Bakuchiol in Skincare: The Natural Alternative to Retinol

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Bakuchiol in Skincare: The Natural Alternative to Retinol

Bakuchiol is a gentle, plant-based new option to retinol, the long-time gold standard ingredient in skincare products. Before we jump on the bakuchiol bandwagon, we need to know exactly what bakuchiol is, and what it does. More than anything, we need to know why is it threatening retinol’s hold on the skincare market. We can start by understanding retinol.


What is Retinol?


Retinol is an active form of Vitamin A that is essential to the process of skin regeneration. It is also an antioxidant that protects the skin from harmful free radicals. When used in skincare products, retinol increases cell turnover and collagen production.

  • Cell turnover clears up acne, blackheads and whiteheads by unclogging pores. It also prevents new breakouts by keeping the pores from getting clogged in the first place. Since cell turnover gently removes the outer layers of the skin, the result is fresh, new skin without dark spots.
  • Collagen is a protein that keeps skin smooth, taut and firm. As we age, collagen production decreases, and sun damage causes collagen and elastin to break down in our skin. Because retinol stimulates types 1 and 7 collagen, it smooths out wrinkles and fine lines, firms up sagging skin to improve skin tone and texture.


With retinol doing all that, why would bakuchiol make such a buzz?


Side Effects of Retinol


  • Retinol is extremely potent, which is why it works so well. Howrever, it can also cause dryness, irritation, redness, inflammation and peeling.
  • Cell turnover can be so intense that the skin sheds more than desired. The skin may feel very sensitive and easily irritated.
  • Retinol makes skin more sensitive to the sun. There is an increased risk of sunburn, so you should wear a moisturizer with sunscreen everyday and reapply throughout the day.
  • Your skin may get worse before it gets better. In the first few weeks of using a retinol product there may be a flare in your acne.


Bakuchiol in Skincare – The Gentler Alternative


As is often the case, this “new discovery” is thousands of years old. Bakuchiol is extracted from the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia (aka babchi) plant that has been used since ancient times in Indian and Chinese medicines for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

It has only been studied in the last several years for skincare. So far, the results have shown that bakuchiol performs as well as, if not better than, retinol in speeding up cell turnover and collagen production. It also penetrates the skin and to fade dark spots.

The major reason, however, that the tide is turning toward bakuchiol is that it works without the harsh side effects of retinol.

  • Bakuchiol is suitable for all skin types. It is gentle enough to use on the most sensitive skin, including skin afflicted with rosecea or inflamed acne.
  • Bakuchiol actually makes the skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays—However, this does NOT mean that you can skip the sunscreen!


Other Advantages of Bakuchiol in Skincare


  • Retinol should only be used at bedtime and you must be careful not to mix with certain other products. Not so with bakuchiol! You can use it both in the morning and evening, and it works well with other ingredients. That makes it much easier to include in an established skincare routine.
  • Unlike retinol that can contain animal byproducts, bakuchiol is natural and plant-based. That means that it is vegan and cruelly free. It is also free of parabens, petroleum and synthetic fragrances.


As with any new skin product, start off gradually until you determine that your skin is compatible with bakuchiol. At Eternal Dermatology, our new “Rejuvenate serum” contains both Retinol and Bakuchiol, with Vitamins C and E. In this stable formula, the soothing bakuchiol enhances the activity of the retinol while also reducing irritation. As both of these key ingredients work by different mechanisms, the results are impressive!


For more information, call 301-679-5772 or book an appointment online to schedule a consultation. Dr. Ife Rodney  is a board certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with expertise in skin care, anti-aging and skin rejuvenation for all skin types. Eternal Dermatology is conveniently located in Fulton, MD, and serves Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, Bowie, Silver Spring,  and PG, Montgomery and Howard County, Maryland.




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