Bakuchiol + Retinal: A Pro-Aging Powerhouse For Skin Health

Meet Bakuchiol: A Plant-Based Alternative to Retinol that's Just as Effective 

As we mentioned in this post, when we first came across Bakuchiol, we were blown away by the potency and remarkable clinical results of this plant-based retinol alternative, especially when it comes to its anti-aging properties.

Raja Sivamani, a clinical dermatologist at UC Davis who led a recent study comparing Bakuchiol and retinol, found that Bakuchiol activates the genes that regulate collagen and elastin production. Another study published in the British Journal of Dermatology showed that Bakuchiol could reduce signs of sun damage equally as well as retinol. (source)

Bakuchiol is one of the few plant-based alternatives for which studies back up the pseudo-retinol effects of anti-aging and skin brightening benefits.


In this paper published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the researchers found that although Bakuchiol bears no structural resemblance to retinoids, it can function in the same way. After 12 weeks of treatment using a Bakuchiol formula, applied twice-a-day on the face, the subjects experienced a significant improvement in:

  • lines and wrinkles,
  • pigmentation,
  • elasticity,
  • firmness, and
  • overall reduction in photo-damage

without usual retinol therapy-associated undesirable effects.

Bakuchiol was found to function like retinol in the upregulation (increase in a cellular response to a molecular stimulus) of collagen I and IV, and in the stimulation of collagen III.

  • Type I Collagen: This is your go-to when it comes to anti-aging, as it makes up 90 percent of your hair, skin, and nails (organs, bones, and ligaments, too). Type I collagen can help ward off the hallmarks of skin aging, like the stretching out or thinning of the skin. (source)
  • Type IV Collagen: This type of collagen is located in the basal lamina - a thin layer of gel like fluid that provides cushioning to the outer layer of our skin. It provides support and filtration and acts as a scaffold for cell migration. (source)
  • Type III Collagen: This type of collagen helps form arterial walls, which is key for cardiovascular health. It’s often found alongside type I collagen in the body (think bone, cartilage, dentin, tendons, skin, and other connective tissues). (source)


Bakuchiol has also shown mitochondrial protective properties. This means that it protects the mitochondrial lipid form peroxidation, protecting the mitochondria from oxidative stress (Planta Medica). Studies have found that it works as an antioxidant protecting lipids and proteins by free-radical scavenging (Chemical Research in Toxicology, Radiation Chemistry). (source)

Another reason why we’re obsessed with Bakuchiol is because of its gentle nature. It doesn’t seem to irritate and redden skin the way retinol often does. We dive into this topic in this post.


Meet Retinal: A Stronger Form of Retinol that's Better Tolerated by the Skin

Retinal, short for Retinaldehyde, is a natural form of vitamin A like retinol and retinyl palmitate, that is created by the body before being converted to Retinoic Acid. Retinal converts faster than Retinol, and therefore it's more effective. 

It's also better tolerated by the skin than other forms of retinol, which may give those with sensitive skin the opportunity to use a retinol-based product without suffering from the side effects that it typically causes, including sun sensitivity. 

This FDA approved form of Vitamin A has shown positive results in numerous scientific studies, which concluded that retinaldehyde is a useful topical agent for the treatment of aged and photoaged skin, with a lower frequency of irritation. (source)

Skin benefits of Retinal include: 

  • regeneration of skin cells, 
  • stimulation of new collagen production,
  • reduction in the surface roughness and coarse wrinkling, 
  • increase in epidermal thickness, 
  • increase in skin elasticity, and 
  • relieve of acne - fight blackheads, cystic acne, and acne scars.


Retinal is becoming more common in acne formulations, as retinol has been proven to be effective in helping boost cell turnover, allowing dying and dead skin cells to slough away at a faster rate, which reveals new, healthy skin cells. Some acne products that currently contain retinaldehyde include formulations to fight blackheads, cystic acne, and acne scars. (source)


Why We Pair Bakuchiol and Retinal in Our Formulas to Provide a More Potent Delivery 

When combined with Retinal, Bakuchiol boosts its effectiveness. Bakuchiol augments the anti-aging benefits of retinoids while avoiding the side effects. Clinical trials back this up.  

study conducted by Ratan K Chaudhuri and Boxin Ou and published by Cosmetics & Toiletries, examined Bakuchiol's ability to stabilize retinol on multiple environments, and found Bakuchiol to be 60-fold more effective than natural tocopherol (a chemical compound). 


“Retinal was reinvented in 2016 with new delivery systems that render it gentler yet still effective. Personally, I’m in love with Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot that also includes one of my favourite antioxidants, astaxanthin." INDEPENDENT REVIEW


Give it a Go with This Multi-Award Winner PM Serum-Shot

Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot is a clean serum formula that combines powerful anti-aging ingredients like Retinaldehyde - a stabilized form of retinol for collagen production, with Bakuchiol – a potent antioxidant that boosts Retinal while protecting skin from its irksome side effects.

This supercharged mix of Vitamin A and Bakuchiol offers an ideal compromise between effectiveness and irritation – it can be used day and night to slough away dead skin cells and help stimulate collagen production, with no skin sensitivities.

Buy for $95 USD or pair with AM Serum or PM Treatment for free delivery (US).


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Dr. Mark Gray