns. In other words, all of the upside with none of the down. It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help restore firmness, refine skin texture and even out skin tone in a gentle yet effective way. 

Benefits of Bakuchiol

You keep hearing about it and we’re here to tell you that the hype is real. Let’s explore this ingredient a little further and find out why it’s having such a moment in the skin care world. 

Doesn’t Irritate

One of the many things that retinol users find irritating is, quite literally, irritation. Peeling, redness and sensitivity are often associated with a topical retinoid. While these unpleasant side effects usually subside after a few days or weeks (as your skin gets used to the ingredient), those with sensitive skin can find the process too uncomfortable to endure. And this is assuming the retinol concentration is appropriate for your skin – even at a low level, like 0.25%, the peeling and redness can be at a 10. This is a conversation for your dermatologist if you want to go that route, but bakuchiol products are another option worth exploring. Bakuchiol is well tolerated by most skin types, including sensitive, and can be used day and night (conventional retinol should only come out after dark) because it doesn’t cause sun sensitivity, which is a major bonus.

Smooths The Look Of Fine Lines And Wrinkles

Is there anyone who doesn’t want their skin to look and feel smoother? Clinical studies have demonstrated bakuchiol’s potential in minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Its ability to enhance cell turnover results in smoother and more even-toned skin by boosting elasticity and firmness. Incorporating bakuchiol into your skin care routine can help you achieve a youthful-looking and rejuvenated complexion. Sign us up!

Improves The Appearance Of Dark Spots

Dark spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation can occur when the skin produces excess melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. It can affect any skin type and commonly develops during pregnancy, after chronic sun exposure, with older age or after an injury or acne scarring. Conventional retinol is often suggested as a way to fade the appearance of dark spots – though it can be a slow process and irritating to this skin as mentioned above.

According to Everyday Health, bakuchiol can be a safer alternative to conventional retinol for people experiencing hyperpigmentation. And speaking of pregnancy, derms advise ditching conventional retinol when expecting a little one — while the same caution isn’t typically needed for the safe and natural bakuchiol ingredient. (However, we always recommend consulting a healthcare professional when changing your skin care routine during pregnancy.)

Antioxidant Properties

Bakuchiol is known for its antioxidant properties that help shield the skin from harmful free radicals that contribute to premature aging and skin damage. These antioxidants neutralize oxidative stress, reducing the occurrence of age spots, sun spots and other signs of environmental damage. 

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation is a common culprit at the root of various skin concerns like acne, rosacea and eczema. If you’re managing any of these issues, good news! Bakuchiol is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe and calm irritation in skin while also reducing swelling and redness. 

Suitable For All Skin Types

Bakuchiol is generally well-tolerated by all skin types. Whether you have oily, dry, sensitive skin or some combination, this is an ingredient that will almost certainly work for you. Like with all new ingredients, it makes sense to start out slow and see how your skin reacts, but it’s safe to say that chances are, your skin will love it and you will love the results!

Have you tried bakuchiol? Join the conversation in the comments and let us know what you think about this conventional retinol alternative. 

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