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Bakuchiol, aka the New Plant-Based Retinol Alternative

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

"Bakuchiol works as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, so it's ideal for those who suffer from dry, sensitive skin and can't tolerate a retinol," Engelman says. "The antibacterial properties of bakuchiol also mean that it's great for those with acne and oily skin."


Retinol vs Bakuchiol

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative — a highly-reactive molecule — used by dermatologists in various forms in order to treat skin conditions as well as to reduce the physical symptoms of aging. Retinol works by accelerating “skin renewal and [reducing] the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots for firmer, smoother and more evenly-toned skin.” While retinoid products improve texture, tone, skin moisture retention, sun damage,  pigmentation, and acne, they also have harsh side effects such as “burning, scaling, and dermatitis.” Plus, retinol has been shown to lose its effectiveness over extended usage meaning users will need to up the potency and amount the longer they use it.

How is bakuchiol better?

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While bakuchiol works in the same way, it’s not nearly as harsh. Bakuchiol has been shown “to turn over skin cells, making room for newer, fresher, better-appearing cells to come to the top.” Not only does bakuchiol regenerate skin, but “it also pushes collagen (a skin-strengthening protein) to the surface for more elastic, youthful-looking skin.” On top of that, bakuchiol has been shown to cause far less irritation and it’s naturally derived meaning “it’s a great option for those who shop vegan, clean, and in consideration of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis.”

A study comparing bakuchiol and retinol — published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science — discovered “significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage.” On top of that, the study showed that bakuchiol lacked the negative side effects of retinol “such as dryness and irritation.” Shop Our All Natural Skincare Today!

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