There's a natural alternative you need to know about.

By Patricia Shannon
August 23, 2019
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Some women swear by retinol. I, other the other hand, have found retinol products to be too harsh for my skin. Give it time, they say. Only apply it every other day, they suggest. Still, I'm left looking like a victim of a nasty case of windburn. I can't get past the red, itchy, peeling skin to make it through to those wrinkle-reducing effects I know lay on the other side. Thankfully, there's a new wonder ingredient popping up in shiny little skin care bottles that promises to be a gentler, natural answer to my retinol woes. Say it with me, "bah-koo-chee-all."

Okay, there are a few ways to pronounce bakuchiol, but we have it on pretty good authority that the above pronunciation is the mostly commonly accepted. But there's more to this derma darling than how its name rolls off the tongue. Here's what you need to know about the new natural ingredient that's making waves in the skin care industry.

What is bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is found in the leaves and seeds of the babchi plant. The plant is characterized by lilac-colored flowers, which is why you might see some bakuchiol products take on their light purple hue. Don't be fooled, bakuchiol isn't a new phenomenon as it pertains to wellness. It's been used for a range of skin issues, but also might contain cancer-fighting agents.

What are the benefits of bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even antibacterial benefits, but the real clincher as far as antiaging is how this skin care superhero aids in cell turnover. As the bakuchiol works to slough off dead skin at a faster rate, derma is then able to bring fresh new skin cells to the surface. With those fresh skin cells comes increased collagen at the skin's surface. Collagen is responsible for the bouncy, youthful skin that fades away as we age—it helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles as it increases skin elasticity. That's why you'll see all sorts of supplements on the market geared toward women with the promise of boosted collagen. Increased collagen is basically the answer to the quest for more youthful skin.

With all this to say, there's still one major benefit of bakuchiol as it compares to retinol and that is its gentle, nonirritating effects. In a word, those with sensitive skin will get most (if not all) of the benefits that come from a retinol product but without the red, itchy, irritating side effects that they're used to.

Watch: Move Over Botox, Science Says Maple Leaves Are the New Anti-Wrinkle Superhero

What are the best bakuchiol skin care products?

Ready to give this one a go? Here are a few products, including a bakuchiol serum, that are worth trying: