This antioxidant ingredient is a natural alternative to retinol.
Retinol this, retinol that. There’s plenty to love about retinol, the miracle ingredient that helps to prevent wrinkles, fade scars and improve skin texture. But let’s not forget that the ingredient has its drawbacks: skin irritation, redness and photosensitivity, not to mention that most retinols are either animal-derived or lab-engineered.
That’s where bakuchiol — the plant-based ingredient that’s being hailed as the natural alternative to retinol — comes in.
Pronounced ba-koo-chee-ul, it’s an antioxidant sourced from the Babchi plant. The ingredient has its roots in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, where it’s used to treat everything from psoriasis, vitiligo, leukoderma and even osteoporosis.
That’s why it makes sense that the ingredient has been gaining traction in the skin care community. Some people refer to bakuchiol as nature’s botox, and for good reason— it increases your skin’s cell turnover, thereby helping to diminish signs of aging, even out skin tone, restore firmness and refine pores.
So what’s the difference between bakuchiol and retinol?
Molecularly speaking, bakuchiol and retinol are nothing alike. Bakuchiol is always derived from a plant, but retinol can be harvested from a variety of sources, including animal byproducts. Both, however, are known for their ability to increase cell turnover and address signs of aging. One study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that bakuchiol performed just as well as retinol in reducing wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
The study also found that retinol users reported more skin irritation and scaling. For many bakuchiol users, its soothing properties are the main appeal of bakuchiol. It’s a gentler, vegan alternative to retinol.
Because it’s an antioxidant, bakuchiol is also pregnancy-safe and doesn’t make your skin photosensitive in the same way that retinol does.
That being said, bakuchiol has only recently entered the cosmetics world, so there isn’t nearly as much research behind the ingredient as there is with retinol. Nevertheless, the general consensus is that bakuchiol is the gentler, pregnancy-safe little sister to retinol. If you’re looking for an ingredient that’s similar to retinol without the harsh side effects, bakuchiol is your match made in heaven.
How do I incorporate bakuchiol into my routine?
Bakuchiol is having its breakthrough moment in the skin care industry, which means that your options for incorporating the ingredient into your routine are endless.
For the Korean skin care junkie: Neogen Bakuchiol Serum
This Real Firming Bakuchiol Serum from Neogen pairs bakuchiol with powerhouse ingredients like vitamin C, squalane and tea tree extract to refresh and recharge your skin. It’ll leave your skin glowy, bouncy, and hydrated without that sticky residue. Yes, please.
For the beauty queen that needs an overnight facial: Cocokind Resurfacing Sleep Mask
Who wouldn’t want to wake up with baby-soft skin? Ingredients like bakuchiol, wild indigo extract and beta-glucan work overnight to reduce redness, dryness and sensitivity, all while leaving your skin soft and supple.
For the indecisive retinol user that just can’t give up retinol: Versed Gentle Retinol Serum
If you’re in a long term relationship with retinol, but you want to branch out and try bakuchiol the Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum from Versed is the best of both worlds. With a mix of microencapsulated retinol and bakuchiol, this serum was specifically formulated for first-time retinol users in mind. Apply it at night and you’ll wake up with supple skin and unclogged pores.
For the skin care slacker: Naturium Retinol Complex Cream
We’ve all been there. Sometimes, applying a bunch of serums at the end of a long day is a chore. This Retinol Complex Cream from Naturium does it all for you, blending bakuchiol with retinol, squalane and lipids to tune up your skin without the irritation.
The bottom line: bakuchiol is a gentler, natural alternative to retinol that offers the same great benefits.
+What’s your favorite skin care ingredient on the rise?