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What is Bakuchiol? The natural Retinol alternative

20 August 2020

What is Bakuchiol? The natural Retinol alternative

The lowdown on the new kid on the natural skincare block

If we cosmetic scientists love anything, it’s an ingredient with a funky sounding name that actually works and has good solid data behind it. Enter bakuchiol (bak-coo-chee-ol), retinol’s younger hippy sister.

So, what is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is a pure active compound extracted from the Babchi plant. It is known as the natural alternative to Retinol. The Babchi plant is used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and is thought to have calming, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.


What does Bakuchiol do?

Whilst it has been around for a couple of decades, it has only in the last few years had independent clinical trials run on it, with one study appearing in the British Journal of Dermatology. It has been shown to help with reducing the appearance of wrinkles, decreasing skin roughness, evening skin tone and texture, improving skin brightness and radiance, and providing protection against free radicals. It has also been shown to help with acne-prone skin, reducing the appearance of blemishes and comedones (blocked pores), as well as reducing redness and irritation. This wide range of properties makes it suitable for a variety of skin types as it addresses several different issues. Bakuchiol really is a one-size-fits-all, should-be-in-everyone’s-routine, superstar ingredient.

Bakuchiol vs Retinol

One of the big reasons Bakuchiol gets talked about so much (aside from all the amazing properties) is that when it was studied, it was tested against and compared to retinol (in a randomised, double-blind study – this means both the participants and study operators don’t know what formulation contains what). Retinol, dermatologist’s favourite and the best in class in terms of efficacy, a wide range of uses, and well-studied ingredients, looks like its being pipped to the post by Bakuchiol, the new kid on the block. In each study, Bakuchiol either matched or outdid retinol for performance and it comes with less of the negative side effects too.

Retinol is great but has a bit of a rep for temporarily causing skin dryness and irritation as it gets to work. It can also increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and cannot be used by pregnant women. When studied, Bakuchiol didn't cause any dryness or irritation (in fact it improved both) and it can safely be used at any time of the day, without having to worry about increasing sun sensitivity. Whilst it has the potential to be safe for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is still a relatively new ingredient, so it’s always best to wait until there’s more specific safety data, though at this point Bakuchiol has no known negative side effects.

What’s not to love?

Can Bakuchiol cause breakouts/purging?

Like any new ingredient to your routine, your skin may react a little upon first use. However, during all studies, there were no adverse effects reported and over a 12-week period 0.5% Bakuchiol helped to reduce the appearance of breakouts and redness. Some purging may be normal but should subside after 4 weeks.

How can I use bakuchiol in my routine?

Bakuchiol can be used both night and day and is easy to incorporate into your routine as there are no known ingredients that it may react with. There are currently three easy to use Bakuchiol products in the range. The 1% Bakuchiol serum is a light gel texture, great for oilier or more blemish skin types. The Firming Bakuchiol Eye Cream can help with improving skin texture and tone around the eye area, and the Toning Boost Moisture Cream is a gel-cream texture that helps to moisturise and give an even tone and texture. All products can be used night or day and alongside everything else currently in your routine.





Liberty from Team Revolution x


Liberty from Team Revolution x

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  • Revolution Skincare 1% Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum

    Discover Revolution Skincare


  • Revolution Skincare Bakuchiol Firming Eye Cream

    Discover Revolution Skincare


  • Revolution Skincare Bakuchiol Toning Moisturiser

    Discover Revolution Skincare


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