Retinol is lauded as the must-have ingredient for anyone hoping for a more youthful complexion, but new research suggests that an Indian plant may be just as effective in fighting ageing.


The compound is called Bakuchiol, which is mainly found in the seeds of the Indian plant Psoralea corylifolia, and is said to contain a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Accordingly, U.S. researchers were interested in learning the effect it could have on skin and examined the impact on 44 participants who were provided with either bakuchiol or retinol of equal concentrations to incorporate into their skincare plan for 12 weeks.

By using photos, dermatologist assessment and questionnaires to assess the treatments after the 12-week period, the researchers found that both extracts decreased wrinkle surface area, but 59 per cent of participants in the bakuchiol group showed improvement in hyperpigmentation at week 12, compared with 44 per cent of the retinol group. Additionally, those using retinol experienced more skin scaling and stinging upon application.

And the efficacy of bakuchiol could be particularly attractive to those keen to embrace more natural cosmetics.

“For consumers who value natural products, bakuchiol provides appeal due to its origin in several plant species,” said Raja Sivamani, adjacent associate clinical professor at the University of California.

However, consultant dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto has warned beauty buffs not to trade in their trusty retinol serums for bakuchiol-infused formulas just yet.

“There is a huge body of evidence showing the retinol’s efficacy, while this is one small study,” she told MailOnline. “Most people will be able to find a form of retinol they tolerate. It remains the most effective, well-researched anti-ageing ingredient. We’d need to see these results in larger studies before we can claim conclusively that bakuchiol is as effective as retinol, but, for anyone who doesn’t want to use vitamin A for anti-ageing, this is interesting research.”

Full study results have been published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

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