Expert Take: What you should know about bakuchiol and retinol alternatives

Published on August 12, 2022

By Terry

An expert take on why you should incorporate bakuchiol into your routine

There are a lot of trends that come and go in skincare but one popular group of products that has seen a lot of traction with skincare enthusiasts is products formulated with retinol alternatives. The most popular one, you've likely heard about, is bakuchiol. We asked the experts over at Graydon Skincare, a consciously plant powered brand, to answer our most pressing questions about this group of ingredients and why they love formulating with them.

A lot of skincare enthusiasts and professionals swear by the use of topical retinoids, why is that?

Topical retinoids certainly get plenty of hype in the skincare industry, and understandably so—they have more proven skin benefits than any other anti-aging or anti-acne ingredient!

Retinoids come in many forms, from natural to synthetic, with varying strengths. Some types of retinoids require a prescription, while others are available in over-the-counter cosmetic products. The overlying hype and reason that retinoids can be found in so many products on the market is due to their proven skin benefits.

When retinoids are applied topically to the skin, they penetrate through the stratum corneum (the top layer of the skin that’s made of dead skin cells) and make their way to the cells in the dermis. Retinol can stimulate activity of these cells to promote proliferation, strengthen their function and inhibit unwanted activity. In other words, retinoids increase cell turnover, leading to:

  • anti-aging benefits,
  • reduced hyperpigmentation,
  • protection against degradation of collagen,
  • improvement in skin texture,
  • reduced breakouts,
  • and more.(1)

Who wouldn’t want benefits like that!

We know the use of topical retinoids can make the skin sensitive, is this avoidable?

The incredible skin benefits of retinol do come with a catch. They have the potential to cause irritation and skin sensitivity. The potency of conventional retinol can cause redness, dryness and peeling.(1)

In addition, the stability of retinoids is known to decompose in the presence of heat and light, which could cause skin inflammation.(1) For this reason, an important tip when using conventional retinoids is to only apply at night.

The good news is—this is avoidable!

At Graydon Skincare, we are focused on using powerfully-natural, plant-based ingredients, including botanical retinol alternatives. Two types of botanical retinol alternatives we use are moth bean (Vigna Aconitifolia) and bakuchiol. These ingredients are the answer if you’re looking for the great benefits of retinol without the skin sensitivity. They have both been tested against conventional retinol to show better skin tolerance. Bonus—they can be used both morning and night!

What makes people choose a retinol alternative and how does it work?

Retinol alternatives are gentle yet effective, and that’s the main reason people choose them over conventional retinol. As mentioned, we use two types of botanical retinol alternatives in our products: moth bean extract and bakuchiol. Both are plant-based and vegan too!

The moth bean is a type of legume that’s native to India and Pakistan. The supplier of our moth bean extract conducted studies to show that this ingredient works by penetrating the layers of the skin to jump-start the production of collagen and boost cell turnover. In studies, moth bean extract also showed comparable anti-wrinkle benefits and visible improvement in skin texture when compared to conventional retinol. Hence, this evidence supports the use of a botanical retinol as an effective and safe alternative to potentially sensitizing conventional retinoids.

Similarly, bakuchiol is mainly derived from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. It has been shown to mimic retinol activity to help reduce the appearance of aging, sun damage, acne, rosacea and unwanted pigmentation with better skin tolerance than conventional retinol.(2)

One of your brand’s best-selling products contains a retinol alternative, which one did you pick and why?

One of Graydon Skincare’s best-selling products is Fullmoon Serum. It’s formulated with the unique moth bean extract as the botanical retinol source and is used for protecting and correcting the skin. We chose to add this retinol alternative into Fullmoon Serum due to its impressive skin benefits that provide comparable benefits to conventional retinol without the sensitivity or irritation. Along with moth bean extract, Fullmoon Serum contains skin-loving ingredients such as vegan hyaluronic acid, collagen and peptides.

We recommend adding Fullmoon Serum into your skincare routine if you’re looking for a product containing a plant-based retinol alternative. This water-based serum works to slow the visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity by stimulating cell renewal to enhance the production of collagen and elastin. It also helps brighten the skin’s complexion to give a more radiant, youthful appearance.

The Fullmoon Serum is suitable for all skin types. Its botanical retinol alternative is a great choice as a safe and effective alternative to conventional retinol, and it pairs perfectly with any Graydon Skincare moisturizers.

Graydon Skincare Fullmoon Serum containing bakuchiol

Is there anything else we should know about retinol alternatives? Are there any ingredients they shouldn’t be mixed with?

One other great benefit of retinol alternatives are their antioxidant properties, which come with many plant-based ingredients. When applied topically, antioxidants work to protect the skin against oxidative stress from factors such as UV rays, pollution and stress.(2)

Botanical retinol alternatives have greater stability and improved skin tolerance compared to conventional retinol, allowing more freedom on when and how they can be used. This means you can mix retinol alternatives with other ingredients in your skincare routine, both morning and night. Interestingly, a study showed bakuchiol both complemented and enhanced the effectiveness of retinol when combined.(3)

To summarize, moth bean extract and bakuchiol are functional, plant-based ingredients that are gentler than conventional retinol while offering comparable skin benefits. Both stimulate skin cell renewal, boost collagen synthesis and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Moth bean extract and bakuchiol are also more stable and better tolerated than other forms of retinol.

Graydon Skincare’s Fullmoon Serum is formulated with moth bean extract, while the Phyto Clear moisturizer contains both moth bean extract and bakuchiol. We would love for you to give these products a try!





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