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When it comes to skincare, there always seems to be a new and exciting super ingredient emerging every so often. And as of late, the latest buzzword is “bakuchiol.”
What is Bakuchiol?
A naturally deriving phenol from the Psoralea corylifolia plant, bakuchiol has long been used in Ayurveda and Eastern medicine. It’s a natural alternative to retinol, a vitamin A–based chemical that helps to smooth the look of the skin by combatting blemishes, promoting skin cell turnover, and stimulating the synthesis of collagen. But because of this activity, retinol tends to come with various side effects, including redness, irritation, stinging, peeling, and dryness.
Bakuchiol possesses similar properties as retinol but without the level of harsh side effects that retinol often comes with. Bakuchiol works by stimulating skin cell turnover, similar to retinol. Through this process, bakuchiol can work to smooth wrinkles and fine lines and improve overall skin tone. It also offers some protection from damage done by free radicals thanks to its antioxidant properties. 
Bakuchiol: Potential Anti-Aging & Anti-Acne Effects
What makes bakuchiol so exciting is its potential anti-aging effects. One study showed that participants exhibited significant improvement in wrinkles, elasticity, pigmentation, and firmness following a 12-week bakuchiol treatment protocol without the application of retinol. 
It should be noted, however, that this particular study didn’t directly compare bakuchiol with retinol. As such, it’s still difficult to determine with absolute certainty that bakuchiol is just as effective as a prescribed medical product. However, both studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that bakuchiol does have its place in the world of skincare.
Bakuchiol may also be effective in treating acne. One study found that the application of a 0.5% bakuchiol serum on the skin reduced the number of lesions on the skin as well as discoloration, that is often a remnant of acne that has healed. 
Further research is needed to determine the in-depth effectiveness of bakuchiol, as well as the potential side effects. There is still some risk of sensitivity with bakuchiol, though less pronounced than retinol.
To hedge against any side effects, it’s recommended to start off with small doses of bakuchiol, especially during the first few times of use. That said, the natural substance appears to show great promise, and an increasing number of cosmetics companies are capitalizing on this fact with their broader offerings of bakuchiol-based skin care products.
Bakuchiol Serums to Consider:
1.Chaudhuri, R.K. & Bojanowski, K., “Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects“, Int J Cosmet Sci. June 2014; 36(3):221-30. Times Cited: 118; Journal Impact Factor: 2.416.
2. Brownell, L., Geen, S., & Lee, W.L., “A Clinical Study Evaluating the Efficacy of Topical Bakuchiol (UP256) Cream on Facial Acne“, J Drugs Dermatol., March 2021; 20(3):307-310. Times Cited: 5; Journal Impact Factor: 1.464.
3. Adhikari, S., et al, “Antioxidant activity of bakuchiol: experimental evidences and theoretical treatments on the possible involvement of the terpenoid chain“, Chem Res Toxicol., September 2003 Sep;16(9):1062-9. Times Cited: 86; Journal Impact Factor: 3.739.