Bakuchiol: What Benefits Does It Provide for Your Skin?

People have been searching for the fountain of youth for thousands of years. The quest for younger-looking skin has been equally as long. Many products have promised this benefit, with retinol being the go-to ingredient for anti-aging for decades. It is clinically proven to help, but it can be irritating for some. Recently, bakuchiol has entered the scene and shown great promise in helping skin look younger. Read on to learn how it can help you.

Key takeaways:

What is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is an extract obtained from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. This amazing flowering plant grows in parts of India, Pakistan, and China. Ancient Indian and Chinese practitioners have used bakuchiol for thousands of years. It has many uses, such as a diuretic and laxative. Some believe it can help with depression and menopause.

This plant also contains potent antioxidant compounds, which help protect the body, and other photosensitizing compounds, which treat skin conditions, like vitiligo. Recently, it has gained popularity for its potential anti-aging properties, such as improving wrinkles and removing brown spots.

Skin benefits of bakuchiol

Some studies have shown that bakuchiol works on the same receptors in the skin as retinol to increase cell turnover. Small studies have demonstrated equivalent efficacy to retinol without the irritation that retinol causes, but these studies are small and few in number. The results are promising, but more research is required.

These skin benefits include:

  • Increased cell turnover. This increased cell turnover will help remove brown spots and dull, dead skin cells to improve the texture and tone of the skin. Because bakuchiol is less irritating than retinol, even those with sensitive skin can gain its anti-aging benefits.
  • Increased collagen production. Bakuchiol increases the production of collagen and elastin to help fade fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Improved acne. Bakuchiol has been shown to help mild-to-moderate acne in some small studies. It works by exfoliating dead skin cells that clog pores and lead to acne. Bakuchiol may also fade dark spots left behind after acne heals.
  • Antioxidant protection. Bakuchiol is a potent antioxidant. It can scavenge up free radicals produced by the UV rays of the sun. By eliminating free radicals, bakuchiol may prevent collagen destruction that leads to fine lines and wrinkles.

In addition to these benefits, bakuchiol is vegan, so those searching for natural, cruelty-free products can safely use it.

Bakuchiol vs. retinol

While a few small studies have shown that bakuchiol offers equal anti-aging benefits to retinol, bakuchiol has the upper hand. It offered significant improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, elasticity, and firmness. Bakuchiol delivers these benefits without the irritation of retinol creams. Unfortunately, there are no studies comparing bakuchiol to retinol's stronger relative, retinoids. These retinoids, such as tretinoin and tazarotene, are available by prescription only because they are stronger than retinol and deliver superior results.

How do I use bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is available in different formulations, such as serums, creams, peels, and oils. The formulation selection is usually based on skin type:

  • If your skin is dry, use bakuchiol oil to give your skin extra hydration.
  • Bakuchiol serums work best for normal to oily skin because they are lightweight and absorb quickly so they won't make you look greasy.
  • People with normal to dry skin will benefit from bakuchiol creams which give some hydration without the heaviness of oil.

As with any new product, start slowly and build to twice a day. Begin by using it twice a week for two weeks, then three times a week for two weeks, then every night. Starting slowly will allow your skin to adjust to it with minimal side effects. Be sure to use moisturizer after applying bakuchiol. Sunscreen use is crucial to prevent sun damage. Any product that exfoliates the skin, like retinol or bakuchiol, can make it susceptible to sun damage.

How long until I see the effects of bakuchiol?

It takes time to see the benefits of any anti-aging product. No products work overnight. Consistency is key to reaping the benefits of any intervention. While there are not a lot of studies on bakuchiol, the ones available show visible results in 12 weeks. This is similar to retinol.

Side effects of bakuchiol

While most people can tolerate bakuchiol without any issues, side effects are still possible but less likely. Patients with sensitive skin are more likely to have an issue. These side effects include redness, dryness, stinging, burning, and peeling. If you have sensitive skin or are concerned, you can try a test spot first to see if your skin will tolerate it.

Who should not use bakuchiol?

Almost everyone can use bakuchiol. If you have sensitive skin, be careful with all products. Trying a test spot first is advisable. If you use other anti-aging products, such as glycolic acid or vitamin C, you may have to start slowly with bakuchiol. The combination of these ingredients may irritate the skin. Also, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should avoid bakuchiol since no studies have proven it is safe for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Bakuchiol is one of the newest ingredients to enter the anti-aging arena. Several small studies have demonstrated its promise, but the size and amount of the studies are limited. These initial benefits definitely warrant more research on bakuchiol. If you want to try it, talk to your dermatologist first so they can recommend the best products for you.

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