young woman using bakuchiol cream on her face
Health Is It Safe? Medication

Is Bakuchiol a Pregnancy-Safe Alternative to Retinol?

By Kayla Young

I can appreciate the despair so many pregnant women feel when they have to say goodbye to retinol. In case you aren’t familiar, retinol is a form of vitamin A that is touted by many as a skin cream miracle ingredient but most experts suggest staying away from it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The good news, though, is that some skincare companies have claimed to have discovered a safe alternative with results similar to that of retinol, and that ingredient is (drumroll please…) bakuchiol.

What in the fresh hell is Bakuchiol?

The Internet seems to be divided on whether you pronounce this ingredient as back-oo-chee-all or back-uh-heel, so your best bet is probably just to write the word on a piece of paper and slide it across the counter to the product consultant while making motions to suggest you’ve lost your voice (or just order it online).

One thing that people don’t seem to be arguing about, however, is the fact that bakuchiol has been shown to have some pretty amazing results when added to your skincare routine. Reducing wrinkles and open pores, building new collagen, fading hyperpigmentation, evening skin tone, smoothing and firming skin and promoting elasticity are some of the benefits that are clinically proven to be linked to bakuchiol use.

Is Bakuchiol a Pregnancy-Safe Alternative to Retinol?

Clockwise from top: 1/ Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum,  2/Ole Hendriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème, 3/Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum, 4/Indeed labs bakuchiol reface pads

Why choose Bakuchiol over Retinol?

While many people swear by retinol for its anti-aging properties, ability to brighten dull skin, treat acne and fade dark spots, it can be irritating for individuals with sensitive skin. While there has not yet been any evidence to show that topical retinoids cause birth defects, ones that are taken orally are definitely not safe.

Bakuchiol, on the other hand, is an antioxidant that comes from seeds of the corylifolia plant, found mostly in India. Traditionally, it has been to help with issues affecting the skin such as rashes, redness, and healing cuts, and more recently, it has started popping up in skincare products as an option for people who can’t use retinol and retinoids.

Is Bakuchiol a pregnancy safe alternative to Retinol?

Before starting any new skincare regime, chat with your doctor to be 100% sure that it’s safe for you to use. As with all things, it is very hard to ethically test ingredients on pregnant people and while this ingredient has been around forever, the testing on it is fairly sparse. However, Bakuchiol does not have the same properties as retinol, which indicates it would be a promising alternative for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Now if we could only figure out how to pronounce it.

Have you tried any products with Bakuchiol? Would you recommend them? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

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