Move over Retinol.....

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Retinol has proved its worth in the skincare arena, hailed as the holy grail of anti-ageing heroes for enhancing collagen production, smoothing wrinkles, acne prevention and rejuvenating older skin, when applied as part of a regular night routine.

In my experience, while retinol-rich products have helped reduce my fine lines (a little) and increase overall skin smoothing (much more), it is very harsh, especially at the higher concentrations required to make a real difference. So harsh that it actually destroys the skin – especially the protective skin barrier layers, along with some of the fine lines. And if you have sensitive skin, the chances are you just cant tolerate retinol at all.


Leaves of  Psoralea corylifolia  or babchi plant

Leaves of Psoralea corylifolia or babchi plant

Enter Bakuchiol (#naturesretinol) the latest plant-based ingredient suitable for even the most sensitive skin and widely considered as a viable alternative to retinol. A phenolic antioxidant extract found in the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea corylifolia or babchi plant native to India and known for its soft purple flowers, studies suggest that bakuchiol helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles, improves pigmentation and boosts elasticity and firmness. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat numerous skin ailments including inflamed skin issues like eczema and psoriasis and while Bakuchiol bears no structural resemblance to retinol, it has been shown to work on similar pathways, resulting in multiple skin benefits.

Garden Of Wisdom Super Bakuchiol Serum

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Although there are many Bakuchiol oils on the market now of varying qualities, some with very low levels of Bakuchiol and others packed with residual solvents, I have been using Victoria Health’s Garden of Wisdom Super Bakuchiol Serum for the past month or so. According to Shabir Daya, pharmacist and co-founder of my go-to on-line resource, Bakuchiol contains the patented well-defined pure Bakuchiol oil, Sytenol® A - 100% pure Bakuchiol, a natural non-irritating alternative to retinol and retinoids. “The clinical trials were carried out on a patented well defined technology free from allergens and photo-sensitizers called Sytenol A. The clinicals used this at 0.5% in a lotion form and yet we use 1% in a serum form which is better absorbed into skin and double the strength!”

I have experimented with various retinol products in the past, most of which my skin just couldn’t tolerate, even at relatively low levels, but I am loving Bakuchiol. The oil feels quite dry in texture and my skin soaks it up and feels supremely smooth afterwards – and indeed the next morning (not said lightly I assure you!). What’s more, at £15.00/30ml, it is more affordable than most.

Kate’s Evening Skin Routine

Where possible, I cleanse my skin as early as possible each evening, then apply my bakuchiol serum and leave for some time before applying my night moisturiser and/or nourishing skin oil, depending on the feel of my skin and the weather. Interestingly, Daya also adds that as Sytenol® A is devoid of photosensitizers, Bakuchiol Serum can be used during the day unlike retinol which is know to cause sun sensitivity.

In essence, all the same plus points as retinol – but more natural and less risk of irritation. - and I can certainly vouch for that!

Available on line via Victoria Health.

Other Bakuchiol-rich choices

While I havent tried any of these myself, a few other Bakuchiol-rich products include:

  • Oskia Super 16 Advanced Nutri-Active Collagen Serum

  • Ole Henriksen’s bakuchiol-led Transform Plus Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum and Transform Plus Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème

  • Ren Clean Skincare Bio Retinoid Anti-Aging Cream