12 - 10 - 2023
Ingredient Focus – The Benefits of Bakuchiol
Dubbed a ‘Holy Grail’ ingredient and a new skincare sensation, bakuchiol has become something of a beauty buzzword. It has gained serious traction to break beyond the realms of the natural beauty community and make its way into the mainstream. We delve into the benefits of bakuchiol and how this powerful plant-based retinol alternative can work for your complexion and explore why it is such a valuable addition to any daily skincare regimen.
What is Bakuchiol?
Derived from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, bakuchiol is a potent antioxidant yet also has a profoundly soothing effect on the skin. The use of bakuchiol on the skin has its origins in Ayurvedic medicine, and this long history of traditional application is a testament to its efficacy in the treatment of conditions such as eczema as well as minor skin ailments. It rivals retinol in its anti-ageing capabilities – a study by Dhaliwal et al. (2019) demonstrated that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoaging. This may be because its activity profile – the way it acts upon our skin cells – shares many common features with retinol; but excitingly, a further 2022 study by Bluemke et al. found that bakuchiol even has additional ‘biopositive effects’, or skin health benefits. These include accelerated epidermal regeneration and wound healing, meaning that bakuchiol shows great promise in terms of stimulating cell turnover for more radiant skin; and aiding in the clearing of minor blemishes and skin irritations. Overall, the study concluded that there is strong evidence ‘for the multidirectional efficacy of bakuchiol against cellular hallmarks of skin ageing.’ (Bluemke et al., 2022)
Can Anyone Use It?
Unlike retinol, bakuchiol is found to be exceptionally well-tolerated and suitable even for those with more sensitive skin types; with studies reporting that, ‘Notably, bakuchiol does not cause common adverse effects seen with topical retinoids such as burning and scaling, permitting wider use in patients with sensitive skin.’ (Greenzaid et al., 2022). A major advantage of bakuchiol over retinol is that formulas containing bakuchiol can be used as a daily moisturiser, whereas it is often recommended that the use of harsher retinol creams be restricted; for example, to twice a week.
Can It Be Used During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?
Despite a lack of scientific studies, it is widely held that bakuchiol can be used safely during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Retinol, on the other hand, cannot. This is because, as a Vitamin A derivative, retinol can contribute to excessively high levels of Vitamin A in the body, even when applied topically.
What Other Ingredients Should Bakuchiol Be Used With?
Bakuchiol is effective when used in conjunction with other skincare ingredients, especially antioxidants such as Co-Enzyme Q10. A naturally occurring enzyme produced by the body, CoQ10 is one of the essential building blocks for healthy, glowing skin, aiding in cell repair and regeneration. This antioxidant powerhouse also uses the same pathway as Vitamin C to neutralise free radicals. A favourite within popular skincare formulations for many years, this tried-and-true ingredient takes on a new dimension when paired with bakuchiol. Together these powerful antioxidants can support healthier, more youthful-looking skin by providing a shield against environmental aggressors, such as pollution and sun exposure.
Bakuchiol represents a gentle, safe and natural skincare ingredient with fantastic potential to improve an array of skin concerns thanks to its ability to regenerate the epidermis and facilitate faster healing, as well as fight visible signs of ageing. It can be safely used by people of all skin types, making it a fantastic option for those whose choices when opting for facial skincare products may otherwise be limited. Its efficacy is enhanced when it is combined with other natural ingredients, making bakuchiol a perfect complement to any clean beauty routine.
Bluemke A, Ring AP, Immeyer J, Hoff A, Eisenberg T, Gerwat W, et al. Multidirectional activity of bakuchiol against cellular mechanisms of facial ageing – Experimental evidence for a holistic treatment approach. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2022;44:377–393. doi:10.1111/ics.12784
Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, Notay M, Trivedi M, Burney W, Vaughn AR, Nguyen M, Reiter P, Bosanac S, Yan H, Foolad N, Sivamani RK. Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Br J Dermatol. 2019 Feb;180(2):289-296. doi: 10.1111/bjd.16918. Epub 2018 Sep 21. PMID: 29947134.
Greenzaid J, Friedman A, Sodha P. The Use of Bakuchiol in Dermatology: A Review of In Vitro and In Vivo Evidence. J Drugs Dermatol. 2022 Jun 1;21(6):624-629. doi: 10.36849/JDD.6740. PMID: 35674758.