For decades, retinol has been a skincare darling that promises to even out skin tone, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and offer an overall glow. While the potent vitamin A-derivative does work wonders for many, it also can be super irritating on some. Enter bakuchiol: the more gentle alternative to retinol products. Bakuchiol is an extract derived from the psoralea corylifolia plant, and can help increase cell turnover, diminish signs of aging, and lessen photodamage on the skin. It’s vegan, won’t clog pores, and is popping up in many skincare products throughout the market.
Bakuchiol(pronounced ba-koo-heel) is a naturally-occurring antioxidant found in the leaves and seeds of the babchi herb (Psoralea corylifolia), which is native to India. Historically, owing to the compound’s potent anti-microbial, anti-scarring, and anti-inflammatory properties, bakuchiol was used in Indian and Chinese medicine to treat a range of inflammation-based skin ailments including psoriasis, fungal and bacterial infections, and alopecia– but in the course of the last few years, it has also emerged as a dermatologist approved natural alternative to retinol, the popular wrinkle-reducing compound commonly used as an anti-aging treatment.
For general skincare, bakuchiol positively affects both collagen and elastin, helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin elasticity and firmness; its anti-scarring properties minimize discoloration from other sources, such as age spots. While Bakuchiol is still a relatively new ingredient on the market, it’s one of the only few retinol-like products to be backed up by clinical trials on effectively speeding up skin cell regeneration.
Sounds good, right? Well, according to a study in The British Journal of Dermatology, bakuchiol is not only as effective as retinol at targeting fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone; it’s also less irritating. Plus, unlike retinol, which can make skin more sensitive to the sun (always make sure to wear SPF during the day), bakuchiol actually helps to make skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays.