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.