• Sweet Skin Rituals

Ingredient Highlight: Bakuchiol

A buzz word? A miracle anti-aging plant? What is this special plant that is popping up all over the beauty scene? And most important, is it too good to be true or is it here to stay?

The first I heard of bakuchiol was when Beautycounter launched their anti-aging line called Countertime. Touted as the botanical version of retinol, clinical studies show it to have all of the same powerful benefits as retinol without the unwanted side effects. Some call it "Nature's retinol."

Retinol is part of the Vitamin A family. While we need this important vitamin, our bodies don't produce it naturally and we need to get it from the foods we eat. Different types of retinol include: retinal, retinoid, and retinoic acid. Retinoic acid was first used by dermatologists in the 1950's for acne, so its been around for some time. It's the most popular and beloved answer for com-batting aging skin and sun-damage. And for good reason---it works. Many, many studies have shown it be effective for acne, diminishing wrinkles, uneven texture, redness, and even hyper-pigmentation. However, there are some cons to it as well. Retinols can take time for your skin to adjust to, causing irritation, stinging, and redness until the transition period is over. This sensitivity to skin also means you have to build up a tolerance maybe starting with a serum of .5% and working your way up to 1% or 2%. And for any pregnant mamas out there, retinol is a no-go. Wearing retinol also makes you very sensitive to sunlight, so it can be applied only at night. While it has been proven to work and work well, retinol is still questionable to many because it is synthetic as well as the irritation annoyances I mentioned before. Thankfully, a new answer has dawned.

The Babchi plant is native to India and Sri Lanka, and has been used in Ayrvedic and Chinese medicine for a long time. The leaves and seeds contain a variaty of phytochemicals, including coumarins, flavinoids, and meroterpenes (including bakuchiol which is where the name comes from). The flower is a light purple color and fragrant.

In recent years it has been extensively studied as an alternative to retinol. Studies show bakuchiol has a different structural profile than retinol, but it does produce the same results on skin. One clinical study compared bakuchiol and retinol in a randomized, double-blind, twelve week study. "Forty-four patients were asked to apply either a bakuchiol .5% cream twice daily or retinol .5% cream daily." High resolution photographs were taken at 0, 4, 8, and 12 weeks. A board-certified dermatologist, not knowing about the study group assignments, looked at redness and pigmentation. The results were that both bakuchiol and retinol significantly reduced wrinkle surface area and hyper-pigmentation. There is no statistical difference between the two, other than retinol produced more facial scaling and stinging. The conclusion was that bakuchiol is comparable to retinol and is better tolerated!

So is bakuchiol a passing fad? I don't think so. In my humble opinion, its another blessing for the world of natural skincare. And it's not just for aging skin either. Bakuchiol can be used on every skin type, as it is gentle yet effective. In fact starting in your twenties is a great idea to keep your skin looking radiant. While it can be used during the day, it is also a good idea to especially use it at night as this is when collegen production happens, and only a little product (.5%) is need to be effective. Give yourself at least a month to start looking for results. It takes about 28 days for desquamation to take place, the process of dead skin cells sloughing off and new ones emerging from the layers beneath. Most clinical studies show that significant results appear after about twelve weeks of consistent use.

In case you aren't already convinced you want to start using it, lets recap all the fantastic benefits of using bakuchiol:

1) can be used to treat acne

2) improves photo-aging, such as surface wrinkles and sun spots (pigmentation)

3) improves texture (it aids in speeding up the rejuvenation process)

4) improves redness

What's not to love? Another cool thing worth mentioning is both natural AND conventional beauty brands are embracing it. Brands like Biossance, The INKEY List, Herbivore Botanicals, Dr Sam's, Beautycounter, Ole Henriksen, and Alpyn Beauty. And there's a price point that meets every budget.

I'm so excited for you to give bakuchiol a try. Of all the amazing antioxidant ingredients available to our skin nowadays, I think this one is definitely high on the list and worth investing in your present and future skin. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried bakuchiol or what your thoughts are on this "new" skin food. Thank you for visiting!

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