Bakuchiol (pronounced buh-COO-chee-ol) is a dynamite ingredient that has been making an appearance in many antiaging, acne-fighting and brightening skin care regimens. It makes sense, as bakuchiol has the ability to drastically decrease skin pigmentation, accelerate the cell turnover rate, reduce inflammation and promote elasticity. It’s also antioxidant and antibacterial, which means it packs a punch in the fight against acne.
Bakuchiol is a botanical analogue to retinol with a nontraditional extraction process. The oil is extracted from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia, more commonly known as babchi, which grows primarily throughout India. It is synthesized through a scientific method called isolation, meaning that the purest form is extracted from the natural source. Although bakuchiol was first extracted in 1966 and synthesized in 1973, it didn’t make its way into topical products until 2007.
Understanding bakuchiol and exploring its many benefits will allow us to better understand its role in mainstream skin care. In order to succeed, spas must appeal to a generation of clients looking for gentler, natural skin care formulated with vegan alternative ingredients; bakuchiol makes that possible while also delivering high-quality treatments and results.
Bakuchiol vs. Retinol
Most spa professionals already know that bakuchiol is a natural alternative to long-time skin care powerhouse, retinol. It doesn’t have any of the potential negatives associated with vitamin A treatments, so it’s especially helpful for clients who are not retinol candidates or have a low tolerance to retinol or its derivatives.
Some may consider bakuchiol and retinol interchangeable ingredients since they have very similar skin benefits, however, there’s a reason why bakuchiol products have stolen the limelight in recent years. Fat-soluble vitamin A is great for fighting signs of aging, but it often has side effects like redness and sensitivity. Bakuchiol, on the other hand, promotes cellular turnover without those side effects.
Cherie Dobbs is president and CEO of Dermastart Inc. A registered esthetician and creator of ClearChoice, Prana SpaCeuticals and Menza Skin Care, Dobbs researches and formulates cutting-edge, active cosmeceutical ingredients in the correct molecular structure for clinical efficacy.