Why Is A Retinol Alternative Even Needed?
Retinol/retinoids have been considered the gold standard in topical skincare for their ability to help improve acne conditions and visible signs of skin aging. Unfortunately, retinol/rretinoids can be irritating for most people and when skin experiences irritation, no matter how temporary, this can and often accelerates skin aging. Beyond the notorious side effects of peeling, flaking and aggressive inflammation that are often a part of people's experiences with these vitamin A derivatives, there are also well-known risks of birth defects when used by pregnant women. There's been enough of a concern and talks of a potential ban of retinol products in the EU that the EU's Scientific Committee On Consumer Safety have come out to say that a retinol concentration of up to 0.3% in skincare products is most likely safe to use. However, the United States still allow the 1% version. Another issue many people have with retinol is that although there are vegetarian/vegan sources called carotenoids, retinol is often derived from animal sources. These, among other reasons, have many seeking to find effective retinol alternatives.
The Proven Alternative
This is where bakuchiol comes in. While many have claimed other naturally-derived ingredients to have retinol-like benefits, bakuchiol is the only one that has been shown in multiple studies to be a true alternative to retinol in terms of providing comparable (if not better) results.
In a study from the International Journal of Cosmetic Medicine, it was found that bakuchiol is "a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects." It was observed in the research that after 12 weeks of treatment, the subjects showed significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage. All of this without usual undesirable effects often associated with retinol therapy. Beyond these effects, bakuchiol was also found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties.
The British Journal of Dermatology published an independent clinical study that used computer analysis to measure results of bakuchiol and retinol on reduced wrinkle surface area and computer analysis plus a dermatologist's analysis to measure hyperpigmentation reduction. It was found that both bakuchlol and retinol produced comparable results. However, subjects who used retinol experienced signs of irritation that included burning sensations and peeling while subjects who used bakuchiol did not experience signs of irritation or photosensitivity.
In a 2014 study, it was found that there are similarities in how bakuchiol and retinol trigger and affect genetic cell pathways. It was also found that both bakuchiol and retinol stimulated and created several types of collagen crucial to skin structure in cell studies.
The same researchers in a different study found that bakuchiol was better than retinol at slowing down the activity of two matrix metalloprotease enzymes. These are enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, MMO-1 and MMP-12 and cause skin to sag and lose firmness.
Bakuchiol can penetrate to work on multiple levels. It helps to even out the skin tone by reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation areas. It reduces the look of lines by signaling cells to make collagen, making skin appear plumper and smoother. It helps to promote healthy cell regeneration for a smoother and more refined skin texture. Bakuchiol is not only as effective as retinol at addressing multiple skin concerns, it is more stable and offers much less risk of irritation, stubborn dryness, and photosensitivity. In fact, bakuchiol actually helps make skin less sensitive to environmental and sun damage.
The results from bakuchiol studies have created much excitement among dermatologists and researchers and because of this, this ingredient has been marketed in several products. Unfortunately, a few have done so irresponsibly by putting bakuchiol on their labels and claiming bakuchiol benefits without actually using true bakuchiol. True bakuchiol is is a highly purified active ingredient extracted from both the leaves AND seeds of the Babchi (Psoralea Corylifolia) plant and have been tested to show safety and effectiveness at the clinically demonstrated level (between 0.5 and 1.0%). Please use caution when you see "bakuchiol" high on an ingredient list or if you see it listed on the ingredient list as Babchi Oil or Psoralea Corylifolia (Babchi) Seed Oil. Even though the front of the packaging may say otherwise, these are often not true bakuchiol.
One of the biggest concerns is that babchi seeds have significant amounts of psoralens which are highly photoxic for the skin. Without proper purification, they naturally contain photomutagenic and photocarcinogenic compounds and may also have high amounts of residual solvents such as hexane.
We take the health and beauty of your skin seriously and base the ingredients we use on studies of efficacy and safety. Lex and Jong sources bakuchiol straight from the producers - not from any third parties. As with all of our ingredients, we work to use each in formulations to harness its maximum beneficial potential and safety from clinical demonstrations for skincare you can feel good about. Experience bakuchiol in our Night Potion - Visible Renewal Repair Concentrate.