Bakuchiol or bioretinol, the natural anti-aging active ingredient

Also known as vegan retinol or bioretinol , bakuchiol has anti-aging, depigmentation, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and above all it is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from pollution and free radicals. In this article we tell you everything about this natural active ingredient that already competes with retinol as the star anti-aging ingredient in cosmetic formulas.

Although bakuchiol and retinol are different molecules with a different chemical structure, the former targets cellular pathways similar to those of retinoids, which is why their effects are similar. In addition, unlike retinol, it is a natural active ingredient without risks for the skin.

Bakuchiol: what is it

Bakuchiol is a purified phenol meroterpene (chemical compound) found primarily in the seeds and leaves of the Indian medicinal plant Psoralea corylifolia (babchi), traditionally used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, although it is also obtained from other plant sources. The name bakuchiol comes from the Sanskrit name for the plant: Bakuchi or Babchi.

Bakuchiol was not isolated until 1966 and only in recent years has it begun to be used more widely in the cosmetic industry. For this reason, the research is very recent and there is not much of it yet, but it will increase in the coming years.

Today it is known that it is a more than interesting compound to treat the following skin conditions:

  • Hyperpigmentation.
  • Wrinkles and expression lines.
  • Loss of elasticity and tone.
  • Dull and pale complexion.
  • Acne.

The fact that it is very well tolerated, even on sensitive skin, makes bakuchiol so interesting for skin care.

Of course, it is important to note that in order to ensure the effectiveness of bakuchiol in all of the above, the concentration cannot be less than 0.5% . Scientific studies have shown that a cosmetic will need to contain between 0.5 and 2% bakuchiol so that a real and visible result can be achieved. 

Bakuchiol and anti-aging

Bakuchiol stimulates collagen synthesis , which achieves an increase in skin thickness through more toned connective tissue, which prevents and corrects wrinkles. At the same time, it promotes cell regeneration of the upper layers of the skin ; which achieves shine and uniformity. It also reduces pigment spots . With continued use for several months, the skin gains firmness, elasticity, luminosity and freshness, resulting in a juicy and healthy complexion, with the most unified tone.

Other benefits of bakuchiol

In addition to the above anti-aging properties, bakuchiol is an antioxidant , meaning it increases the resistance of cells to oxidative stress.

It is also a depigmentant , since it interferes with the synthesis of melanin at different levels.

It is antimicrobial , as confirmed by some studies, in which its role as a fungicide has been demonstrated.

Finally, it is anti-inflammatory : it reduces inflammation, making it useful in skin diseases such as acne. It is already being used in acne treatments, as a safer and more harmless option than the current star anti-acne ingredient, salicylic acid. The active ingredient remains active in all four phases of the acne process: it minimizes the accumulation of comedogenic material in the pores, counteracts excessive sebum production, has anti-inflammatory properties and has a positive effect on pigmentation related to inflammation.

Some additional benefits of bakuchiol to keep in mind are:

  • It is well tolerated with other active ingredients, so there are practically no restrictions on simultaneous use with other cosmetics. It is only advisable not to use enzymatic or acid peels.
  • Being a plant-based ingredient, it can be used by people looking for vegan cosmetics.
  • There are very few cases of allergic reactions to this active ingredient, according to available scientific studies.
  • It has good photostability, which means that the active ingredient does not lose its effectiveness or disintegrate under the action of UV radiation.

Bakuchiol vs retinol

Retinol is a powerful anti-wrinkle agent that in recent years has represented a true revolution in facial rejuvenation .

Being a synthetic but extremely effective version of vitamin A, retinoids offer numerous benefits in anti-aging treatment, but should be used with caution: they are not suitable for sensitive skin, as they often cause irritation and are photosensitive, they can cause a reaction phototoxic on the skin.

Unlike retinol, bakuchiol, in addition to being well tolerated by skin (even sensitive skin) and does not cause irritation, is not a photosensitizer like retinol , which means that you can use it at any time of day and be exposed to the sun. , without that posing a risk. Retinol, on the other hand, is usually used at night because it is photosensitive. Also, as mentioned before, bakuchiol is antimicrobial and retinol is not. Bakuchiol can be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, while retinol is contraindicated.

The future of bakuchiol

The anti-aging duo retinol + bakuchiol may have huge potential. Bakuchiol acts as a natural stabilizer for retinol, which itself is very unstable, and can also improve the skin's tolerance to retinoids of different strengths, thanks to its calming effect.

In research carried out, the effective percentages of bakuchiol range from 0.5% to 2.14%, while retinol (which is regulated by cosmetic legislation) can be used at a maximum concentration of 0.3%. Furthermore, in one of the studies in which both active ingredients are compared and which concludes that their effectiveness is similar, bakuchiol was applied twice a day while retinol was applied once a day. All of this means that a larger amount needs to be applied, but it makes up for its additional benefits and high safety.

Despite everything, more long-term studies are necessary, especially regarding its antiproliferative effect: recent studies indicate that bakuchiol acts in the regulation of certain tumor pathways, reducing cell proliferation and this molecule is being investigated in the prevention of skin cancer.

Premium quality cosmetics with bakuchiol

Our Youth anti-aging cream contains 0.5% bakuchiol, which is added to other very promising natural active ingredients in the area of ​​facial rejuvenation, such as CBD , melatonin or gatuline . It is important to opt for premium quality cosmetics that have laboratory reports, as is the case with Phexia (this is the Youth laboratory report ), so that it can be verified that the concentration is adequate to guarantee the desired result.


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