Rodan + Fields / Blog / Science of Skincare

Q&A: Answering Your Burning Bakuchiol Questions


Skincare savants have probably stumbled upon this ingredient in their research of the best new skincare formulations. Bakuchiol is a buzzy, relatively new ingredient on the skincare scene. And while skincare enthusiasts may be more aware of the benefits of Bakuchiol, the average consumer isn’t well versed in it and how it compares to Retinol. Here, we answer all of your burning Bakuchiol questions, from what exactly it is, to how natural it is to its benefits for your skin. It’s all the info you need to brief your friends on all things Bakuchiol in your next skincare discussion in the group chat.

Q: BTW: How do you pronounce Bakuchiol?

A: It’s pronounced buh-KOO-chee-al.

Q: What is Bakuchiol? Is it a natural ingredient?

A: It is! Bakuchiol is a plant extract whose skin benefits are comparable to a Retinol, but without the potential side effects like redness or irritation. So, it’s good for those with sensitive skin. Bonus: Bakuchiol is vegan. Some forms of Retinol are indeed derived from animal products.

Bakuchiol is derived from the psoralea corylifolia plant, also known as the babchi plant. It’s important to check the origins of the Bakuchiol in your products. We source the Bakuchiol featured in our products from edible seeds of babchi that are obtained sustainably, in compliance with ethical harvesting.

Q: In what type of products will we find Bakuchiol?

A: Just like Retinol, Bakuchiol shows up in many skincare formats, from face serums to lotions to oils to creams. The ingredient is featured in the entirely reformulated REDEFINE Overnight Restorative Cream, which is a night cream that deeply moisturizes, improves the look of fine lines and wrinkles, plus visibly lifts the skin. This fantastic formula blends Bakuchiol and Glycolic Acid for more sculpted definition and smoother-looking skin.

Q: When does your skin need Bakuchiol?

A: Think of it as a less irritating, naturally-derived alternative to the Retinol ingredient you know and love. Whereas a Retinol cream may leave your skin dry, red and irritated, a Bakuchiol formula is gentler on sensitive skin. Who is a good candidate for a Bakuchiol-infused product? Here’s a good rule of thumb. If you’ve experienced skin sensitivity with Retinol and have given up on it, opt for a Bakuchiol-infused formula once a week, slowly building up to 3 days per week from there.

Q: Is Bakuchiol as good and effective on skin as retinol?

A: This bakuchiol skin study shows that Bakuchiol is comparable with Retinol with regard to its ability to improve photoaging, that is, visible signs of aging caused by sun exposure — think age spots and dark spots. Even better, as mentioned above, it’s better tolerated than Retinol. In the study, the Retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging. Bakuchiol’s skin benefits include smoother skin, diminished fine lines and wrinkles and improved elasticity. This makes it a viable alternative to Retinol for anti-aging skincare.

Q: When should I choose products with Bakuchiol over products with retinoids?

A: If your skin is sensitive, Bakuchiol is a better choice for you. If you find you get redness, irritation or flaking when you use Retinol — even just once a week, opt for a formula with Bakuchiol instead. If you find your skin is drier and more sensitive at different times of the year or in varying climates (that ski trip, for instance), opt for a formula with Bakuchiol instead of your regularly scheduled retinoid.

Q: How should you use Bakuchiol in your skincare routine?

A: We recommend incorporating Bakuchiol as part of your evening skincare routine. That said, we remind you that a multi-step skincare routine is important, as your skin needs to be prepped for key ingredients, like Bakuchiol. Always apply your products to clean skin, post-wash. You want to make sure your hands are clean if you’re applying it with your fingertips, as well.

Q: How long does it take for products with Bakuchiol to work?

A: Rodan + Fields founders, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, have always believed in their Multi-Med Therapy Approach to skincare, which means using the right ingredients, in the right formulations, applied in the right order. That is why all of R+F products are clinically-tested to give visibly transformative results.  Consistency is key here, just as it is with any skincare routine to see visible results. Using the full Regimen, you can expect to see the first visible results after 4 weeks and then more impact after 8 weeks with the REDEFINE Regimen. The clinicals for the REDEFINE Regimen speak for themselves (please keep in mind that these results are from participants using the entire Regimen, as recommended).

Percent of participants noticing improvement after 8 weeks* of using REDEFINE Regimen. REDEFINE Regimen includes Redefine Overnight Restorative Cream, which is formulated with Bakuchiol:

  • 94% had softer, more supple skin
  • 94% had smoother skin
  • 91% noticed firmer skin
  • 85% had plumper, fuller-looking skin
  • 85% had improved overall appearance/healthy glow
  • 85% had more moisturized-looking skin
  • 79% noticed less visible lines/wrinkles
  • 76% had more lifted (less sagging) skin
  • 76% had more resilient, bouncy skin

*Based on an 8-week U.S. clinical and consumer study. Results may vary depending on multiple factors: age, gender, skin type and condition, concomitant products used, health history, location, lifestyle and diet.

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