Bakuchiol: The Plant-based Active You NEED In Your Routine

Move over retinol, Bakuchiol delivers the performance without the irritation

If there’s anything we can say about the beauty industry, it’s that there is always a new ingredient to fawn over. But when Bakuchiol really hit the scene around 2018, it immediately became the buzziest ingredient of the year. Now that we’re a few years down the road, it’s reputation as a powerful, and beneficial skin care active has been solidified. Let’s dig into why this plant-based, anti-aging active is the one you need in your routine.

What is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is a skincare active derived from babchi/bakuchi seeds, from the plant Cullen corylifolium, endemic to Ayurvedic Indian and Chinese medicine. What is interesting to note is that bakuchiol can also be extracted from other plants primarily within the Psoralea flower family.

Babchi/Bakuchi seeds first gained recognition in the late 1960s for topical application in the management of skin discoloration. Through testing, it was noticed that these seeds produced favorable results toward inflammation-based skin disorders including leprosy, and psoriasis. It was only upon further examination that scientists pinpointed the active bakuchiol as the responsible component behind these skin benefits.

What are the benefits of bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is considered to have wide-ranging benefits, particularly focused on anti-aging. More importantly, there is a wealth of data to back up the claims, making it the closest plant-based, gold standard next to retinol. Here are some of the studied benefits of bakuchiol:

  • Increase cell turnover: Bakuchiol has a retinol-like ability to send a signal to cells to increase turnover, and boost collagen production.
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: Another retinol-like quality, bakuchiol stimulates skin regeneration, and also has a plumping effect that reduces the appearance of fine lines, and wrinkles.
  • Helps sensitive skin: Bakuchiol has an anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative effect on the skin, helping to reduce irritation, and inflammation-based disorders.
  • Anti-acne: Bakuchiol can regulate a key enzyme responsible for DHT that leads to excess oil production. This enzyme-action also makes it a very potent hair-growth active in supressing DHT-based hair loss. It also exhibits anti-bacterial activity against acne-causing bacteria.
  • Hydration: Bakuchiol improves skin hydration by increasing the synthesis of natural hyaluronic acid in the skin.
  • Evens hyperpigmentation, and improves skin tone: Bakuchiol was first recognized as a therapy for skin discoloration. It has the ability to quickly, and deeply penetrate the skin, decrease pigment and break down the formation of excess melanin to lessen the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.
  • Stimulate key anti-aging genes: Bakuchiol stimulates key anti-aging genes, including retinol-binding and metabolizing genes.

Why is it a better retinol alternative?

With the above benefits, it’s easy to see why Bakuchiol is regarded as retinol-like. With that said, bakuchiol is a plant-based active that has a completely different structure from retinol. However, the differences may be where the advantages are.

Bakuchiol is comparatively well tolerated by all skin types, especially among those with sensitive skin. Retinol, on the other hand, is notoriously capable of upsetting those with sensitive, or weakened skin. It’s well known to cause redness, stinging, skin peeling, itching, and burning. Comparatively Bakuchiol shows similar potency and results, without these downsides. A key consideration for those who are pregnant, lactating, or planning either of the two: retinol is generally not advised during this time, while bakuchiol is regarded as a safe-for-pregnancy active.

Our favorite bakuchiol products.

Can’t quite leave your retinol behind? You won’t need to, with Dr. Lara Devgan’s Retinol + Bakuchiol, which combines both! The combination of retinol and bakuchiol is purported to produce even greater results through synergy. This doctor brand produces clinical results, with gorgeous, high efficacy ingredients.

For the brightening, hyperpigmentation-busting, even skin tone seekers, Alpyn Beauty combines the power of bakuchiol with brightening active Vitamin C, and similarly brightening plant active Bearberry extract, in their Instagram Glow Serum. A must-try if you want to experience one of the most powerful brightening serums that combines proven actives.

Bakuchiol is what we consider to be the perfect active for the eyes: good for sensitive skin, anti-aging, hydrating, and brightening. This eye gel creme pairs bakuchiol with peptides, and orchid stem cells to improve the look of fine lines, blur imperfections, lighten dark under-eye circles, firm and improve elasticity, and reduce puffiness.

MIJA’s Celestial Potion is one we’ve taken to lately. A multi-use for the face, body, and hair, this powerful super-nutritive oil is designed by a nutritionist, and incorporates bakuchiol as part of its 20% clinical complex with liposomal Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and CoQ10. This synergy amplifies the anti-aging, brightening, skin rejuvenating benefits, and also has the benefit of reversing hair loss.