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Bakuchiol: a High-Performance Retinol Alternative that's Safe for Pregnancy and Sensitive Skin

Bakuchiol: a High-Performance Retinol Alternative that's Safe for Pregnancy and Sensitive Skin - Syll Botanics

Bakuchiol is an innovative and exciting natural skincare ingredient, with clinically studied benefits including reduction in wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and acne. A natural compound derived from the Babchi plant, bakuchiol is touted as a botanical alternative to retinol. The particularly exciting part is - unlike retinol - bakuchiol is non-irritating, does not increase sensitivity to the sun, and is safe to use during any reproductive life stage. 

Below we discuss the benefits of Syll’s source of bakuchiol, which has efficacy claims backed by clinical research and is cultivated utilizing responsible sourcing practices. 

The Multi-tasking Benefits of Bakuchiol

Retinoids have long been sought-after for skin-firming effects as well as the ability to reduce acne and hyperpigmentation. However, retinoids are difficult for many people to tolerate, particularly for those with sensitive skin, and can also increase photosensitivity. Further, this chemical group is generally not recommended if trying to conceive or while pregnant, and some medical providers suggest cautionary use while breastfeeding. 

Enter Bakuchiol. 


Rejuvenating & Smoothing Properties

Bakuchiol stimulates collagen production and cellular turnover, leading to firmer, smoother skin. A 2019 study compared the effects of bakuchiol and retinol on photo-aged human facial skin. The results found bakuchiol reduced the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles just as effectively as retinol, but with minimal side effects including a significantly lower rate of skin scaling and stinging. 


Acne-Fighting Capabilities

Evidence shows that Bakuchiol can assist with the prevention and treatment of acne, finding that bakuchiol reduced acne by 57% after six weeks and was more effective than 2% salicylic acid. This is due to its anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties, which make it effective in fighting breakouts and redness. It also inhibits the overproduction of skin sebum to help prevent the formation of acne. 


Decreases Hyperpigmentation 

Hyperpigmentation is a common issue for new moms, however skin lighters are often contraindicated during pregnancy. In addition to retinoids, these include hydroquinone (linked to several health concerns and now only available by prescription in the U.S.) and the arbutin family (which has a better safety profile but converts to hydroquinone in the skin). 

Bakuchiol was clinically demonstrated to reduce hyperpigmentation as efficiently as retinol, which is exciting for anyone looking to decrease pigmentation and achieve a more even skin tone – particularly those with sensitive skin or reproductive safety concerns. 


Antioxidant Powerhouse

Environmental aggressors like pollution and UV rays can damage skin cells and lead to accelerated photoaging. Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize these harmful effects, and bakuchiol is packed with them. Its strong antioxidant properties help protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. By doing so, bakuchiol defends the skin from external damages and helps further rejuvenate its appearance.


Suitable for All Skin Types, Including Sensitive Skin

For those with sensitive skin, finding effective skincare ingredients that don’t irritate can be a challenge. Research on the impact of bakuchiol on sensitive skin types found it to be suitable for use in sensitive skin subjects, including those with eczema/atopic dermatitis and rosacea. Furthermore, subjects saw statistically significant improvement in smoothness, clarity, radiance and overall appearance. Since bakuchiol lacks common side effects associated with retinol (e.g. stinging, redness and peeling), it is more universally tolerable for all skin types and longer-term use. 


Is Bakuchiol Pregnancy-Safe?

One of the standout benefits of bakuchiol over retinol is its safety profile during pregnancy. Topical Vitamin A and its derivatives (the family of retinoids) are generally advised against during pregnancy. Outside of potential safety risks, pregnancy and postpartum skin is more prone to irritation and photosensitivity, making retinoids a less ideal choice during this time.

Bakuchiol, on the other hand, has a different molecular structure. Long used in Ayurvedic medicine, dermatological recommendations also widely suggest that bakuchiol is safe to use during pregnancy. Further, as it does not impact skin’s sensitivity to the sun, it can be used in both AM & PM skincare routines. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s always important to check in with your healthcare professional, but we believe it is an exciting solution to many common skin issues during pregnancy and beyond. 


Bakuchiol and Sustainability

Although there is online debate about this topic, properly sourced bakuchiol presents several sustainability advantages. Our bakuchiol is made via efficient extraction and purification processes using the seeds of the Babchi plant (not the leaves). These seeds are harvested from the plant species “Psoralea corylifolia”, which grows in abundance in the wild and is monitored by the Indian Biodiversity Authority. The plant is not harmed during this seed harvesting process, and care is taken to ensure plant population levels remain healthy. Further, bakuchiol is renewable, biodegradable, and the cultivation of Babchi is less land and water-intensive compared to many farm grown plants used in the skincare industry. 

It’s important to note that the sustainability of bakuchiol does depend on the cultivation and extraction practices employed. Overharvesting or poor agricultural practices can pose problems, so brands must work with their suppliers to monitor commitments to responsible sourcing.

Bakuchiol is a Multi-tasking, Safe & Sustainable Natural Skincare Active

The array of benefits, supported by scientific research, positions bakuchiol as a powerful skincare ingredient that rejuvenates, evens tone and improves the complexion while being suitable for use during pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding.  When sourced responsibly, it is both an eco-friendly and effective alternative to retinoids – great for all skin types and for use both day and night. 

Find bakuchiol as a key ingredient in The Face & Eye One!


Please note this information is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. If you have a specific medical concern, please consult with a licensed medical professional for personalized care.



Bluemke, Anika et al. “Multidirectional activity of bakuchiol against cellular mechanisms of facial ageing - Experimental evidence for a holistic treatment approach.” International journal of cosmetic science vol. 44,3 (2022): 377-393. doi:10.1111/ics.12784

Boo, Y. C. "Arbutin as a Skin Depigmenting Agent with Antimelanogenic and Antioxidant Properties." Antioxidants, vol. 10, no. 7, 15 Jul. 2021, doi:10.3390/antiox10071129.

Bozzo, P., Chua-Gocheco, A., and Einarson, A. "Safety of Skin Care Products During Pregnancy." Canadian Family Physician, vol. 57, no. 6, Jun. 2011, pp. 665-667.

Chaudhuri, R. K., and Bojanowski, K. "Bakuchiol: A Retinol-Like Functional Compound Revealed by Gene Expression Profiling and Clinically Proven to Have Anti-Aging Effects." International Journal of Cosmetic Science, vol. 36, no. 3, Jun. 2014, pp. 221-230, doi:10.1111/ics.12117.

Chaudhuri, R. K., and Bojanowski, K. "Bakuchiol in the Management of Acne-Affected Skin." ResearchGate, 2015, URL.

Dhaliwal, S., et al. "Assessment of Topical Bakuchiol and Retinol for Facial Photoageing." British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 180, no. 2, 1 Feb. 2019, p. e45,

Draelos, Z., et al. "Clinical Evaluation of a Nature-Based Bakuchiol Anti-Aging Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin." Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, vol. 19, no. 12, 2020

Kaplan, Y. C., Ozsarfati, J., Etwel, F., Nickel, C., and Nulman, I., and Koren, G. "Pregnancy Outcomes Following First-Trimester Exposure to Topical Retinoids: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 173, no. 5, Nov. 2015, pp. 1132-1141, doi:10.1111/bjd.14053.

Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):327-48. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327. PMID: 18046911; PMCID: PMC2699641.


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