What Is Bakuchiol: Benefits And How To Use It

Written by Ramona Sinha

Whether it is about smoothing wrinkles and fine lines, boosting collagen production, or tackling acne and blemishes – retinol is the one-stop solution (1). However, it can be intense for many, especially those with sensitive skin. Enter bakuchiol – the natural, less irritating, plant-derived retinol alternative.
Bakuchiol has been a part of Chinese and Indian medicine for years. It has similar benefits as retinol, and it can be a go-to ingredient for anyone looking for a gentle alternative. This article discusses the benefits of bakuchiol and why it has the edge over retinol. Keep scrolling to learn more.

What Is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is extracted from the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, commonly known as the Babchi plant.

It has been a part of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal treatments for soothing inflammation, rashes, redness, and healing cuts. Compared to retinol, bakuchiol is less irritating. That is one reason many prefer this vegan alternative of retinol.

Bakuchiol At A Glance
What Is ItAn anti-aging agent (can be a retinol alternative)
The BenefitsReduces wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and acne and improves skin firmness and elasticity
Suitable ForAll skin types, especially sensitive, rosacea, eczema, and atopic dermatitis-prone skin
Frequency Of UsageTwice a day – morning and night
Works Well WithIngredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, squalene, and PHAs
Avoid Using WithRetinoids, AHA-BHA products, and benzoyl peroxide

While both retinol and bakuchiol may give you the same results, they are two different ingredients. Let’s explore the differences.

Bakuchiol Vs. Retinol: Are They Similar?

No. Both are two different ingredients. Bakuchiol is a plant-derived ingredient, while retinol is a vitamin A derivative. Moreover, retinol and retinoids may cause dryness, peeling, and skin irritation, while this is not the case with bakuchiol.

The only similarity between the two ingredients is the results that they stimulate collagen production.

Bakuchiol and retinol or retinoids boost type I, III, and IV collagen in the skin. Like retinol, bakuchiol can significantly improve fine lines and wrinkles, reduce hyperpigmentation, boost elasticity and firmness, and function as an anti-aging ingredient (2).

Studies confirm that 0.5% bakuchiol cream and 0.5% retinol cream give similar results in reducing hyperpigmentation (1).

Let’s take a look at the benefits of bakuchiol in detail.

The Benefits Of Bakuchiol

1. May Reduce Acne

Bakuchiol downregulates 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that increases oil production in the skin and, therefore, effectively prevents acne. It also inhibits the growth of P.acnes bacteria (4).

2. Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Bakuchiol can effectively reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and patches to give you an even skin tone (2), (5).

3. Reduces Signs Of Aging

Bakuchiol can boost collagen production to reduce wrinkles and fine lines and improve skin firmness and elasticity to give you youthful skin. Moreover, it is well tolerated by skin that is prone to eczema, atopic dermatitis, rosacea, cosmetic intolerance, and any other type of sensitivity (2), (3).

4. Helps Soothe And Heal Skin

One of the oldest uses of bakuchiol in Ayurveda and Chinese medication was to heal and soothe the skin. This ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties (6). It may help in calming skin redness and soothing rashes.

Bakuchiol is available as creams, lotions, serums, and oils. Among all forms, serums and oils are the most preferred. If you are torn between which one to go for, find out in the next section.

Bakuchiol Oil Vs. Bakuchiol Serum: Which One To Use?

Serums have a lightweight formula and a lotion-like texture that gets easily absorbed into the skin. Moreover, you can easily layer them with other skin care products. If you have oily and combination skin, or if you want to use bakuchiol with other skin care products, go for a serum.

Oils, on the other hand, are heavier than serums. They are best for dry skin. If you have dry skin and want to use bakuchiol at night, go for an oil-based formula and use it as the last step of your skin care routine.

Here are a few more tips for incorporating bakuchiol into your beauty routine.

How To Use Bakuchiol

1. Do A Patch Test

It is always recommended that you do a patch test on your skin before incorporating it into your skin care routine. Do this especially if you have skin issues and sensitive skin. Moreover, the product you are using may contain other ingredients you might be allergic to.

2. Use It Twice Daily

Use bakuchiol products during the day and night. To keep your skin protected during the day, you can layer it with sunscreen and other skin products. For nighttime, you can use a heavier formula like an oil-based product.

3. Find The Right Percentage

To ensure that your bakuchiol product has the most impact on your skin, check the percentage of the ingredient. Ideally, the percentage of bakuchiol should be between 0.5% and 2% for the maximum and visible results.

4. Combine With Other Correct Skincare Products

You can use bakuchiol products with other hydrating creams, serums, and lotions. Use it with products that contain hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide. This will provide your skin with additional hydration to keep it soft, plump, and youthful.

Although bakuchiol goes well with all skin care products, it is better to avoid it using with leave-in products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). However, you can use bakuchiol after using AHA-BHA cleansers. Also, avoid using it with retinol as both ingredients work in the same way and may irritate the skin.

Let’s take a look at the side effects of using bakuchiol.

Side Effects Of Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol is a relatively new ingredient in the skin care world, and so far, there is no known side effect. It is also considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. Always consult a dermatologist before introducing a new ingredient to your skin care routine, especially if you are pregnant or undergoing treatment for a skin issue.

Switch Or Not?

Bakuchiol is definitely a relief for all those who have wanted to use retinol but couldn’t due to sensitivity. With regular usage, bakuchiol can boost your skin firmness, make it bright by reducing pigmentation, and help maintain a youthful look. However, if your skin is comfortable with retinol or retinoids, there is no need to switch right away unless you are curious to give it a try. Since it is a relatively new ingredient, always consult a dermatologist before using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bakuchiol safe for use during pregnancy?

Yes. However, it is better to consult a dermatologist before using it during pregnancy.

Can you use bakuchiol with retinol?

It is better not to use two ingredients that have the same effect on the skin.

Can bakuchiol be used around the eyes?

Yes, you can use bakuchiol around your eyes.


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Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.