Your guide to Bakuchiol – the natural alternative to retinol
When it comes to skincare, so many of us focus on finding products that are marketed as anti-ageing - whether you’re looking to ‘treat’ existing fine lines and wrinkles or prevent them. If you’re one of these people, you’ve probably heard of Bakuchiol by now!
Touted as the ‘natural alternative to retinol’, Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-koo-chee-all”) is an ingredient taking the anti-ageing skincare world by storm – and for good reason. Could you imagine a natural ingredient, that offers all the benefits of retinol, without the irritation?! Welcome, Bakuchiol!
For so long retinol has sat at the top of the list as the most effective ingredient for treating signs of ageing and brightening the skin. Whilst it has shown to be effective, it has also shown to be extremely irritating to the skin, and of course, is not a natural ingredient.
If you’re feeling a little confused about this plant-based retinol alternative, read on! Consider this blog post your guide to the beauty of Bakuchiol.
What is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is an ingredient derived from the leaves and seeds of the Babchi plant, found growing in India and Shri Lanka. With impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it has been shown to visibly improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, visibly reduce photo-ageing, and even improve acne breakouts.
While Bakuchiol comes from the Babchi plant, it is not the same thing as Babchi Oil. While both oils come from the same seed, the method of purification in which they are derived makes all the difference. Bakuchiol is a more concentrated compound and is the one you want to look out for when scanning the ingredients if you want to reap its age-defying benefits.
What does Bakuchiol do?
In short, this magical little plant has been shown to:
- Visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Visibly reduces signs of photo-ageing
- Visibly improves the appearance of pigmentation
- Reduces the occurrence of breakouts and acne
- Fights damaging free radicals
So, how does Bakuchiol work?
Some may call it magic, and others call it science. Either way, this nifty oil has been clinically proven to work!
A 2014 study found that Bakuchiol possesses the same gene-modifying abilities as retinol and is able to promote the production and stimulation of collagen. The study confirmed that this ability results in the same significant visible improvement in skin plumpness and elasticity, without the irritation and side effects associated with retinol.
A study conducted by Planta Medica found that Bakuchiol prevents the ‘oxidative degradation of lipids’ in our skin. When these lipids (natural fats such as squalene and linoleic acid) become oxidised, they eventually die. Bakuchiol has been shown to be more powerful in preventing this oxidisation process than Vitamin E.
The good news doesn’t end there! For those of you with hyperpigmentation, Bakuchiol inhibits the production of melanin, the dark pigment in our skin. There have been several studies (2010, 2014 & 2019) that have shown just how effective this retinol alternative is, at visibly decreasing pigmentation and dark spots.
Studies have also shown that Bakuchiol possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to inhibit the oxidation of sebum, improving and preventing acne and breakouts (Chaudhuri, R. 2011).
Bakuchiol vs Retinol
With so many of the same benefits, the decision between retinol and Bakuchiol may seem a tricky one to make.
A 2019 study compared the effectiveness of both Retinol and Bakuchiol in reducing common signs of ageing. It was found that both oils “significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, with no statistical difference between the compounds” (Dhaliwal, S., et al., 2019), however, the retinol users reported more skin scaling and stinging.
Vitamin A products, including Retinol, can only be worn at night, as UV rays break them down making them less effective, and can cause the skin to be more susceptible to sunburn. Studies have shown that Bakuchiol does not have the effect, and can be safely worn any time of day.
Something we are so passionate about at Edible Beauty is ensuring that our products are fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding friendly. The use of Retinol products during pregnancy is certainly not recommended! When you are pregnant, hormones are in overproduction, making your more susceptible to UV damage and hyperpigmentation. Retinol has been shown to further increase the effects of UV damage in pregnant women, as well as making them more prone to hyperpigmentation.
Retinol can also be harmful to the unborn baby, with studies showing birth defects consistent with retinoid embryopathy, found in the babies of women who have used topical retinoids.
The good news is that Bakuchiol is safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding! We know that looking after your skin during pregnancy is just as important as any other time, and it can be hard to find safe, effective products! Our Beauty Reset Drops are your natural, Bakuchiol alternative to retinol, and are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding! Check out our complete range of skincare, safe for all stages of life, here.
With the anti-ageing benefits of retinol, comes redness, peeling, irritation, and other undesirable side effects. Bakuchiol on the other hand has not been shown to cause any irritation or other side effects. I think we know who the winner is!