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Everything you need to know about Bakuchiol, a smart alternative to Retinol


TextKatie Scott

With all of the benefits of Retinol and none of the irritations, is Bakuchiol the next hero ingredient?

In our on-going quest for perfect skin, Retinol has been considered a bit of a hero product. A derivative of vitamin A, Retinol helps boost collagen production and aids in cell turnover thus helping reduce everything from wrinkles and sunspots to acne and uneven skin, making it a favourite of everyone from Frank Ocean to AOC

However, Retinol can also often cause irritation and dryness, especially for those with sensitive skin, and those who suffer from rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis are advised to steer clear. Not to worry though, there is a new ingredient in town which boasts all of the benefits of Retinol without any of the irritants. Introducing: Bakuchiol.

Pronounced ‘buh-koo-chee-ol’, Bakuchiol is a plant-based derivative of the babchi plant (psoralea corylifolia). For years, the babchi plant has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine (a thousands year old holistic healing system originating in India) to treat a variety of illnesses from indigestion to scorpion poisoning, and now new research has emerged that shows Bakuchiol mimics the effects of Vitamin A when used in skincare. 

In 2018, a study published by the British Journal of Dermatology reported that: “Bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoageing and is better tolerated than retinol.” Concluding that: “Bakuchiol is promising as a more tolerable alternative to retinol.” 

Not only is Bakuchiol is anti-aging, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, with the potential to treat acne and hyper-pigmentation, critically, it also does without the less than ideal side effects of Retinol such as redness, burning, skin irritation and dryness. 

With all those benefits plus a few additional ones – Bakuchiol is suitable for vegans and safe for use during pregnancy, unlike Retinol – this new hero ingredient is on its way to holy grail status. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best products on the market right now.

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