Bakuchiol, A Natural Alternative To Retinol

Dropper of clear serum pulling out of bottle, close up shot

Over the last decade particularly, retinol has been hailed as the holy grail of all anti-ageing hero ingredients used in serums, eye creams and moisturisers, and with good reason. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, encourages cell renewal and enhances collagen production to prevent and treat fine lines and wrinkles. However, retinol can be harsh causing signs of irritation including redness, itching and peeling. If you have sensitive skin, the chances are you will not be able to experience the powerful effects of retinol on your skin – until now. Bakuchiol is the latest plant-based, anti-ageing ingredient in skincare which is suitable for even the most sensitive skin and is considered a natural alternative to retinol.

What is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is a phenolic antioxidant oil extracted mostly from the seeds of the plant Psoralea corylifolia, also known as the Babchi plant. Bakuchiol Oil has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used to treat numerous skin ailments including inflamed skin concerns such as eczema and psoriasis.

How does Bakuchiol work?

Although Bakuchiol bears no structural resemblance to retinol, it has been shown to work on similar pathways that retinol does, resulting in multiple benefits to skin.

The first published study testing Bakuchiol’s benefits for skin appeared in the International Journal for Cosmetic Science in 2014 and involved 17 women aged between 41 and 60 years who used a patented Bakuchiol material, Sytenol® A, at a strength of 0.5% for 12 weeks.

The results clearly showed that, after twelve weeks treatment, there were significant improvements in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall photo-damage. The results showed that Bakuchiol clearly targeted several cellular pathways similar to those targeted by retinol. (Chaudhuri & Bojanowski, Intern J Cosmet Sci, 36(3):221-230, 2014)

A more robust study involving 44 patients, published in 2018, provided further evidence of the similarity of Bakuchiol to retinol in reducing fine lines and pigmentation concerns, again without the dryness and skin irritation associated with retinol. (S Dhaliwal et al, British Journal of Dermatology 27/06/2018)

The researchers concluded “Bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photo-ageing and is better tolerated than retinol. Bakuchiol is promising as a more tolerable alternative to retinol”.

Who can use Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is ideal for those who prefer natural skincare, sensitive skin types as well as those with oily skin. Its benefits include its ability to enhance collagen synthesis, inhibit collagen degradation, enhance cell renewal, provide anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties means that it is helpful for everyone including teenagers suffering from acne to those in their 30’s and above looking to benefit from its anti-ageing properties.

How is GoW Super Bakuchiol Serum different?

Garden of Wisdom’s Super Bakuchiol Serum contains the patented well-defined pure Bakuchiol oil, Sytenol® A.  There are many Bakuchiol oils on the market of varying quality, some with low levels of Bakuchiol and others that may contain photosensitizers or residual solvents left behind after the extraction of oil from the seeds.

Sytenol® A Bakuchiol has been through extensive safety testing and this high purity ingredient has been used in several clinical studies including the first published study mentioned earlier.

Bakuchiol oil is structurally different from retinol and is therefore a suitable alternative to retinol during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. Since Sytenol® A is devoid of photosensitizers, Bakuchiol Serum can be used during the day unlike retinol which is know to cause sun sensitivity.

Until now, retinol has been the holy grail ingredient for smoothing wrinkles, acne prevention, fading age spots and rejuvenating ageing skin. Bakuchiol, I believe is the new plant-based anti-ageing hero to help achieve the same results without irritation, dryness and peeling effects of retinol.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Shabir Daya, Skin | , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Jo Gotsell

    Hi, I’d love to use the new GoW bakuchiol but interésted to know how I would do so with my current routine which includes am and pm use of PHA and Niacinamide as well as twice weekly use of Granactive Retinoid 5%. Thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Jo, you can use Bakuchiol on a daily basis both AM and PM if you wish to but as always I recommend SPF if used during the AM regimen. I would tend to use it after the water based Niacinamide Serum. You may wish to start substituting the retinoid with this and build up to daily use if you wish. The Sytenol Bakuchiol is a well defined raw material which we know is non-irritating unlike some others on the market.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Jo Gotsell

    Thanks. Could I use Bakuchiol in the evenings on the nights I don’t use Granactive , or would you not advise that – ie, one or the other ‘retinol’?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Jo, you could certainly use Bakuchiol on the nights when you do not use Granactive without fear of side effects.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Suzanne Sims

    Hi, would it be safe to use the new Bakuchiol serum whilst breastfeeding?
    Thank you

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Suzanne, Bakuchiol is generally regarded as safe for use during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Amanda McCrea

    Hi Shabir, I am about to run out of GoW vit C serum. Could I replace with Bakuchiol serum or is there a reason to use both? If so, in which order please?
    Best wishes
    Amanda

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Amanda, Vitamin C Serum helps hydrate, calms down underlying inflammation, enhances collagen and helps to tackle any pigmentation problems too – it brightens and freshens a dull looking appearance. Bakuchiol is an alternative to retinol and helps enhance cell turnover without inflammation so it would be good to use both.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Amanda McCrea

    Many thanks, Shabir. Will give it a try :-)

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Please keep us posted if you can.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Alex, Bakuchiol certainly offers a natural approach to cell renewal. You would use Vitamin C first followed by Neurophroline and ending with Super Bakuchiol Serum.
    Many people end up with a moisturiser so you can use this if you wish but try without and see if you really do need a moisturiser as the Bakuchiol contains squalane which is a superb lightweight non-clogging oil that works to moisturise skin’s surface.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Alex Elgar

    Thank you Shabir, that’s really helpful, I shall try it out! Best wishes Alex

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    You are welcome Alex and keep us posted if you can.

  • Rosemary

    Hi, my current regime is Neurophroline serum, followed by an Australian product called Glory Oil, which has many oils and then a moisturiser. Would I replace the Glory Oil with Bakuchiol?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Rosemary, yes please use Bakuchiol after Neurophroline and because it is suspended in Squalane, I don’t think you will require the Glory Oil.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • BJ

    Hi – I pick up a faint petrochemical odour upon application. It dissipates quickly though. Why would that be? Not certain if this is the batch code but from my bottle it is noted GOW20. Thank you.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi BJ, the Sytenol A product is pure Bakuchiol derived from the seeds as opposed to numerous other products that use a combination of seeds, flower and leaves resulting in a less than effective product. Bakuchiol’s chemical name is a long complex one however it is a phenolic compound and that is what you are probably smelling since the extract is only the oil and nothing else.

  • Victoria Foster

    Hi, I’m really keen to try a natural alternative to retinol, but I’m a bit concerned about the squalane content of the bakuchiol serum. I’m prone to milia and last time I tried squalane oil (from the Ordinary) I quickly developed milia around my eyes and across my cheekbones. Do you think the bakuchiol content will mitigate this or am I best avoiding the product? Many thanks.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Victoria, Sytenol A, containing pure Bakuchiol, certainly does display skin calming properties. Squalane is a light oil and used correctly should not cause milia so perhaps you were using too much or too often. I think that you should consider the Super Bakuchiol perhaps twice a week only applying the face and ending up with the last thin layer under the eyes.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Victoria Foster

    Thank you very much. I will see how I get on :)

  • Jo Gotsell

    Hi, I have received my serum but like another poster upthread, the smell is very chemical-y and I don’t like it at all. Not that fond of squalene either but I will persevere and see how I get on. I did mix it with my usual moisturiser this morning because I really don’t enjoy the texture or smell – will the effect still be the same or is it best on dry skin used on its own? Thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Jo, thank you for your feedback. I do understand what you mean but rest assured that the product is pure and without allergens. You can of course mix a few drops into your moisturiser without compromising its effectiveness.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Jo Gotsell

    Thank you!