Does Bakuchiol Really Work Just Like Retinol?

Does Bakuchiol Really Work Just Like Retinol?
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If you fancy yourself a bit of a skincare aficionado, you’ve probably already heard of bakuchiol. It’s the latest buzz-worthy ingredient taking the beauty industry by storm. It’s being hailed as the clean beauty movement’s natural alternative to retinol, but can it really stack up to the real thing?

What is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is an antioxidant found in the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. Bakuchiol offers similar benefits to traditional retinoids, like diminishing fine lines, evening out and brightening skin tone. Only it’s much, much gentler – making it a perfect alternative for those with sensitive skin. But how does a botanical active achieve this? “It’s clinically shown to mimic the actions of retinol by acting on the same receptors, and a study has even revealed that bakuchiol can function as an anti-aging compound through retinol-like regulation of gene expression,” explains Jessica Sepel, Founder of JSHealth.

What are the benefits of bakuchiol?

It’s easy to see why people are fast becoming obsessed with bakuchiol. It has all the benefits of retinol, minus the baggage. “In one study, after 12 weeks of treatment with bakuchiol, participants experienced significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and an overall reduction in photo-damage,” explains Jess. It can also be safely used during the day without fear of causing sun sensitivity and during pregnancy.

How often can you use bakuchiol? 

According to Jess, Bakuchiol is an incredibly efficacious yet gentle skincare ingredient that can be used by most people twice daily with excellent results. Hence why it’s the main ingredient in JSHealth Vitamins Skin ‘Luminous Vitamin Oil’, and the ingredient sweeping the skincare market. Bakuchiol is recommended for use both morning and night for optimal benefits. However, it can also just be used as part of the evening skincare routine if people prefer, says Jess. “All skin is unique, and it’s about finding what works best for an individual.”

Are there any side effects of bakuchiol or any other skincare ingredients we shouldn’t be mixing it with? 

“In general, bakuchiol is not known to have side effects, which is one of the reasons that it’s so desirable compared to traditional retinol products, which are known to cause issues such as irritation, sensitivity, hyperpigmentation and flaking of the skin” explains Jess. It’s also garnered a lot of hype because bakuchiol is gentle enough to be considered safe during pregnancy, unlike traditional retinol. While bakuchiol doesn’t have clear contraindications to other skincare ingredients, Jess explains you shouldn’t be using it if you’re already using traditional retinol, as this could be an overload. “In terms of other active ingredients, it doesn’t appear to have any conflicts, but studies are limited.” As always, Jess recommends patch testing the product before using it on larger areas of the skin.

Where does it come in our skincare routine? 

At the moment, bakuchiol is primarily found in serums and oils, so it’s recommended that they be applied after cleansing and before thicker moisturisers and sunscreens. This is so that your serum can effectively target your skin concerns without being disrupted by other ingredients in your routine.

The key takeaway from all this? If your skin reacts a little funky to traditional vitamin A’s, bakuchiol’s a great natural alternative that’s proving to be almost as effective as the real stuff.

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