Bakuchiol, what is it?
A plant-derived skincare ingredient to help you take on the signs of ageing. From bakuchiol’s skin benefits to how to incorporate it into your routine, find out everything you need to know about this natural ingredient.
What is bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol is a vegan skincare ingredient found in the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. It is a potent antioxidant, visibly reduces skin discolourations from environmental exposure, and has a pronounced soothing effect on skin. Bakuchiol can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is why you’re seeing it in more skincare products. Bakuchiol has its roots in Chinese Medicine, and the latest research shows topical application has unique benefits for all skin types.
How does bakuchiol work?
Bakuchiol has soothing properties which help to comfort skin and minimise issues associated with sensitivity and reactivity. It is also a potent antioxidant and helps fight signs of ageing, such as fine lines and loss of firmness by targeting free radicals. Antioxidants also help to protect the skin from pollution and environmental stressors which can cause damage.
You may have seen bakuchiol acne skincare products. The soothing and calming properties of bakuchiol could help those with acne-prone skin in addition to skin that is beginning to show signs of ageing.
What does bakuchiol do?
Research has shown that bakuchiol has a range of anti-ageing benefits for skin. It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help restore firmness, refine skin texture and even out skin tone. Bakuchiol helps to calm skin making it a good option for those whose skin shows signs of sensitivity.
When paired with retinol, bakuchiol can help stabilise it and keep it effective for longer. Another benefit of using products that contain both bakuchiol and retinol is that bakuchiol’s calming ability may enable skin to tolerate retinol in higher amounts.
How to use bakuchiol?
Skincare products containing bakuchiol extract should be applied to cleansed face and neck. Apply your products in the order of thinnest to thickest, so if your bakuchiol product is a lightweight serum it should be applied before your moisturiser. If using bakuchiol in the morning follow with a broad-spectrum SPF rated 30 or greater.
Should You Use a Bakuchiol Serum or Bakuchiol Oil?
Since an increasing number of skincare products contain bakuchiol, you’ll be relieved to know that the product texture doesn’t impact efficacy. What counts is the concentration of bakuchiol; research has shown that amounts between 0.5-2% are ideal to get visible benefits.
Choose a bakuchiol serum or lotion-like treatment if you want a lightweight formula that layers easily with other leave-on products in your routine. A bakuchiol oil is great for dry, dehydrated skin. If using a heavier oil-based formula, it should generally be applied at night, as the last step in your routine.
How to add bakuchiol to your skincare routine
Adding a bakuchiol product to your skincare routine is easy: apply once or twice daily after cleansing, toning, and using a leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant. If the product is a bakuchiol serum, apply before your moisturiser. If it’s a moisturiser with bakuchiol, apply after your serum. As mentioned above, a bakuchiol oil is best applied at night (or mix a drop or two into one of your favourite non-SPF skincare products each morning).
Is bakuchiol a natural alternative to retinol?
Bakuchiol is often said to be a natural alternative to retinol. This bakuchiol-retinol alternative connection is because bakuchiol follows some of the same skin-improving pathways; however, it doesn’t work exactly like this vitamin A ingredient. Retinol and bakuchiol can reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of ageing, and it’s perfectly OK to use a product that contains both.
How to do that? Usage would be the same as mentioned above for a leave-on product with bakuchiol. Combining retinol and bakuchiol delivers the overlapping and unique benefits of each, plus bakuchiol has a natural stabilising effect on vitamin A, not to mention its soothing properties can improve skin’s tolerance to various strengths of retinol.
During the day, finish with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. Bakuchiol is stable in sunlight and isn’t known to make skin more sun-sensitive but, as with any anti-ageing ingredient, daily UV protection is essential to getting (and keeping) the best results.
Using bakuchiol during pregnancy
Some online sources indicate that using bakuchiol during pregnancy is fine, stating it’s a great alternative to retinol, which isn’t advised for use when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
The problem? We don’t have safety data supporting this recommendation – bakuchiol is simply too new. On the upside, the chemical difference between bakuchiol and vitamin A is great enough that it’s reasonable to not expect any issues. Having said that, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, we advise checking with your health care provider before using bakuchiol products.
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