You’ve probably noticed an increasing number of features and posts regarding bakuchiol in your online and mag browsing, and products starring bakuchiol have started landing on skin-care shelves near you. But what is this wonder ingredient. And is it worthy of the hype? Most definitely!
Skincare treatments are just as prone to follow trend cycles as most other things, and every couple of years, we’ll find the latest/hottest/newest ingredient appearing in new products.
Once upon a time, it was retinol and AHAs, then we had resveratrol and co-enzyme Q10, to name but a few. This year’s must-have ingredient in anti-ageing and anti-acne care is bakuchiol.
Before you learn about it, you might want to know how to say it. You pronounce it buh-koo-kee-ol.
What is bakuchiol exactly?
Bakuchiol is an extract of seeds from the Babchi plant (psoralea corylifolia). Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practitioners have use it for centuries for its incredible antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Why do I need it?
It’s been used for years in acne treatments, and it is an effective alternative to antibiotics and retinoids, which, unfortunately, aren’t without problems.
Products containing retinoids are known to trigger redness, irritation, dryness, itching and flaking. Dermatologists call this retinoid dermatitis. Sadly, the side effects can lead to the user abandoning a valuable skincare ingredient, so the acne returns.
Plant-derived bakuchiol is shown to be effective against multiple acne factors (excessive oil production, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action). This makes it an alternative or complement to retinoids and other acne-fighting ingredients, and it is tolerated much better by the skin.
Brands like Bioderma have used bakuchiol for years in their Sébium Global Intensive Purifying Care for acne-prone skin, and Sébium Sensitive Soothing Anti-blemish Care for sensitive, acne-prone skin. Their SéboRestore complex combines their Fluidactiv patent and bakuchiol to address the root causes of acne-prone skin’s sensitivity and blemishes.
But wait, there’s more…
Like vitamin-A retinoids, bakuchiol has been around since the 1960s, used to help treat acne. Its anti-ageing benefits, however, have only been explored relatively recently.
It is the only phytochemical that performs in a similar way to retinol, despite having no structural similarity to it at all. Hence its suddenly popularity…
Bakuchiol vs retinol
With decades of clinical trials behind it, retinol is undoubtedly the gold standard when it comes to prevention and correction of environmental skin ageing, as well as for treating acne problems.
Problem is, many people’s skin can’t handle it, and others just don’t want to go through the dry, flaky, red adjustment phase (who does?) to get that smooth, glowy complexion.
Despite relatively few clinical trials, the ones that have been done show that bakuchiol behaves in the same way as retinol:
- stimulating collagen to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- it helps increase cell turnover, making it ideal for treating hyperpigmentation and acne-prone skin.
- And, of course, the action against excessive oil production, as well as the antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action
Remarkably, it does this with a much better tolerance than retinol. Basically, it appears to deliver similar results, but without irritating the skin.
And there you have it…
They’re calling bakuchiol ‘botanical retinol’, even though there’s no relation, but you get the idea. It’s also touted as ‘vegan friendly and cruelty-free’. Retinol is derived mostly from animals, In case you’re wondering.
While in-depth studies have not been done as yet, many experts say bakuchiol is a good pregnancy alternative to retinol (which cannot be used during pregnancy).
For those of us who break out during pregnancy, this can only be good news.
Read more about bakuchiol here: