What is Bakuchiol? (Benefits, How to Use and More)

Introducing bakuchiol, one of the best ingredients for sensitive skin.

benefits of bakuchiol

What is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol has all of the same benefits retinol has to offer, but without the side effects. This makes it a powerful plant-based ingredient perfect for sensitive skin types.

The ingredient is an extract derived from the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea Corylifolia or babchi plant. Bakuchiol is an herb mostly used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, as well as Tamil Siddha practices. 

The babchi plant is “native to India and Sri Lanka. It was cultivated in Arabia for its supposed medicinal properties.” Traditional Chinese medicines used bakuchiol as well. The medicines were used to heal or aid in various ailments. This includes kidney issues, bone fractures, impotence, hair loss, lower back and knee pain, as well as vitiligo.

People used to use it to help heal, calm and soothe the skin due to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Difference Between Bakuchiol and Retinol

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative and a highly-reactive molecule. Many dermatologists use it in various forms to treat skin conditions and to reduce the physical symptoms of aging. Retinol works by boosting skin renewal and reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. Its goal is to achieve firmer, smoother and more evenly-toned skin.

While retinol products improve texture, tone, skin moisture retention, sun damage, pigmentation and acne, there are harsh side effects. These include burning, scaling and dermatitis. Retinol may also lose effectiveness over extended usage. Those who use the ingredient normally need to up the potency and amount the longer they use it.

Bakuchiol products offer all of these benefits without any of the side effects. It is also still effective even after a long period of time.

Benefits of Bakuchiol

Some of bakuchiol’s benefits are improving skin brightness, helps with uneven skin tone and minimizes enlarged pores. It also boosts firmness, smooths out texture and reduces fine lines. The ingredient offers all the same benefits as retinol. There is no irritation and redness, though, since bakuchiol is a more gentle ingredient.

Bakuchiol has been known to activate a number of chemical pathways in skin cells. This leads to improved collagen production, decreased collagen breakdown and reduction of melanin synthesis. It also helps get rid of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.

This 2014 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science studied bakuchiol as well. They found it has the same collagen-regulating and gene-modifying properties as retinol. 

The researchers also had participants apply a 0.5 percent concentration twice daily for 12 weeks. The results showed a “significant improvement” in fine lines and wrinkles, elasticity, firmness and sun damage.

Another study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, also tested 0.5 percent, twice a day for 12 weeks. It proved to “significantly decrease” wrinkle surface area.

Additional Benefits of Bakuchiol

Other benefits are that bakuchiol evens skin tone by deeply penetrating the skin. By doing this, it helps to reduce the appearance of dark spots or areas of hyperpigmentation as well. It’s safe to use twice a day because bakuchiol isn’t as drying or irritating as retinol. You can incorporate it into your morning and nighttime skincare routines.

It’s suitable for all skin types because it’s so gentle on the skin, anyone can use bakuchiol. The ingredient helps soothe and heal the skin as well. By promoting cell turnover and healthy cell regeneration, bakuchiol helps soothe and heal your skin from the inside out.

The International Journal of Cosmetic Science published a study comparing bakuchiol and retinol. They discovered “significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity and firmness. There is also an overall reduction in photo-damage.” The study showed bakuchiol lacking the negative side effects of retinol which includes dryness and irritation.

An additional benefit of bakuchiol is that the ingredient protects the skin from damage caused by free radicals. This is because it is an antioxidant.

According to a 2000 study in Planta Medica, it specifically prevents the oxidative degradation of lipids. These are the natural fats in our skin. 

Lipids include squalene, sebalaic acid, linoleic acid and cholesterol. When they become oxidized, it causes changes to the charge and pressure of cells. This eventually leads to swelling and cells dying. In preventing this process, bakuchiol is even superior to the most common antioxidant, vitamin E.

How to Use

Bakuchiol is a relatively new ingredient in the beauty industry. This means it may be difficult to incorporate it into your skincare routine. Right now, there are many bakuchiol serums and masks you can easily purchase online. 

Even though bakuchiol is plant-based, you may need to review the ingredients list first to look out for certain ingredients. If the serum has parabens, sulfates or phthalates, you may want to avoid it. It’s good to look for keywords such as “certified organic” on the product.

The only way to use bakuchiol is to apply it as a serum or moisturizer if it’s in the formula. You can apply bakuchiol before your regular moisturizers or serums, the same way you would normally do with retinol.

It’s not as harsh compared to retinol so you are able to use it twice a day. This lets the product fully absorb into the skin. Bakuchiol doesn’t make your skin more sensitive to the sun. It’s still important to put on sunscreen when using bakuchiol in the morning, though.

Don’t forget to check out the article, 10 of the Best Bakuchiol Products.

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