Everything You Need To Know About Bakuchiol Skincare
Hailed for helping everything from oily skin, to dark spots, uneven skin tone and acne, as well as having anti-ageing properties, bakuchiol is having its moment in the skincare spotlight. Often referred to as a natural and vegan alternative to retinol––due to the similar benefits that it yields––you may have noticed the plant-derived ingredient becoming a regular feature on the labels of skincare lotions and potions.
But what exactly is bakuchiol? We speak to the experts to debunk myths about the ingredient, let you know how––and how often––to use it, along with the all-important products to try. Here's everything you need to know about bakuchiol skincare.
What is Bakuchiol?
Though a relative newcomer in the mainstream beauty world, bakuchiol has actually been used for a range of skin concerns for years, commonly used in both traditional Chinese medicine and in Ayurvedic practices.
Dr Inessa Fishman, MD explains that bakuchiol is "derived from the Psoralea corylifolia plant [also known as Babchi], and has its roots in Ayurvedic practices and natual Chinese medications."
She goes onto explain that it is "a plant-derived retinol-like skincare ingredient; that it is also a great antioxidant. Its mechanism of action and efficacy are very similar to those of the powerful skin exfoliator and collagen stimulator retinol, though bakuchiol tends to have less skin irritation associated with its use."
What does it do to skin?
While bakuchiol is often referred to as a vegan alternative to retinol, Dr. Jenelle Kim explains that "this is misleading because the two ingredients could not be more molecularly different. Our bodies absorb them differently and they trigger our skin to produce cells at a faster rate through vastly different approaches. While both reduce hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring, and redness, retinol often causes irritation because it alters your skin's pH levels and disrupts the microbiome as it is absorbed."
Dr Susan Bard agrees with this, adding, "they [retinoids] promote skin turnover and stimulate collagen productions, thereby diminishing fine lines, pigmentation and improving texture and tone. However, retinoids can be irritating to some and that's where bakuchiol comes in handy. Bakuchiol touts similar benefits to retinoids but is much less harsh and better tolerated."
Is it suitable for all skin types?
Bakuchiol actually has a much better rep than retinoids when it comes to regular use, proving to be less harsh; causing less irritation and dryness. As a result of this, the product can be used by all skin types, even those with more sensitive skin, with Dr Fishman stating that she often recommends the ingredient "to patients who want to improve the tone and texture of their skin but are irritated by topical retinol use."
Though Dr. Bard does add that "those with sensitive skin should still spot test any new products prior to incorporating them into their regimens.”
Best practices for use
As opposed to retinoids, which are advised to be used only every other night, bakuchiol can be incorporated into your daily skincare routine.
"Because it doesn't cause as much irritation as a traditional topical retinol, bakuchiol may be used twice a day. Some evidence shows it to be able to soothe irritated skin, and bakuchiol tends to play well with other skincare ingredients." explains Dr Fishman. Adding, "I love having bakuchiol incorporated into a serum, and using it nightly on clean, dry skin."
Many experts also state that unlike retinoids, plant-derived bakuchiol is also safe to use by those or are pregnant or breastfeeding.