Bakuchiol For Skin: Nature’s Retinol Alternative

Sharing is Caring

Bakuchiol is a natural retinol alternative that promises skin transformation without negative-side effects.

But let’s first start with a quick story.

It was 2016 and I was sitting across the table from a senior beauty editor of a well-known magazine. I was explaining the benefits of using our natural skincare line, instead of the conventional skincare filled with questionable ingredients.

I was passionate and naïve, expecting a no brainer, positive response to all the upsides of using healthy skin care products.

Her response to my innocent enthusiasm; “I don’t care if it burns my skin, I just want it to work.”

I did everything in my power to keep my jaw from dropping.

All I kept thinking was “millions of readers depend on you for skin care guidance, and that’s your stance on “caring” for skin?” Really?

That’s when I realized that the green beauty movement was up against more than just large conglomerates creating harmful personal care products. We were up against half a century of marketing and hundreds of millions of advertising dollars. And one message that has been so deeply engrained, that “beauty is pain.”

It took me some time to figure out what she meant by “burn”. It was when I began learning about retinol that I finally understood what she meant.

Most of us heard of retinol. It’s one of those well known “superstars” that has a long history of marketing and hype (circa 1950’s!) It’s infamous for being one of those ingredients our dermatologist recommends when visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and age spots become more apparent. We hear of horror stories of side-effects such as peeling, redness and sunburns. But that doesn’t deter us, because we would rather peel, burn and suffer than give our wrinkles the stage. Remember that ridiculous term, “beauty is pain”. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

But this blog isn’t going waste your time and tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t use synthetic retinol. A quick google search on the safety and side-effects and you can see why we’re not advocates.

We firmly believe that your skincare products should NOT compromise your health. Today, in 2020, we have a healthier, safer option than what’s been touted since the 1950’s.

Introducing Bakuchiol, a natural retinol alternative, without the irritation, photosensitivity and health concerns associated with traditional retinol products.


So What Exactly Is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol, pronounced “buh-koo-chee-all”, is a meroterpene isolated from the seeds of the Babchi plant, also known as Psoralea Corylifolia. The Babchi plant has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine for its various health benefits. However, the seeds are of most interest as they contain significant medicinal properties beneficial to the skin.


Clinical Data With Impressive Results:

A 12 week clinical study applying 0.5% Bakuchiol topically demonstrated a significant reduction in multiple signs of aging; reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving skin tone, elasticity and firmness. The study also confirmed that there are no irritating or photosensitizing effects to skin when using Bakuchiol.


5 Major Skin Benefits Of Using Bakuchiol:

1. Retinol-like activity. Reduces wrinkle depth and skin roughness.
2. Broad-spectrum antioxidant. Protects skin from environmental aggressors.
3. Collagen Stimulator. Improves skin firmness/elasticity.
4. Antibacterial properties. Targets acne/breakouts.
5. Visibly improves the overall look of skin without negative side-effects.


Bakuchiol And Babchi Oil Are Not The Same. Buyer Beware!

There is only one manufacturer of cosmetic-grade Bakuchiol. Extracts made from babchi seeds is not the same as Bakuchiol nor is it safe for topical application. Bakuchiol is is obtained through a monomolecular extraction from the Babchi seeds, where only one molecule is extracted, creating Bakuchiol with over 99% purity. Bakuchiol has to be purified to remove phototoxic phytocompounds to make it safe for skincare application. This pure Bakuchiol extract is used in clinical studies to demonstrate its retinol-like benefits.

However, a quick google search will show you that there are all sorts of extracts being sold as “Babchi Oil” or DIY Bakuchiol blogs telling you how to create your own extract. This is not safe for you or your skin and it surely will not have the same positive effect as the cosmetic-grade Bakuchiol.


1% Is The Maximum Recommended. More Is Not Always Better.

Speaking of safety, the maximum recommended percentage of Bakuchiol in a facial care product is 1%, a standard set by the manufacturer.

However, there are many products trying to one-up each other by going above this recommendation, without any regard to the safety-risk this poses to the consumer.

This creates an “apply at your own risk” scenario and increases the chances of a negative reaction. We do not subscribe to the business model of putting marketing before skin safety.


What Is The Difference Between Bakuchiol and Retinol?

Bakuchiol is derived from the Babchi plant and has a different chemical structure than retinol. Though structurally different, it is considered a true retinol alternative because clinical studies show that it functions similarly to retinol when applied to the skin. The upside is that Bakuchiol does not cause the same negative side-effects as retinol. Some of retinol’s most common side-effects include redness, irritation, dryness, and peeling.

One of the most concerning side-effects of retinol is that it causes photosensitivity, which means that skin becomes sensitive to sunlight and more susceptible to sunburn and sun damage. SPF can help protect you from UV-damage, however, many people do not use sunscreen in their daily routine or simply forget to, making them at risk of skin damage when using a strong treatment like retinol.


This Seems Too Good To Be True. What Are The Downsides To Bakuchiol?

Patience my friend. Bakuchiol does not deliver dramatic visible results overnight, which is actually better for the health of your skin.

The effects of Bakuchiol on the skin get better over time. So, a little bit of patience and consistency is all it takes for skin to reap the benefits.

Clinical studies show visible improvements in fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and elasticity starting at week 4, but most significant at week 12.


Is Bakuchiol Right For My Skin?

Bakuchiol is a wonderful option for anyone concerned with signs of aging. If you want to incorporate a natural treatment that will dramatically improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, elasticity and overall radiance, Bakuchiol is for you.

Bakuchiol is recommended for most skin types.

It is especially great for sensitive skin that cannot tolerate retinol or anyone looking for a healthier alternative, without the negative side-effects of synthetic retinol.

We always recommend patch testing to ensure skin compatibility. Everyone is unique in their response to skincare products, no matter how gentle or natural a formula is.


How To Use Bakuchiol:

Unlike retinol, Bakuchiol can be used during the day without concern for sun burn. However, we recommend incorporating it into your evening routine, when skin has switched over from defense mode to repair mode.

Bakuchiol can be safely used in tandem with other treatments like acids as it is known to play well with most skincare ingredients. However, skin reactions are more likely to occur when you overload your face with too many active ingredients. We always recommend airing on the side of “less is more” when it comes to the delicate skin on your face.


The Bottom Line

Bakuchiol is a gentler and healthier alternative to retinol.

And remember, not all Bakuchiol products are safe for skincare application, especially if they do not contain cosmetic-grade Bakuchiol.


Shop The Blog!


  • Botanic-A

    Retinol Alternative Treatment
    $90.00 Add to cart


Your skin protects you, and at the end of the day, you too should protect your skin.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are based on personal opinion and experience accumulated over the numerous years of being the in the natural skin care industry. The intent of this site is to present information and advice based on personal opinion and experience, and may differ with the experience of those reading this blog. The views and products expressed are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Enjoy the Read? Want to stay up to date on all things Modern Purist?

Sign up for our newsletter below!
We’ll even send you 10% off your first purchase as our little welcome gift!