Bakuchiol – the new Retinol? 

Bakuchiol, a phytochemical traditionally used in Ayuvedic and Chinese medicine, is shaping up to be a major player in the skincare market with the latest research showing that it is as effective as retinol in the fight against photoageing – without any of the unsightly or painful effects.

A new study by the University of California, published in The British Journal of Dermatology, has compared the clinical efficacy of bakuchiol  (which is found in the seeds and leaves of the Babchi Plant – Psoralea corylifolia) and retinol in improving common signs of cutaneous facial ageing.

During the randomised, double‐blind, 12‐week study 44 patients were asked to apply either bakuchiol 0·5% cream twice daily or retinol 0·5% cream daily.

A facial photograph and analytical system was then used to obtain and analyse photographs of patients at zero, four, eight and 12 weeks. In addition, patients completed tolerability assessment questions and a board‐certified dermatologist graded pigmentation and redness during real-life consultations.

According to the researchers, “bakuchiol and retinol both significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, with no statistical difference between the compounds” although “the retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging”.

“Our study demonstrates that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoageing and is better tolerated than retinol,” they concluded.

The study follows a 2014 paper published in The International Journal of Cosmetic Science which found that bakuchiol “can function as an anti‐ageing compound through retinol‐like regulation of gene expression”.

In that study, the researchers tested bakuchiol’s effectiveness in a clinical case study.

After 12 weeks of topical treatment with bakuchoil twice a day, the researchers recorded “significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo‐damage − without the usual retinol therapy‐associated undesirable effects”.

Inspired by the 2014 findings, numerous skincare companies have already begun formulating products with bakuchiol, and inevitably the latest research will lead to even more doing so – particularly as bakuchiol seems the best alternative for people with sensitive skin, people who cannot avoid sun exposure and pregnant women.

Skincare brands already on the market with Bakuchiol include:

  • AO Skincare 5 Repair Night Moisturiser Rejuvenating Night Treatment
  • Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème
  • Oskia London Super 16 Pro Collagen Serum
  • Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil
  • Alina Skincare Retinol-Alternative Bakuchiol Serum with Vitamin C

Leave a Reply

Back to top