Bakuchiol Is the All-Natural Anti-Aging Alternative to Retinol
Bakuchiol has been shown to decrease wrinkles and hyperpigmentation without the dryness, redness, and sun-sensitivity associated with retinoids.
In the world of anti-aging ingredients, there are few that can compete with or compare to retinol, the undisputed gold standard among dermatologists. And for good reason: retinoids have been proven to be highly effective time and time again, helping to both speed cell turnover on the outer layers of the skin, while also stimulating collagen production in the deeper layers. Translation: Clearer, more even skin and fewer wrinkles. So why isn’t everyone and their mother using a retinoid? Largely because along with all of that potency comes the potential for some seriously irritating—and unsightly—side effects, namely redness, flaking, and dryness. It also breaks down when exposed to sunlight, not to mention isn’t safe to use during pregnancy.
That’s why bakuchiol is the latest anti-aging ingredient garnering lots of buzz. Derived from a plant native to India and Sri Lanka, it’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, despite the fact that it’s just now becoming a mainstream skincare ingredient. Why the lag time? Scientists have only recently discovered that it may be comparable to retinol. Despite the fact that the two have very different molecular structures, “bakuchiol has antioxidant properties that make it similar to retinol,” explains cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski. “This is what prompted scientists to investigate how the two would compare,” he adds.
The results? According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, bakuchiol and retinol had similar effects when it came to decreasing wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. “It’s hard to make conclusions about bakuchiol because this was a small study, but the evidence points to them being comparable,” Romanowski says. The big difference between the two? The newbie proved to be much less irritating. Couple that with the fact that it won’t break down in the sun and is generally safe to use during pregnancy (though it’s always a good idea to check with your doc) and bakuchiol is poised to give retinol a run for its money. Curious to give it a try? Find it in these five products.
Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum
Since bakuchiol won’t be rendered inactive by the sun, it’s totally fine to make it part of your daytime routine. Try this multi-tasking day serum, which does everything from fade dark spots to minimize pores. Plus, the subtle lavender tint brightens dull skin on the spot, perfect when you want a little instant gratification.
To buy: $58; sephora.com
Alpyn Beauty Plant Genius Moisturizer
This line relies on a whole host of plant-based active ingredients, so it’s no surprise that bakuchiol is one of them. It’s coupled with hydrating ceramides and squalane, which melts into skin, leaving it with a perfectly velvety finish. Oh, and it layers beautifully under makeup, too.
To buy: $60; alpynbeauty.com
Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
Bakuchiol is paired with uber-gentle PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) to help minimize wrinkles and exfoliate, leaving your complexion smooth and glowing. Bonus points for the very pleasing jelly-like texture and pretty purple hue.
To buy: $54; herbivorebotanicals.com
TwinMedix Pro:Refine Eye Corrector
The delicate skin around your eyes is thin and where signs of aging tend to show up first. Fight pesky crow's feet with this treatment that contains bakuchiol, hydrating sodium hyaluronate, and vitamin B5.
To buy: $35; twinmedix.com
Isdin Melatonik 3-in-1 Night Serum
Bedtime bakuchiol for the win. This p.m. powerhouse boosts elasticity and firmness, but the formula also helps undo the day’s damage. Melatonin and vitamin C fight free radicals caused by exposure to UV rays and pollution.
To buy: $160; isdin.com