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Ingredients explained: Bakuchiol - same as retinol but without drawbacks
Leena Smirnov
Ingredients explained: Bakuchiol - same as retinol but without drawbacks

Retinol has been and remains the most popular, most studied, and most effective anti-age ingredient in cosmetology. Perfect as it sounds, retinol has unfortunate drawbacks.

Vitamin A: Nuances

Retinol has a lot of advantages. It fights inflammation, pigmentation, dry skin. It is simply an antioxidant and a powerful anti-aging ingredient. Retinol owes all these remarkable properties to faster cellular renewal, which speeds up the “supply” of young and healthy cells to the skin surface.

Despite all the properties of retinol, is has several nuances that make many green producers refrain from including retinoids (vitamin A and its derivatives) in their formulas.

Risks when used by pregnant and lactating mothers

At this point, there is information that prescription retinol has a teratogenic effect. For this reason, products with retinol should not be taken by pregnant and lactating women. To completely protect yourself, it is better to refrain from retinol six months before the planned pregnancy.

Risks of preservatives

The main challenge of manufacturers that produce products with retinol is its instability. As a result, strong preservatives are used for stabilization. These ingredients can lead to negative reactions. The most undesirable preservatives used in retinol products are phenoxyethanol (phenoxyethanol), sodium benzoate (sodium benzoate), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and butylhydroxytoluene.

Photo-sensitivity risks

Since all retinoids are unstable, retinol products are recommended to be used strictly in the evenings. Retinoic acid can lead to thinning of the outer layer of the skin, which in turn can provoke increased photo-sensitivity.


"Retinization" is a term that defines the period of an organism getting used to retinol. It usually lasts about four weeks. During this period, the skin may experience redness, dryness, peeling. In some cases, dermatitis occurs. Unfortunately, for some, the addiction period may not end: there are skin types that do not take retinol in principle. For those who have skin diseases, such as eczema, retinol products are not recommended at all.


Hello Bakuchiol!

What exactly makes retinoids so effective? It is their ability to convert to retinoic acid, which binds to receptors on the outer membrane of cells. Unfortunately, plant analogs of retinol do not possess this quality. Alas, vitamin A from rosehip oil does not turn into retinoic acid, so its effect is limited only by the antioxidant effect.

Not so long ago, scientists started talking about the Ayurvedic ingredient Bakuchiol, which, it turns out, can reproduce retinoid activity. This component is obtained from the seeds of Psoralea Corylifolia - a plant that grows in East Asia and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in India and China.

Bakuchiol has no structural similarity with retinol, but according to a 2014 study, it uses the same receptors as its more well-known competitor. Like retinol, it activates a gene that regulates the production of elastin and collagen types I, III, IV. Quote: “The results showed that after 12 weeks of using Bakuchiol, patients showed significant improvements in lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, resilience and a general reduction in photo-damage without undesirable effects associated with conventional retinol therapy.”

Another study concluded that Bakuchiol is "probably the only agent after retinoic acid that has shown to be effective against many features of acne." The very latest test results published in 2019 showed an even more interesting result. In a group of 44 people, retinol and Bakuchiol were given for 12 weeks. According to the results of testing, both showed positive results in terms of reducing the wrinkle area and hyperpigmentation. Bakuchiol showed 59% improvement and retinol showed only 44% improvement.

Taking into account that Bakuchiol is stable, does not cause photosensitivity and burning sensation, we can say that it won the recent tournament. The main trump card of psoralea seeds is the absence of side effects and the period of adaptation. Thus, the Ayurvedic ingredient enters the fight against retinol without preparation, sharply declaring its rights to the territory.


Interestingly, this rivalry is increasingly developing into cooperation due to the ability of Bakuchiol to reduce the oxidation processes caused by photosensitive retinol. This explains the proximity of the two ingredients in the formulas of some manufacturers.

Bakuchiol has a bright future in natural cosmetics. The appearance of such a component significantly expands the capabilities of manufacturers and is an incentive for the creation of effective anti-aging products. Unfortunately, to date, there are not so many pure products with Bakuchiol.

This article is a translation of https://consumerista.ru/bakuchiol-tot-zhe-retinol/

- Korean Kiwi Beauty

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