Bakuchiol vs Retinol: What’s the difference?

Bakuchiol vs Retinol: What’s the difference?

A hand holding a bottle of Time Machine Serum surrounded by bakuchiol seeds on a purple background.

Retinol is the most popular gal around when it comes to its anti-aging properties in skincare. For years, Retinol products have lined the shelves, aimed to help anyone looking to prevent wrinkles and combat acne or just improve their overall complexion. Unfortunately, retinol can also be quite harsh for sensitive skin. Let us introduce you to its natural and gentle alternative: Bakuchiol (“bah-coo-chee-all”). 

The First Thing You Need To Know: What Actually Is Retinol?
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A and a form of retinoid. Retinoids work by neutralizing free radicals in the skin that may cause collagen damage. It smooths and refines skin’s texture by minimizing age and dark spots, brightening dull skin, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It has also been known to regulate oily skin and reduce breakouts. 

Sounds amazing, right?! Unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Retinol has a range of potential side effects that can impact sensitive skin in a big way.

What Are The Side Effects Of Retinol?
When someone with sensitive skin uses Retinol, they often experience irritation known as Retinol burn. Retinol burn can occur about 24 hours after exposure to Retinol products.  It causes redness, dryness, flakiness, and sometimes peeling. Retinol can also worsen any existing skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. While Retinol can improve acne-prone skin, it can also cause temporary breakouts.

What Is Bakuchiol?
Now that you know how to pronounce it, let’s dive into what Bakuchiol really is. Bakuchiol is the gentle, less-irritating, plant-based alternative to Retinol with all of the same anti-aging benefits and none of the side effects.  

It’s a plant extract that comes from the “Babchi” plant, which has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine and is notable for its purple flowers. In a 2020 study, The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that Bakuchiol is an effective anti-aging option that is well tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin. Think of it as an all gain no pain alternative to retinol.

Bakuchiol leaf and flower on a purple background.

What Benefits Does Bakuchiol Have That Differ From Retinol?
Unlike Retinol, Bakuchiol strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Because Bakuchiol is also anti-inflammatory, it is less likely to cause the redness and peeling that is common with some Retinol products. 

Bakuchiol is also a great option for pregnant and nursing mothers, as retinol has been linked to birth risks. Also, unlike Retinol, which increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and therefore should only be used in the evening, Bakuchiol is photostable…which means it’s safe to use in the morning and the active ingredients won’t break down due to sun exposure. So, soak up all that sunshine (with a daily SPF of course)!

Can Bakuchiol And Retinol Be Used Together?
Yes! Bakuchiol and Retinol can be used together. Research shows that the two ingredients complement each other in erasing wrinkles and increasing skin firmness. Bakuchiol’s calming properties enhance the skin’s abilities to tolerate retinol. 

 Two women holding bottle of Hello Skincare serums and smiling at each other.

Are There Products I Should Avoid While Using Bakuchiol?
Nope! You may have heard there are certain products you should avoid while using retinol. For example, it is recommended that Vitamin C products are not paired with retinol since they have exfoliating properties, which can cause dryness. The good news is that bakuchiol is safe to use with other products such as Vitamin C, Benzoyl Peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids; products that should all be avoided alongside retinol.

  Woman applying bakuchiol based serum to her cheek.

Bakuchiol vs. Retinol: what’s the takeaway?
Bakuchiol and Retinol are both skincare superheroes; however, Retinol’s side effects pose a greater risk than those of the plant-based Bakuchiol. Both topicals offer great benefits to slow down aging of the skin and stimulate collagen production, however retinol can also present unpleasant side effects like dryness, flakiness and peeling after use. Retinol is also risky for people who are pregnant or nursing, while bakuchiol is not. 

Bakuchiol maintains the skin’s moisture barrier and is safe to use with other normally no-go products that contain ingredients like vitamin C or alpha hydroxy acids, unlike retinol. And for sensitive skin types bakuchiol is the go-to for anti-wrinkles. 

Both retinol and bakuchiol are anti-aging gamechangers, but bakuchiol offers a safe, effective (and vegan!) retinol substitute for sensitive skin or for anyone looking for a more mild anti-aging skincare option.

What Bakuchiol Product Should I Use?
Say HELLO to Time Machine! If you’re interested in giving Bakuchiol a try, our Time Machine Super Serum will keep your skin feeling super hydrated and vibrant. Used over time you can expect to see it reduce redness, fine lines, and wrinkles while improving your skin’s elasticity and tone. And like all of our products, Time Machine includes high quality, biocompatible ingredients derived from both nature and science.

These nutrient rich, powerhouse ingredients such as Swiss Apple Stem Cell, Ashwagandha, Cucumber Extract, Kakadu Plum and Hyaluronic Acid are what really sets Time Machine apart from other Bakuchiol products. We also love its unique lavender scent (and think you will too!)

Pro Tip: Since bakuchiol is safe to use alongside vitamin C, it’s safe to pair Time Machine with our C-Juvenate Serum and perfectly complemented by it. You’ll look forward to applying this lavender scented serum before bed every night and you’ll see effective results in your glowing reflection!

Bottle of Time Machine serum surrounded by ingredients including aloe vera, cucumber slices, tangerines and bakuchiol seeds.

What Are The Benefits Of The Other Superhero Ingredients In Time Machine Serum?
Swiss Apple Stem Cell encourages new cell generation while supporting longer cell life. Ashwagandha, well-renowned for having antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and relieving inflammation, compliments other ingredients in the Time Machine Serum by protecting skin from infections and acne. Ashwagandha is also collagen boosting…and fun to say! Who doesn’t love that? 

For centuries, we have placed cucumbers under our eyes for puffiness. Why not add it to our daily routine? Cucumber Extract helps soothe skin, reduce inflammation and irritation. Kakadu Plum, full of Vitamin C, brightens skin tone and increases collagen production. Last but certainly not least is the lovely Hyaluronic Acid, which is well respected in the skincare community for being extremely hydrating. Combine all these ingredients in a magical bottle with Bakuchiol and your skincare routine may just turn back the hands of time!

Check out the full list of ingredients for Time Machine Super Serum here.

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