Too Sensitive For Retinol? Try This Natural Anti-Aging Ingredient


We’ve already covered all things retinol. But if you have sensitive skin, you may not have been able to fully take advantage of all of the benefits. Despite its anti-aging capabilities, retinol can also irritate sensitive skin and cause inflammation, flaking, and burning. So whether you’re searching for a sensitive skin-friendly alternative or just something a little more natural, we have good news — bakuchiol can definitely help! Read more about this vegan, all-natural alternative to retinol, how to incorporate it into your skincare shelf, and the best bakuchiol products out there. 

What is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol (pronounced ba-koo-heel) is a plant extract that’s derived from the seeds and leaves of the ‘babchi’ plant (also known as the psoralea corylifolia plant). This plant has a pretty impressive skincare resume. And it’s even used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese skin-healing treatments.

It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, which has piqued the interest of scientists in recent years.

Bakuchiol also targets several cellular pathways to improve collagen production, decrease the breakdown of collagen, and even help reduce the appearance of dark spots.

The Benefits Of Bakuchiol

This vegan ingredient has been marketed as an all-natural retinol alternative for sensitive skin! This ingredient is a potent antioxidant and visibly reduces skin discolorations from environmental exposure. And unlike retinol, it has a pronounced soothing effect on the skin. Bakuchiol can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is why you’re seeing it in more skincare products. If its benefits sound remarkably similar to retinol, you’re onto something. 

And it’s not all marketing fluff. In one study, 44 participants were given either bakuchiol or retinol. After 12 weeks, both groups had shown a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. However, the group that used retinol reported more skin irritation and scaling. 

Is bakuchiol safe for all skin types, and are there side effects?

Yes! Whether you have dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin, you can safely use bakuchiol. 

As far as side effects go, the research is still out. Keep in mind that bakuchiol is still relatively new in the skincare world. However, if you have extremely sensitive skin, you’ll want to try a patch test first. If all is well, start by using it three nights per week. 

When should I use this ingredient in my routine?

If you don’t experience any irritation after a skin patch test, bakuchiol can be applied daily. While retinol should only be used as a standalone ingredient, bakuchiol is safe to be layered with other products. Although you may want to avoid glycolic acid — it could degrade the formulation. 

Bakuchiol can also be applied either in the morning or at night. There’s no specific time to apply this ingredient — as it’s available in serums, moisturizers, face masks, and more. So depending on the product you’re using, you shouldn’t alter your current skincare routine too much. 

The Best Bakuchiol Skincare Products

The INKEY List Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Moisturizer, $9.99

Inkey List moisturizer


This gentle bakuchiol moisturizer helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Herbivore Bakuchiol Anti-Aging Serum, $54

Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum


This beautiful natural anti-aging serum reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles with this vegan superstar ingredient.

PlantGenius® Melt Moisturizer with Bakuchiol, $60

Alpyn Beauty retinal alternative


Swap out your current moisturizer with this whipped, anti-aging moisturizer! It has antioxidants, ceramides, and bakuchiol to fight wrinkles and tighten pores.

Dr. Zenovia Skincare Bakuchiol Hydrating Cleanser, $42

Dr. Zenovia Skincare


Need to update your cleanser? This clinical-grade, pH-balancing cleanser effectively removes pollutants, excess oil, and makeup while nourishing and hydrating the skin.

PlantGenius® Line-Filling Eye Balm with Bakuchiol, $62

alpyn beauty line filling eye cream


This cushiony, hydrating eye cream contains potent antioxidants that instantly work to brighten dark circles and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

BYBI Beauty 1% Bakuchiol in Olive Squalane Oil Booster, $10

BYBI Beauty Bakuchiol booster


Mix this clean booster serum with your existing moisturizers, serums, or balms for a potent nighttime boost to your beauty routine. 

Maya Chia The Straight A, $125

Maya Chia Straight A serum


This treatment contains potent, high-quality vitamins C and E to brighten skin and help decrease the appearance of hyperpigmentation. It also contains encapsulated retinol (a safe derivative of vitamin A) combined with botanical retinol and moth bean extract to help improve the appearance of fine lines. 

Graydon Phyto Clear, $46

Phyto Clear


This product can help reduce the appearance of imperfections, improve elasticity, and give you an overall refreshed, bright look. This natural face moisturizer also absorbs quickly and deeply into the skin, mimicking your natural sebum production to further increase hydration. 

Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush, $28

Slushy Serum Moistuizer Crush


This texture provides skin with the benefits of a serum and a moisturizer in one easy-to-use step. Because this retinol alternative does not cause sensitivity to the sun as retinol does, you can use this product both morning & night for maximum results.

Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot, $95

Reverse Longitude PM serum shot


This product works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and the visibility of hyper-pigmentation while helping improve skin elasticity. 

Related Article: As if mood swings and weight fluctuations aren’t enough, menopause can also toss hormonal acne our way. It’s more common than you think — studies have shown that as much as 26.3% of women in their 40s and 15.3% of women aged 50 or older experience acne. So, what causes menopause acne?

Read Next: 

The 5 Step Morning Routine for Aging Well

5 Korean Beauty Secrets for Anti-Aging… involving snails?

Collagen 911: Skincare Trends That Actually Work


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