Is bakuchiol the new retinol?

Backuchiol has been getting a ton of buzz lately, often as an alternative to retinol, which many (including myself) have a tough time using without skin irritation. So how do the two ingredients stack up against one another? I turned to Joanne DeLeon, the regional trainer and skin therapist at Heyday. *side note: Heyday is my favorite spot for a quick and affordable facial when I’m in NYC or LA.

What exactly is bakuchiol and in what skincare products is it found?
Backuchiol is a compound derived from an herb commonly found in India called Babchi.  The botanical powers of Babchi have been used for ages in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat skin concerns and a whole host of other maladies. Today it’s gaining mainstream focus and can be found in creams, serums and oils – products that are applied to the skin and remain on the skin.

What exactly is retinol and in what skincare products is it found?
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A.  When retinol is absorbed by the skin, it reacts to natural enzymes in your body and becomes retinoic acid. Retinol seems to be in just about everything these days! It’s still best used in serums and creams that remain on the skin and is generally used at night due to photosensitivity.

How do the two ingredients compare in efficacy and who would you recommend which for?
Many studies have been released this year comparing the efficacy of Backuchiol to that of Retinol products.  Both chemicals interact with the skin’s cells in a similar manner (increased cell turnover and collagen production) resulting in minimized fine lines and a more even pigment to the skin.  Initial research gives these two products a “tie”.

It’s a huge win however for those people with more sensitive skin, rosacea, or an inability to use retinol products; users of Backuchiol don’t see the redness, increased sensitivity and flaking that is associated with Retinol products.  Additionally, the photosensitivity profile is different with Backuchiol so it can be used during the day.  You always want to wear sunscreen, though!  Backuchiol products are best for sensitive skin individuals or those who could not tolerate retinol.  Retinol is still a great player in the skincare game if your skin can tolerate it.

Is there anyone who should stay away from these ingredients?
Individuals who are pregnant, nursing or trying to get pregnant should consult with their physician before using either of these products.  It’s important to remember that more is not better with skin.  Be cautious of using multiple products containing ‘active ingredients’, start slow (use retinol or backuchiol once a week at first, slowly adding additional days), always listen to your skin and be patient!

Image: Vogue



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