Bakuchiol For Skin – The New Naturally-Derived Retinol-Alternative

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Ok, here’s the deal, retinol has been in the skincare sphere for decades because of its prominent potentials to the skin. It has large research study backing it up which authenticates its potential claims. But there’s one downside about retinol – it can be harsh to some skin (especially sensitive skin) which can cause inflammatory-irritation such as redness, peeling, burning sensation and  hypersensitivity as a side effect. That’s why it’s always advised to start retinol (and retinoids) from the lowest concentration and build your way up (as your skin builds tolerance towards it). 


The downside of retinol gave-rise to the discovery of bakuchiol – which is known to deliver the same retinol’s benefits to the skin without its side effects. That’s to say, it’s gentle and won’t cause skin sensitivity or irritations. Of course skincare research teams & brands always work their butt off to bring to life new skincare ingredients to address different skincare issues, and when a particular ingredient doesn’t really suit all skin types due to its potential-irritating attributes, a substitute will be produced. 

Same case happened to vitamin C, when it is discovered that L-ascorbic acid (the purest form of vitamin C) can potentially irritate sensitive skin and also pretty unstable led to the invention of vitamin C derivatives which are stable and also exerts vitamin C potentials to the skin, but without causing skin sensitivity. 

So if you’re new to bakuchiol or want to incorporate it into your skincare routine but would want to know every detail about it before plunging ahead with your intentions, then you’ve arrived. This post entails all you need to know about bakuchiol which includes your possible-asked-questions. Keep reading to learn more. 

What Is Bakuchoil?

Bakuchiol is an all-natural, vegan skincare ingredient. It’s an oil extracted from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, which grows mostly throughout India and is more commonly known as babchi and has historically been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. And the latest research shows topical application has unique benefits for all skin types.

As a potent antioxidant, bakuchiol visibly reduces skin discolorations from environmental exposure, and has an intense soothing effect on the skin. Bakuchiol can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is why you see it in more skincare products. 

Going into details, below are the skin benefits of bakuchiol.

Bakuchiol Skin Benefits.

Offers Anti-aging Benefits To Skin.

You know why bakuchiol is said to be an alternative to retinol? It’s because it does all retinol does and more. Research has it that bakuchiol also exhibits close anti-aging benefits similar to retinol. This research study discovered that bakuchiol has retinol-like collagen-boosting attributes. 

Fades Pigmentation. 

Yes, just like retinol, bakuchiol suppresses the production of melanin triggered by sun rays exposure, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema. This research study authenticates it. 

Also two studies (here and here) found that 0.5% bakuchiol, applied twice per day for 12 weeks, significantly decreased pigmentation. This study found it actually worked better than arbutin at inhibiting melanin production. 

Prevents Oxidation.

According to this study, bakuchiol also prevents the oxidative degradation of lipids (the natural fats in our skin). 

Reduces Inflammation.

Unlike retinol, bakuchiol soothes Inflammation, that’s why we say it exhibits retinol-like benefits and more. The more we’re talking about includes its anti-inflammatory potentials. This research study records its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Fights Bacteria.

Not only does bakuchiol have anti-inflammatory properties, it also extends its potentials to fighting bacteria. This study found it decreased acne bacteria in a complex with Gingko biloba and mannitol. 

Fights Acne. 

Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial potentials, bakuchiol helps treat acne breakouts

A pilot clinical study showed that 1% bakuchiol reduced acne by a score of about 57% after six weeks. Whereas in the same study, 2% salicylic acid was said to only reduced acne by about 48%. 

Bakuchoil Is Almost As Effective As Retinol.

Although bakuchiol isn’t as potent as retinol, but daily usage (morning and night) will make you reap the same retinol-like benefits. 

This study had participants put on either 0.5% bakuchiol twice per day or 0.5% retinol once per day, over a 12-week period, and found no statistically significant difference between their results.

Keep in mind that bakuchiol won’t be comparable to stronger retinoids, such as tretinoin

Can Be Used Both Morning & Night.

Another good-side of bakuchiol is, it can be used both morning and night – unlike retinol (and other vitamin A derivatives) which their usage is to be limited at night-time only due to its cell turnover potentials which causes skin sensitization, which can make the skin vulnerable to sunburn when exposed to the sun. Well, bakuchiol doesn’t sensitize the skin or trigger any form of exfoliation, therefore, it can be used both morning and night. It is photo-protective and not photo-sensitive. This study authenticates it.

Gentle & Non-Irritating.

Bakuchiol is gentler and non-irritating to the skin, unlike retinol which is notoriously known to irritate the skin (especially people with sensitive skin). 

This study concludes that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photo-ageing and is better tolerated than retinol without irritation, making it gentle and non-irritating to the skin.

Is Bakuchoil Really More effective Than Retinol?

Although bakuchiol has no structural resemblance to retinoid, but it sure exhibits retinol-like potentials without causing irritations to the skin and great for all skin types, including sensitive skin, but it is less powerful than retinol. Therefore it’s safe to say, bakuchiol isn’t as potent as retinol. 

Can I Use Retinol And Bakuchiol Together?

Irrespective of both ingredients exhibit the same anti-aging potentials, both ingredients can also be paired together in the same skincare routine. As retinol tends to rapidly speed up cell turnover, stimulates collagen production and elastin while the bakuchiol gently stimulates collagen production while maintaining skin barrier function and also hydrates and soothes the skin, which makes both ingredients synergistic. 

That’s to say. Bakuchiol’s soothing benefit enhances skin’s ability to tolerate retinol. Therefore, if you’ve had a sensitized reaction to a retinol product, you may find that combining them lets you get similar benefits without signs of sensitivity or flaking. 

Using these two ingredients together is key for anyone looking to reap some serious anti-aging benefits. If you were only to use retinol, you might experience the effects of over-exfoliation, like inflammation, flakiness, and dryness, all of which can exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles. 

And if you were only to use bakuchiol— which is not an exfoliator—then you wouldn’t see the deep-line-diminishing cell turnover of a retinoid.

Additionally, bakuchiol stabilizes retinol (which actually breaks down fairly quickly when exposed to light), so your formula remains effective for longer, while retinol provides a smooth, exfoliated canvas for deeper skin healing from the bakuchiol. That’s why you get to see some skincare products pair retinol with bakuchiol (example: The Paula’s Choice Retinol & Bakuchiol Treatment), which paired 0.3% retinol with 2% bakuchiol. 

Can Pregnant Women Use Bakuchiol?

Doctors and dermatologists have vehemently urged pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to stay-off any vitamin A derivatives topicals (retinoids) as they are not pregnancy-safe and have been linked to cause child defects. While bakuchiol is seen as a natural alternative-use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

Bakuchiol does not have the same properties as retinol, which indicates it would be a promising alternative for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. 

Some dermatologists, like Dr. Dendy Engelman, believe it is. “Unlike retinols that should be avoided while pregnant, bakuchiol is safe to use.”

While other skincare experts waits on more research to be done before ascertaining bakuchiol’s safety for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms. 

But it’s advised to consult your board certified dermatologist (or doctor) before commencing bakuchiol treatment if you’re pregnant or a lactating mom. 

Can Bakuchiol Be Used With Other Skincare Ingredients?

Bakuchiol being gentle and soothing to the skin without any form of exfoliation makes it compatible with other skincare ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, retinoids, AHAs and BHAs

Remember bakuchiol protects skin barrier function, therefore making the skin tolerate other skincare products for optimal and effective results. 

How To Use Bakuchiol.

Just like every other product, bakuchiol can be found in facial oils, serums, creams and moisturizers. It’s not a prescription strength product, therefore it can be easily sourced from over-the-counter. The fact it’s more mild than retinol makes it suitable to use both morning and night because it won’t sensitize the skin. Just ensure to always wear your sunscreen daily before exploring your outdoor activities. (You can learn now to correctly apply your sunscreen) And ensure to do a patch test before using bakuchiol based products. 

Bakuchiol Side Effects.

There are no known side effects associated with bakuchiol, as it’s mild and soothing on the skin, but for the fact it’s an ingredient, side effects are prone to occur. Just ensure you do a patch test prior to product application. 

Best Products With Bakuchiol.

1. Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil.

Bakuchiol for skin

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You know what it means to have bakuchiol amongst your product-ingredients-list, then imagine teaming this great anti-aging ingredient with other skin nourishing and hydrating ingredients. That’s a plus right?. 

Give it up for Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil – A skin nourishing botanical facial oil. Enriched with not only bakuchiol, but oils of sea buckthorn berry, rosehip and sweet almond oil to ensure optimal skin hydration, nourishment and antioxidant defense. 

2. Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment.

Bakuchiol for skin

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A combination of 0.3% retinol and 2% bakuchiol makes this pick a double hitter. Remember bakuchiol is an exact replica of retinol’s potentials to the skin, therefore the combination of both actives makes it more fun right? That’s right. Retinol and bakuchiol delivers optimum skin anti-aging potentials, by inducing collagen production which helps plumpen the skin, thereby smoothening fine lines and wrinkles, and improving overall skin texture and complexion. 

3. Oskia Super 16 Serum.

Bakuchiol for skin

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You know why it’s called Super 16 Pro-Collagen Serum — it contains 16 super ingredients to help improve skin appearance. With bakuchiol inclusive, and other skin promising ingredients which includes chondrus crispus seaweed extract, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C and other essential antioxidants, all in combination to minimize skin aging signs, keep skin smooth, plump and hydrated.  

4. The Inkey List Bakuchiol Moisturizer. 

Bakuchiol for skin

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From the Inkey List brand. One of the best skincare brands in the skincare world and they also have their own share of bakuchiol product in a moisturizer capped at 1% to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone. And oh, it also houses omega-3 packed sacha inchi oil and squalane which helps hydrate and nourish your skin. Say hello to a smooth, plump, glowy and optimally hydrated skin. 

5. Herbivore  Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum.

Bakuchiol for skin

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Infused with bakuchiol and other additional skin texture and complexion enhancing ingredients — polyhydroxy acids – which exfoliate, tremella mushroom – which hydrates the skin and blueberry stem cells which provide vital antioxidant defense to protect skin from environmental damage from free radicals, which is a leading cause of visible signs of premature aging.

6. Good Molecules Bakuchiol Oil Blend for Oily Skin.  

Bakuchiol for skin

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A simple oil blend-mix of bakuchiol, in conjunction with rosehip oil and baobab seed oil to promote skin cell turnover, regeneration and at the same time offer intense hydration to the skin. The formulation of this facial oil is quite elegant and will definitely be impressive to that who likes minimal skin care ingredients. 

UP Next: Have You Heard About Rosehip Oil? A Moisture-rich And Nutrient Enriching Oil .

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