Retinols are a holy grail for anti-aging benefits, which include minimizing fine lines and hyperpigmentation and increasing firmness and elasticity in the skin. It’s been the gold standard in anti-aging and one of the best ingredients to add to your skincare routine, but not everyone can use retinol. Retinol is an ingredient that can cause peeling, redness, sensitivity, tingling, and in some cases, a burning sensation.
Many of these signs dissipate over time when your skin becomes accustomed to using retinol products, while some symptoms only flare up at certain times.
I have introduced retinol into my routine slowly with excellent results. Still, someone with very sensitive skin, pregnant, or breastfeeding, may be interested in alternatives to using retinol in a skincare routine.
One plant-based alternative shows similar results without irritation to the skin.
Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative
One possible substitute for retinol is bakuchiol, one of the more prevalent alternatives studied compared to retinol. Bakuchiol is a natural plant-based ingredient found in the leaves and seeds of a plant called Psoralea corylifolia. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce skin discolorations and inflammation and soothes the skin. It’s an herb that has a history in Indian and Chinese medicine in treating skin. Bakuchiol stimulates collagen and is beneficial to many different skin types.
What skin types benefit from using bakuchiol?
Oily and Acne Skins
Bakuchiol is anti-bacterial, which is excellent for skin prone to breakouts, and the soothing properties will help reduce inflammation that may occur from acne skin. Some acne products on the retail market include bakuchiol in their product lineup for all these benefits.
Compromised Skin barrier
Skin with a compromised barrier can benefit from using bakuchiol products as they are gentle and non-irritating to the skin while giving your skin the benefits of a powerful antioxidant.
As an anti-aging ingredient and botanical extract, bakuchiol has some of the same benefits as retinol, like improving the loss of firmness, elasticity, discoloration, and texture. As an antioxidant, bakuchiol helps to protect the skin from the sun, air pollution, and other stressors that can cause damage to our cells.
How to use products that contain bakuchiol
When using bakuchiol products, like a serum, lotion, or moisturizer, you will want to use them on cleansed skin and apply them sparingly at first. If you have oily skin, consider using a lotion instead of cream when purchasing a moisturizer.
Products that contain bakuchiol are easy to travel with as you can use the same cream morning or evening because the ingredient does not cause the skin to be photosensitive.
If you want to brighten dull skin and soften some signs of aging, adding bakuchiol into your daily routine will give you results if used consistently.
Bakuchiol is known to be a good alternative for even the most sensitive skin types.
If pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor when using any new topical skincare product.
Benefits of using bakuchiol as a retinol alternative
Bakuchiol may be a good alternative for you if you live in a sunny environment, as it’s not known to make your skin more sun sensitive. I still recommend wearing an SPF while using this and any ingredients in your products, as SPF is the best defense against aging due to the sun.
Some people will start retinol, stop it, and never return to using it because of adverse effects. Fewer people have irritation from using bakuchiol, and they will hopefully use anti-aging products for an extended period and have a more consistent routine to gain all the benefits from this potent antioxidant skincare ingredient.