This Ingredient May Be the Natural Anti-Aging Alternative to Retinol

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This Ingredient May Be the Natural Anti-Aging Alternative to Retinol
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If you're still having a hard time pronouncing "bakuchiol," let alone spelling it from memory, there's still a reason to get excited every time you see it pop up on a skincare product's ingredient list (which is quite a lot these days). For as much as a tongue-twister it is, bakuchiol reaps some seriously intriguing anti-aging benefits for sensitive skin.

Touted as nature's retinol, the ingredient — which is found in the seeds and leaves of the Asian plant Psoralea corylifolia — acts nearly identical to the vitamin A derivative, but comes without the common irritating and drying side effects.

What Are the Skincare Benefits of Bakuchiol?

Like retinol, bakuchiol offers a handful of skincare benefits, including soothing redness and irritation, and minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven texture.

And there's date to back up the ingredient's anti-aging benefits. A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that applying bakuchiol twice a day for 12 weeks resulted in significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and firmness.

How Is Bakuchiol Different from Retinol?

"Bakuchiol does not chemically resemble retinol and retinoids, but it is shown through lab studies, genetic expression, and clinical application to the skin to induce many of the same anti-aging changes as the vitamin A derivatives we as dermatologists have loved for decades," explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm.

This means bakuchiol has been shown to improve the appearance of skin texture, photo-aging, and wrinkles, as well as rejuvenate the expression of collagen in the skin. And as we mentioned before, Dr. Palm says that it also tends to create less dryness, redness, and irritation compared to retinol, making it ideal even for those with dry or rosacea-prone skin.

Another major difference to retinol? It's stable to the effect of light and oxidative stress — because of this, it might actually be able to stabilize retinol so that both ingredients can work together in synergy for better results. But even though it causes less irritation and doesn't break down under light, Dr. Palm still suggests using a serum or cream with bakuchiol at night and only once in 24 hours.

"As nighttime skincare can exploit the increased skin absorption, temperature, circulation, and reparative mechanisms, evening application of bakuchiol is ideal to help with skin rejuvenation," she explains.

There are many popular skincare products that contain the retinol alternative, but bakuchiol is most commonly found in serums. Let us take you through our faves.

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The Best Bakuchiol Serums to Add to Your Skincare Routine

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Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

First, Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum. In addition to smoothing skin, this serum contains PHAs (polyhydroxy acids), which are another type of buzzy ingredient that are gentle alternatives to other chemical exfoliants. These acids gently exfoliate and hydrate to improve overall texture.

02 of 05

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

Thanks to squalane and hyaluronic acid, Biossance's Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum hydrates and plumps skin on top of treating signs of aging.

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Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil

Omorvicza Miracle Facial Oil

Omorovicza's Miracle Facial Oil contains a blend of essential oils that work in tandem with bakuchiol to keep skin moisturized, firm, and smooth.

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ISDIN Melatonik 2-in-1 Night Serum

ISDIN MELATONIK 3-in-1 Night Serum

ISDIN's Melatonik 2-in-1 Night Serum is also formulated with another buzzy ingredient: melatonin. In skincare products, it protects against free radicals from UV and pollution. Vitamin C works as a backup by providing further defense against fine lines and wrinkles.

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Beautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum

Beautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum

Beautycounter's Countertime anti-aging line is built around bakuchiol as a hero ingredient. Included in the lineup is the standout Tripeptide Radiance Serum. A lightweight product that strengthens the skin's barrier for an overall more hydrated, smooth, and glowy complexion.

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