Skincare and skin health have been human concerns since society first started. So there are certain skincare remedies that have been around for thousands of years, and with good reason. And likewise, you should always be wary of “hot skincare trends” pushing you toward the latest manmade chemicals with dubious claims—as though we only just started working on our skin.
But bakuchiol isn’t new. And its effects are very real.
It may be becoming a 2020s skincare catchword, but modern medical science has known about bakuchiol since it was first isolated and named by scientists in 1966. And it’s been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for eons before then.
Touted as a “natural retinol,” properly extracted bakuchiol (along with its reverse-engineered laboratory versions) has a lot to offer. Here’s what Bradenton skincare enthusiasts should know before you dive in to bakuchiol.
Where Does Bakuchiol Come from?
Bakuchiol is a chemical compound found naturally in babchi, or psoralea corlifolia, a leafy, purple-flowered plant native to south Asia, including India. Bakuchiol is extracted from babchi seeds as well as leaves.
What Does Bakuchiol Do for the Skin?
Bakuchiol is both an anti-inflammatory and an antibacterial substance.
More specifically, bakuchiol affects the way your body produces collagen, a major factor in your skin’s youthful plumpness as well as its elasticity and durability. (Read more about collagen’s many benefits in our previous blog here.)
Bakuchiol acts on your retinoic acid receptors—the same receptors targeted by retinol—which actually regulate the way genes express in your skin cells. In other words, it stimulates and increases your body’s natural collagen production.
Is Bakuchiol the Same as Retinol?
While bakuchiol and retinol produce almost identical effects, down to the way they interact with your body’s DNA, they are not at all the same.
It might be surprising to hear, but bakuchiol’s chemical makeup looks nothing like retinol. So we may often compare the two, especially in terms of their skincare effectiveness and anti-aging properties, but it’s not really accurate to refer to bakuchiol as some version of retinol. They’re two different chemicals.
Moreover, while retinol products can have side effects like redness and irritation, bakuchiol has been shown to be both effective and gentle for all skin types.
Bakuchiol’s other appeal is that, unlike retinol, it originated as a plant-based product. So if you’re looking for retinol-like results that nevertheless don’t come from animal products, bakuchiol might be your solution.
Is Bakuchiol Really Effective?
Yes! And you don’t have to take our word for it. Medical science is very straightforward about bakuchiol’s anti-aging properties.
For instance, check out the results of this 2014 NIH study comparing bakuchiol to retinol: “After 12 weeks treatment [with bakuchiol], significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage was observed.”
To learn more, just ask your certified aestheticians at Bradenton’s Bellagena Med Spa and Skin Care Studio. We can tell you what bakuchiol can do for you, and point you toward the safe, effective, all-natural skincare products that provide legitimate bakuchiol results.