Now, notice that we’ve said it has a retinol-like effect. That’s because it doesn’t work in the same way as retinol, but the effect it has on the skin is comparable. “Retinol and bakuchiol are not structurally similar,” says Shah. “In fact, bakuchiol bears more structural resemblance to [the antioxidant] resveratrol. However, they are very similar in functionality. When confirmed side by side in a lab study, they were shown to upregulate the same proteins and types of collagen in the skin.”
The benefit of bakuchiol over retinol is that, while retinol is heralded as a wonder ingredient, it can irritate the skin for those who are sensitive, with most people having to acclimate to it by increasing frequency and percentage slowly over time. Bakuchiol, on the other hand, has none of the side effects that can put many off trying retinol.
“Bakuchiol has actually been used as a skincare ingredient for many years for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant purposes,” reveals David Delport, Global Brand Ambassador and Head of Education for REN Clean Skincare. “It stimulates cell renewal in the epidermis for a smooth surface, giving a retinol result without the irritation.”