What is Bakuchiol and Why it's Taking Over the Skincare Industry
Bakuchiol has been gaining a lot of traction in western skincare over the last little while, you may have seen a lot of your favourite skincare brands launching products with it. But it’s nothing new, it has actually been used for hundreds of years to treat various skin issues in other parts of the world. Now the real question – what is bakuchiol and what does it do?
What is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is photochemical that’s commonly extracted from the seeds of the babchi plant (Psoralea corylifolia) and has been used for hundreds of years in eastern medicine to help treat various skin issues. (P. S. Khushboo, 2010) Bakuchiol can be found in other plant sources but the babchi plant is one of the most common – the plant itself has been pharmacologically studied for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties but today we’re focusing on one aspect – bakuchiol and your skin. (Sivamani, 2018) (Dereure, 2019) (David J. Goldberg MD Deanne Mraz‐Robinson MD Corinne Granger MD, 2020)
What does Retinol or Bakuchiol even do?
Let’s start with Retinol, which has a significant amount of research to back it up. There is a reason that this is a beloved skincare ingredient, even by dermatologists. It’s a powerful anti-aging agent that improves the look of fine lines, wrinkle and helps with pigmentation (like sunspots and old blemish spots/discolouration). It’s also well known as an acne treatment by increasing cell turnover, improves skin texture and has pore-clearing abilities. Now, before moving onto bakuchiol let’s not forget to mention that this is comparing retinol to bakuchiol -- not comparing the prescription version of vitamin A/retinol, like Retin-A.
The excitement around bakuchiol is that (so far) it has shown great promise for giving similar results as retinol but without the side effects like scaling or peeling, stinging, pruritus, redness, and sensitivity. For example, in a randomized, double blind study done in 2018 comparing bakuchiol and retinol for its anti-aging properties, bakuchiol came away with one key advantage. Participants in the study were between 31-56 years old, one group used 0.5% retinol at night for 12 weeks and one group used 0.5% bakuchiol twice a day for 12 weeks. Both had similar results, but with one major difference: The group that used bakuchiol experienced less side effects than the retinol group. So to break it down here is a direct comparisons:
- A lot of good research and evidence to back it up, good for anti-aging, improve hyperpigmentation, blemishes, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
- may cause peeling, stinging, redness, itchiness, photosensitivity, increased skin sensitivities, should not be used during pregnancy or breast feeding, and isn’t stable when exposed to UV – only use it at night.
- Good for anti-aging, improve hyperpigmentation, blemishes, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, is more tolerable than retinol. MIGHT be safe to use during pregnancy and breast feeding but consult your OBGYN/Doctor before using. Can be used during the day. Good option for those who can’t use retinol.
- Relatively new ingredient in western skincare so more research and evidence is welcome. Since it is a naturally derived ingredient some people might be allergic to it.
Bakuchiol looks really promising and is especially exciting for those that want results like retinol but without the side effects. If you’ve been using retinol, you might be thinking -- do I need to choose between the two? Unlike other active -- so far it looks like the two ingredients get along with each other. There are some products (even ones created and owned by dermatologists) with both retinol and bakuchiol in them. Whereas some people will alternate bakuchiol and retinol or even Retin-A every other day or use bakuchiol in the morning and retinol at night. It really comes down to listening to your skin, what you’re comfortable using and what (realistically) results you’re looking to get out of your skincare routine. Is it blemish care? Anti-aging? Texture? Even tone? You get to choose and find the product that works for you. It can be a little overwhelming but when you find something that works for you, it’s so very satisfying.
As always, for questions regarding your skin, it is always a good idea to seek the professional advice of a dermatologist.
Asgard Products with Bakuchiol:
Normal – Dry, Sensitive, Mature skin – antiaging, pigmentation:
All skin types – Blemish prone, Pore care, Anti-aging, Pigmentation:
Normal – Oily, blemish prone, brighten:
Bojanowski, R. K. (2014). Bakuchiol: a retinol‐like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti‐aging effects. Retrieved from Wiley Onine Library : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ics.12117
David J. Goldberg MD Deanne Mraz‐Robinson MD Corinne Granger MD, M. (2020). Efficacy and safety of a 3‐in‐1 antiaging night facial serum containing melatonin, bakuchiol, and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate through clinical and histological analysis. Retrieved from Wiley Online Library : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.13329
Dereure, N. R.‐P. (2019). A new case of contact dermatitis to bakuchiol in a cosmetic cream. Retrieved from Wiley Online Library: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cod.13387
Michael David, E. H. (2012). Adverse Effects of Retinoids. Retrieved from Springer Link : https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03259940
- S. Khushboo, V. M. (2010). NCBI. Retrieved 2020, from US National Library of Medicine. National Health Institute: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249905/
Sivamani, S. D. (2018). Prospective, randomized, double‐blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Retrieved from Wiley Online LIbrary: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjd.16918