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Bakuchiol: the Natural Alternative to Retinol for Sensitive Skin

Posted by J'TANICALS Admin on
Bakuchiol is the retinol alternative for sensitive skin

Bakuchiol is the new wonder ingredient that performs in a similar way as retinol minus the side effects and drawbacks. A naturally derived and sustainable ingredient, found in the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, bakuchiol has been used in Chinese medicine for decades. Bakuchiol is suitable for all skins, even the most sensitive skin. Anti aging, skin tightening and  evening out skin texture are not usually associated with reaching for the natural skincare. It's more common to reach for topical retinol or retinoids. But bakuchiol is the new skin saviour in town and unlike retinol, bakuchiol is photostable meaning it can also be used in the day as well as at nighttime. Bakuchiol is becoming known as retinol’s super gentle sister that can work the same skincare magic to improve skin elasticity, treat fine lines, calm redness and treat breakouts all without the irritation. It’s the new go-to ingredient for anti ageing and can be included in the skincare for sensitive skin regime without the risky reactive response often experienced from the harsh side effects of retinol or retinoid.

Bakuchiol is derived from the seeds of the Babchi plant
Bakuchiol is derived from the seeds of the Babchi plant

How does retinol work?

Our skin cells, up until our 30’s, turn over every 28 days. After our 30’s the cell turnover slows down as part of the natural ageing process. Enter retinol! Retinol is just one of the different types of retinoids which is the umbrella term for all vitamin A derivatives.
So retinol is just a specific type of retinoid and one you can buy over the counter. Retinoids usually refer to stronger, prescription level products and are prescribed for more serious inflammatory skin disorders. So when we think of retinoid vs retinol it's important to remember both do a similar job of sinking into the skin to speed up cell turnover to reveal a smoother skin, reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while addressing pigmentation and reducing breakouts. The main difference lies in the strength of the retinoid and retinol is the strongest over the counter retinoid available.

Retinol skin care for sensitive skin

What does retinol do for skin and what are retinol skin benefits? We know retinol is a retinoid and some will say it's the best anti ageing skincare. It works not by removing dead skin cells as many other anti aging products do but by absorbing to a dermal level reducing free radicals to boost production of elastin and collagen for skin. At the same time retinol can help keep pores unclogged and even out skin tone.

Is retinol good for skin? Retinol is used to treat: 

  • Acne

  • Fine lines

  • Wrinkles

  • Uneven skin tone 

  • Large pores

  • Hyperpigmentation

Retinol for skin has its benefits but there are side effects to consider. Sensitive skin especially needs to consider these effects and review the best options to achieve the desired results. The side effects of retinol include:

  • Sensitising

  • Dryness

  • Irritation

  • Redness

  • Itchiness 

  • Peeling skin

In addition to this list of side effects of retinol, sunburn is another great risks of using retinol due to the sun sensitivity. That's why it is recommended to use retinol at night. Retinol is not recommended for pregnant women. 

Bakuchiol is the natural sister of retinol

Why bakuchiol is a great retinol alternative for sensitive skin

Sensitivity and a sensitized skin is a sign of a poor skin barrier function. See our blog on how to protect and care for your skin barrier. The main function of the top layer of the skin is to protect us from environmental stressors and maintain hydration levels. The more retinol used the more compromised the barrier function becomes says Mervyn Patterson from Woodford Medical. It is quite a common belief that due to retinol peeling skin, retinol thins the skin. This is actually not true, the skin's flakiness and retinol dry skin, a common side effect of retinol use, is not the same as the skin thinning. However, if wanting to avoid the side effects of retinol there is another choice and one to avoid any potential retinol damage to the skin barrier.
Bakuchiol is the natural alternative to retinol, sometimes even referred to as ‘the best retinol for sensitive skin. It is a vegan skincare ingredient that has pronounced calming and comforting effects on skin. Bakuchiol acne treatment is potent and effective when treating irritated and congested skin and there is no bakuchiol redness to deal with post treatment! It is a powerful antioxidant and can visibly reduce skin discoloration and pigmentation.
Like retinol, bakuchiol reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but without the sensitivity and reactivity. It is compared to retinol because it follows some of the same skin improving benefits like anti aging and firming. Bakuchiol is a totally natural skincare ingredient gentle, but with powerful results.

What does bakuchiol do for skin?

Bakuchiol is a great alternative for those with sensitive skin or those looking for a totally natural skin care option. It has powerful antioxidant and anti aging benefits, stimulating collagen to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, it improves firmness and evens out skin tone.

There are no known side effects to date but this is still a relatively new ingredient so there is little data. With that said, bakuchiol is a natural ingredient that supports the skin's barrier function so its reasonable not to expect negative issues.


About the author:

Frances Prescott

Frances Prescott is our J’TANICALS Beauty Expert. She is a leading makeup artist and facialist with over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She has worked on the faces of celebrities, models, sporting superstars and actors. She understands that a healthy skin is the best foundation for makeup. Having had a background as a nurse early in her career she has an awareness of health, wellness and lifestyle needing to be in balance before we even think of our skincare regime.

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