Bakuchiol: The Plant-Based Alternative to Retinol

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Bakuchiol: The Plant-Based Alternative to Retinol

While there is no denying retinol is the gold-standard anti-aging ingredient in the beauty industry, there is now an exciting, proven alternative on the skincare scene. We are SO excited to announce the well-awaited arrival of Bakuchiol Peptides, a 1.25% pure bakuchiol formula enhanced with a blend of brightening peptide precursors and centella asiatica.

 Bakuchiol Peptides, infused with 1.25% pure bakuchiol

It is the clinically proven, plant-based substitute for those of you who can’t use vitamin A in your daily routine.[1] This includes expectant or nursing mothers who have been sadly advised to put down their favourite skin-smoothing retinol for the next 9 months - rest assured, this is one first world problem we have fixed.*

First things first, why do we keep mentioning retinol and why is bakuchiol the new go-to replacement? Well, bakuchiol is currently trending in skincare because of a new study published by the British Journal of Dermatology. This study proves bakuchiol to be very similar in terms of anti-aging efficacy to retinol, but without retinol-like side effects, for example the dryness some individuals experience.[2]

THE SCIENCE OF BAKUCHIOLMedik8 USA | Structure of Bakuchiol Peptides

Structure of bakuchiol

Medik8 USA | Retinol

Structure of retinol

So let's get into the science of bakuchiol. While it is clear to see bakuchiol has no structural resemblance to retinoids, the International Journal of Cosmetic Science proved in 2014 that bakuchiol can actually act as a functional analogue of retinol. This means that bakuchiol is able to act on the skin in a very similar way to retinol, producing similar visible results on the skin.[3]  

Fast-forward to 2019, when the British Journal of Dermatology investigated the comparison between retinol and bakuchiol - and took our new favourite purple plant to the next level. In a study conducted on 44 participants over 12 weeks, the effects of 0.5% bakuchiol applied twice daily was compared to 0.5% retinol applied once a day. Both bakuchiol and retinol significantly decreased visible wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, with no statistical difference between them. Retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging.[2]

So, to conclude, bakuchiol has been found to be comparable to retinol in efficacy at addressing the visible signs of skin aging, and is better tolerated than retinol.[2]

The ultimate plant-based vitamin A alternative

While vitamin A is known as the gold-standard at addressing the visible signs of aging, and at Medik8 we make every effort to overcome any of these retinol-induced side effects - (see our Time Release Technology™ and Vitamin A Ladder), we are confident that bakuchiol is the best alternative option for skins that can’t tolerate the powers of retinol. For example, those that are pregnant and nursing*, or those with super-sensitive skin. 


Medik8’s latest innovation, it’s time to become acquainted with Bakuchiol Peptides. Enhanced with brightening peptide precursors and calming cica, this lightweight, oil-based serum takes the gentle powers of bakuchiol to the next level of anti-aging technology.



Photostable, Bakuchiol Peptides can be used both day and night, for accelerated visible anti-aging results. Our in-house development team have taken a dual-actioned approach to photostability; housing our Bakuchiol Peptides in a UV-protected glass bottle, and infusing the formula with a natural photo-stabiliser (krameria triandra root extract). This is to ensure any UV rays that weren’t reflected by the bottle are absorbed, protecting the bakuchiol molecule.


The secret to Beautiful Skin for Life is the same for all of us: vitamin C plus sunscreen by day, vitamin A by night. Therefore, Bakuchiol Peptides is perfect for those looking for a substitute for vitamin A in their CSA routines - the missing piece of the puzzle for some of you out there. This can include those with extremely sensitive skin, slight intolerances to vitamin A, or as we mentioned earlier - if you are pregnant or nursing.*[2]


The feat of carrying a new life can be tumultuous - both incredibly exciting and scary at the same time. Bakuchiol Peptides can bring a rare moment of relaxation for you - the nourishingly indulgent formula is incredibly soothing on skin. It can also help to promote a visibly flawless complexion, helping to brighten the appearance of skin. As we said earlier, Bakuchiol Peptides can be applied both day and night - perfect for times of transition, where both you and your skin may still be adjusting to new beginnings (and a new body clock!)

*Of course, due to ethical considerations the Bakuchiol Peptides formula has not been tested on pregnant women, but there is nothing in the formula which is known to be an issue (eg vitamin A or high levels of exfoliating acids). If you are at all concerned, always consult your doctor.


[1] R. Chaudhuri, Bakuchiol: A Retinol-Like Functional Compound, Modulating Multiple Retinol and Non-Retinol Targets, Cosmecuticals and Active Cosmetics,  2015, CRC Press
[2] S. Dhaliwal et al, Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoaging, BJD, 2019, 180(2), pp 289-296
[3] R. Chaudhuri, K Bojanowski, Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2014, 36, pp 221-230


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