Can Bakuchiol & Retinol Be Formulated Together?

Bakuchiol is best known in the skincare industry as a natural alternative to retinol. However, did you know it can also be formulated with retinol? Here’s how this combination works:

Bakuchiol is a functional analog of retinol, which means it mimics the biological functions and effects of retinol but through a secondary mechanistic pathway. Structurally, retinol and bakuchiol are different, but both compounds demonstrate a similar pattern of activity on key anti-aging genes and proteins.

While retinol is the gold standard for improving skin texture and reducing visible signs of aging, it has a bad reputation with formulating due to its instability. If given the right environment, retinol can have a prooxidative effect in the skin, which means instead of protecting cells from oxidative damage, it can promote it, which may lead to skin irritation, inflammation and other unwanted side effects that will hinder routine compliance.

Read More About the Science Behind Bakuchiol

What makes bakuchiol a great alternative to retinol also makes it a great complement. In fact, bakuchiol is proven to stabilize retinol, offering better results and less irritations. Let’s discover more behind this.

How Bakuchiol Stabilizes Retinol

Internal (diet and stress) and external (pollution and UV light) stressors create Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that contribute to oxidative stress. In turn, wrinkles, dark spots and many other forms of damage appear on the skin. Skincare products have been using antioxidants for decades to combat these stressors. Despite its long and effective use, retinol has been known to generate oxidative stress due to degradation caused by exposure to light and heat. Lipid peroxidation is a common form of oxidative stress, in which lipids interact with ROS in the cell membrane causing damage to the cells and can be enhanced when retinol is exposed to light.

Common antioxidants such as tocopherol have previously been tested to stabilize retinol with limited success. However, when Bakuchiol was tested, results showed that it was 50 to 60 times more effective than tocopherol in inhibiting lipid peroxidation. Bakuchiol also stabilized retinol from photo-degradation. A 1:1 ratio showed slight improvement in stabilization while a 4:1 ratio of Bakuchiol to retinol showed complete stabilization.

Due to its antioxidant properties and stabilizing effects, Bakuchiol makes a great companion to retinol.

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Brand Benefits of a Bakuchiol & Retinol Formula

Leveraging Bakuchiol and retinol within the same skincare formulation, can offer several benefits:

  1. Enhanced Results: Combining these two skincare actives may enhance the overall effectiveness of the formulation. Separately, both bakuchiol and retinol have been proven to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while promoting collagen production.
  2. Reduced irritation: Bakuchiol is often touted as the gentler alternative to retinol, as it has been clinically shown to provide the same benefits without the side effects. When used in conjunction with retinol, bakuchiol can help mitigate the potential irritation associated with retinol use, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive skin who may not tolerate retinol alone.
  3. Balanced antioxidant activity: Bakuchiol possesses excellent antioxidant properties, which can help neutralize ROS and protect the skin. Pairing bakuchiol with retinol can provide a balanced approach to antioxidant protection, helping to combat environmental damage and promote overall skin health.
  4. Broad-spectrum anti-aging claims: By combining bakuchiol and retinol, skincare formulations can target multiple signs of aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and loss of elasticity. This comprehensive approach can result in smoother, firmer, and more youthful-looking skin over time.
  5. Address various skin concerns & types: Bakuchiol and retinol can be beneficial for various skin types, including dry, oily, and combination skin. Their compatibility allows for the creation of formulations that cater to different skin concerns while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.

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Despite its drawbacks, consumers still love and seek retinol products for their skincare routines. It’s been a staple in skincare for years. Combining bakuchiol and retinol in skincare products can offer a well-rounded approach to anti-aging and skin renewal, by capitalizing on the familiarity consumers have with retinol while introducing the gentle benefits of Bakuchiol. This combination not only reassures consumers about the retinol product’s effectiveness and safety but also educates them on the potential of bakuchiol, bridging the gap between familiarity and innovation.

Because retinol has been a go-to ingredient in anti-aging skincare, incorporating bakuchiol can be an exciting, innovative twist. Consumers today are always on the lookout for skincare formulas that provide multifunctionality.

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Bakuchiol is much more than an alternative to retinol. With bakuchiol, you can stabilize your retinol formula, offer a new kind of product consumer, and make an impressive difference for customers with wrinkles and dark spots.

If you have questions about formulating with Bakuchiol and retinol, please contact us. You can also request a sample and explore the science behind Bakuchiol here.