There are skin-friendly retinol alternatives to consider, like epidermal growth factor (EGF), vitamin A-rich oils (such as rosehip and bakuchiol), and AHAs and BHAs, which are great additional to retinol/retin-A or as replacements for summer. 

In this blog post we cover Bakuchiol!

Bakuchiol Serums- Retinol alternative

It’s great for sensitive skin types, rosacea, pregnancy and or people who just do not tolerate Retinol well, or if you just want to try something different. Summer time is also a time with a lot of sun exposure, when we might want to reduce retinol usage. An alternative would be gentler serums like this. But still very effective if used twice a day.

Bakuchiol is a plant-based (from Psoralea corylifolia) alternative to Retinol. It has retinol-based effects without the associated side effects. It is stable, safe for daytime use, and has low irritation and sensitization potential.

Bakuchiol has undergone clinical studies that show its anti-aging benefits.

A 0.5% Bakuchiol lotion was applied twice daily for 12 weeks shows a reduction in the look of fine lines and wrinkles:

Before Treatment vs After 12-week Treatment


A clinical study looking at bakuchiol’s impact on skin found it to be just as effective as retinol when it comes to nuking hyperpigmentation and fine lines. But – and here’s the seriously exciting part – bakuchiol testers experienced none of the soreness or irritation that is so often reported with retinol.

What is bakuchiol?

Derived from the seeds and leaves of Eastern Asia’s ‘babchi’ plant (officially the psoralea corylifolia plant), bakuchiol has been a mainstay in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese skin-healing treatments for centuries.

It’s long been loved for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties – the same characteristics that have led scientists to take a closer look at it in recent years.

While it doesn’t have the same make-up as retinol (it doesn’t come from vitamin A) bakuchiol’s effect on skin is remarkably similar hence the term ‘retinol alternative.’

What are the benefits of using Bakuchiol for your skin?

It’s been found to improve skin brightness, sort uneven skin tone, up plumpness, minimise enlarged pores, boost firmness, smooth out texture and lessen fine lines. In short, it offers all the same plus points as retinol – but with less risk of irritation.

In one study, researchers from California, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania observed the effect on 44 participants, giving them either bakuchiol or retinol to apply. After 12 weeks, both showed a reduction in wrinkles and hyperpigmentation but the retinol users reported more skin scaling and stinging. Another study showed it to be highly effective at treating acne.

Bakuchiol has been shown to activate a number of chemical pathways in skin cells that ultimately lead to improved collagen production, decreased collagen breakdown and reduction of melanin (pigment) synthesis. The overall net effect seems to be an improvement in fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation which are commonly associated with the natural ageing process of the skin.

Can bakuchiol be used for all skin types?

Yes! The magic of bakuchiol is that it’s tolerated by all. Whether you’re dry, dehydrated, oily or sensitive, you’re much more likely to get on with it than you are retinol.

Is bakuchiol safe during pregnancy?

One of the main issues with retinol is the fact it’s not advisable to use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding your baby. This applies to retinoids in all their forms including retinoic acid and Retin-A.

Certain studies have shown that taking vitamin A in high doses during pregnancy can be harmful to the unborn child. Similarly, retinoids taken orally (such as tretinoin) are known to case birth defects. While applying these topically in skincare hasn’t been proven to cause problems in pregnancy or breastfeeding, doctors recommend avoiding it.

So what’s the deal with bakuchiol? While some experts say there’s not yet quite enough evidence to confirm either way, most, rule it is perfectly safe to use while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding – offering a major advantage over retinol.

Smoothing Toner

Brilliant Massage & Skin,
Burlington, Vermont