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Bakuchiol: The Retinol Alternative Putting Beauty Editor’s In A Frenzy

by Kamara Hakeem-Oyawoye

Skincare nut or not, the one ingredient you’ve heard about for sure is retinol. The highly active ingredient that both dermatologists and naturalists swear by. Naturally embedded deep in our skin, this ingredient promises to conquer all the signs of aging, leaving behind smooth, plump, and even skin that we all need.

However, a major downfall of retinoids is their highly irritant and unstable nature. This not only limits how they can be used but when they can be used. People with sensitive skin types, more times than none, are advised to avoid retinoids in together, switching for milder AHAs and BHAs.

But here comes Bakuchiol, the new kid on the block that not only champions the same claims but does it without all the potential side effects.

What is bakuchiol exactly?

Bakuchiol is a plant-derived alternative to retinol that seems like the gift that keeps on giving. Frequently used in ayurvedic treatments, babchi seeds are known for their countless benefits.

As a natural source of antioxidants, the seeds more or less mirror the activity of retinol. Most notably, when it comes to gene regulation. Such as in instances of promoting collagen and elastin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, firming the skin and making pores look smaller. The cherry on top is the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities that make them unbelievable at clearing out acne.

So.. why make the switch?

The most substantial distinction is that of irritancy. Retinoids are known for being harsh to the skin, particularly if you’re on the sensitive end of the scale. Typical side effects you may face are redness, photo-sensitivity, flaking, and full-on peeling.

Bakuchiol, on the other hand, is a lot less triggering. In several studies, it’s been found to be more stable than the former. So it can be used during the day without burning your face off and combined with retinol to give a collagen boost.

Does bakuchiol really work, though?

After reading scientific studies, it’s safe to say that bakuchiol definitely works. In some cases, the extract was found to be more effective than salicylic acid and retinol, mainly due to variations in gene expressions.

One being its safety for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Orally, tretinoin (a form of retinoids) can cause birth defects in babies. While none are listed with topical use yet, doctors still advise against use. 

However, Ole Henriksen deems bakuchiol safe to use during pregnancy. But just in case, I encourage you to confirm with your doctor before use.

Now that you know all about the magic of this extract, you may be curious about how to properly use it. Luckily, so far, there’s no improper way to use it.

It’s wearable both morning and night, but always be sure to wear sunscreen when using bakuchiol. Plus, you can use it with AHAs, BHAs, or vitamins to reveal surprising results.

Let us know what you think about this hero ingredient if you try it. We’ll love to see if you consider this a potential holy grail.