Bakuchiol – A natural alternative to Retinol shows holistic treatment approach for facial aging based on its multidirectional activity

Beiersdorf published a study in the International J of Cosmetic Science (2022, doi: 10.1111/ics.12784), performing mechanistic and clinical evaluation of natural-based Bakuchiol for Anti-aging benefits.

Skin aging is a multifactorial process involving formation of ROS, consecutive inflammation resulting damage to extracellular matrix. Hence the search for effective cosmeceutical ingredients with holistic approach is gaining traction over the years. In this study Bakuchiol (Sytenol® A), a natural meroterpene isolated from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia, known to show retinol-like efficacy was compared to retinol in various model systems including in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo studies for respective mechanistic markers and its topical antiaging properties.

In contrast to retinol, Bakuchiol demonstrated high antioxidative efficacy. Levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) were significantly decreased by both bakuchiol and retinol. Bakuchiol but not retinol significantly increased FGF7 protein levels. WST-1 metabolization levels were significantly augmented by bakuchiol and retinol. Bakuchiol and retinol application led to a significant augmentation of COL1A1, COL7A1 and FN protein levels. Wounds supplemented with Bakuchiol but not retinol displayed a significant increase in epidermis regeneration. In a 4-week clinical study treatment with Bakuchiol containing formulation showed a statistically significant increase in FN protein values after a 4-week application compared to untreated areas and areas treated with vehicle. In a 12-week split face clinical study, tolerability was compared to retinol. Results showed that the bakuchiol-containing formulation was well tolerated as compared to retinol containing formulation. After 12 weeks of treatment with the bakuchiol-containing formulation (t1), subjects (n=34) rated the difference in the youthful appearance of their skin to the baseline determination (t0) with a mean t1-t0 value of 2.57 ± 2.14. Compared to the t1-t0 value of the vehicle-treated site (2.06 ± 1.89), the youthfulness of the bakuchiol-treated area was rated as significantly improved (p=0.0275).

The data shows the multidirectional efficacy of bakuchiol against cellular hallmarks of skin aging. Its activity profile shares certain common features with retinol but proves several hitherto unknown biopositive effects like stimulation of EC components Fibronectin and accelerated epidermal regeneration and wound healing.

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