Disclaimer : This page contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.Bakuchiol is a phytochemical which means it’s derived from plants (the babchi plant). I’m seeing it pop up in the medical literature in varying uses- anti cancer, anti oxidant, anti aging- it’s all there. It’s a functional analog of retinol meaning it actually has the exact same effect as retinol topically in studies with one huge advantage- it’s less irritating because it’s also an anti inflammatory agent. I’ve seen it in studies for breast cancer research, psoriasis agents, and anti aging preps. I’m really looking forward to seeing it used widely because the anti aging world has had very few new products that actually work to increase gene activity for collagen production when used topically.
Retinol and tretinoin have been around for decades. They have clearly caught on but people can still struggle with irritation from this ingredient. Also, when considering how many people also have rosacea and seeking anti-aging options- although retinol will help these patients, it can also flare their rosacea. I would love to see how bakuchiol use in this particular group of people will help give them the benefit of anti aging without flaring their rosacea. (I really wish it were a more consumer friendly name because it’s really hard for people to jump on effective trends with overly scientific names. I would love to just call it babchi:)
When it comes to products with bakuchiol, I’m a little frustrated by the lack of products that contain this ingredient exclusively. Most products I have come across will say they have retinol and bakuchiol. However, the ingredients have the exact same mechanism of action and in studies comparing them against each other the anti aging effects are identical separately with the benefit being that bakuchiol gives the same anti aging effect with less irritation. So, if a product contains both then what’s the point? I’m guessing that the bakuchiol is added but not to the same concentration as the retinol. I say this because many products will say the percentage of retinol but not of bakuchiol.
Bakuchiol exclusive products would be:
Do you see how they used the word ‘phytoretinol’? They are referring to bakuchiol. This is a retinol free product. Clearly the word bakuchiol didn’t have enough of a buzz or catchy sound to use that instead of the tried and true retinol:) They totally need a new name for this!:) they went with ‘phytoretinol’ to denote that it’s a different plant derived retinol. (Regular retinol is plant derived too, so...)
‘Retin-alt’- another great attempt to try to show it has an alternative to retinol. The alternative is bakuchiol!
These are the two main products that clearly specify that they are retinol free. There are more products that do contain bakuchiol but my concern is that many also contain retinol. Since the main niche of patients I tend to recommend this ingredient in particular for are my rosacea patients, I try to encourage them to seek the retinol free options to avoid the excess irritation that their skin cannot always tolerate.