How Does It Work?

How can Bakuchiol qualify as retinol-like?

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How Does Bakuchiol work?

Gene expression profile is now considered to be a molecular signature of a compound. A simple comparative microarray experiment side by side with Retinol and The Bakuchiol do not have close structural similarities, yet exhibit a similar pattern of activity on certain key anti-aging genes and proteins.

The Science

Volcano plot showing key genes modulated by retinol and bakuchiol

No Side effects

Enjoy Retinol-like benefits without the side effects!

The University of California performed a double-blind clinical study on 44 volunteers comparing pure Bakuchiol (Sytenol™ A) and retinol, both used in a cream at the same concentration (0.5%).

The study showed that the two active ingredients performed similarly in terms of photoaging (59% reduction in hyperpigmentation after 12 weeks).


However, bakuchiol is much better tolerated by the skin, particularly when it comes to stinging and desquamation (significant differences in comparison with retinol).

UC Davis ultimately concluded that bakuchiol could effectively improve the signs of ageing in the skin and Bakuchiol is one alternative that is better tolerated by the skin than retinol.

After this publication in British Journal of Dermatology, Bakuchiol gained popularity over the media and was named among the trendiest ingredients in 2019 by Mintel.

A Look Inside 

In terms of chemical structures, Bakuchiol is different from retinol.

But at the gene level, Bakuchiol and retinol have similar molecular signatures.

First, it is a retinol-alternative, it stimulates key anti-aging genes like the :

  • Retinoid Binding & Metabolizing Genes
  • Extracellular Matrix Genes
  • Dermo-epidermal Junction Genes

Also, it helps to slow down the aging process thanks to its antioxidant protection : Bakuchiol limits direct oxidative damage to the cells, proteins, and DNA.

It protects the extra cellular matrix and dermo-epidermal junction genes by reducing matrix metalloprotease (MMP) activity. Finally, it controls inflammation and therefore plays a role against inflam’aging.