Bakuchiol: A Gentler Alternative to Retinoids

Bakuchiol has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat skin and hair conditions. It is extracted from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia plant. Though it is not structurally similar to retinoids, it is a functional analogue with similar anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. 

Results from a randomized, double‐blind, 12‐week study of 44 patients showed that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photoaging but is better tolerated than retinol.

Study Design:

44 patients divided into 2 groups:  applied bakuchiol 0·5% cream twice daily or retinol 0·5% cream daily.

Results were tracked using high‐resolution photographs of patients at 0, 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Patients also completed tolerability assessment questions to review side‐effects. During study visits, a board‐certified dermatologist, blinded to study group assignments, graded pigmentation and redness.

Study Results:

Bakuchiol and Retinol both significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, with no statistical difference between the compounds however the Retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging.



S. Dhaliwal, I. Rybak, S.R. Ellis, M. Notay, M. Trivedi, W. Burney, A.R. Vaughn, M. Nguyen, P. Reiter, S. Bosanac, H. Yan, N. Foolad, R.K. Sivamani, Prospective, randomized, double‐blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing, British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 180, Issue 2, 1 February 2019, Pages 289–296,