A rival to anti-ageing wonder retinol has been discovered – and could be even better

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  • Retinol – also known as Vitamin A - is the anti-ageing beauty ingredient featured in a range of facial creams and products from big name brands such as The Ordinary.

    Some of the purported benefits of retinol include; exfoliating properties, boosting collagen in the skin and helping in the fight against free radicals – unstable molecules that can cause damage to parts of the cells, including skin cells.

    And now fans of retinol will be excited to learn that scientists have unearthed a another wonder ingredient to rival retinol, and it derives from a plant.

    Bakuchiol – primarily found in the seeds of the Indian plant Psoralea corylifolia – is said to contain a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – with the latter helping to ‘mop-up’ free radicals.

    Over a 12-week period, researchers from California, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania carried out a study to examine the effect of bakuchiol on 44 participants.

    This group was randomly given one of the two interventions, bakuchiol or retinol.

    After the three-month study the scientists found that extracts of both bakuchiol and retinol helped to decrease wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation.

    However, those that had used retinol reported more stinging on application as well as more skin scaling.

    Further figures showed that more than half (59%) of peopel in the bakuchiol group showed improvement in hyperpigmentation in week 12, compared to 44% of the retinol group.

    Commenting on the study findings, Raja Sivamani, Adjacent Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, said, “For consumers who value natural products, bakuchiol provides appeal due to its origin in several plant species.

    “Although retinol may also be derived from various natural sources, it can cause unwanted side-effects that make it less comfortable to use.”

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    Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists, described the study results “promising” while emphasising that larger scale studies were needed.

    She added, “It is also worth noting that we are talking about subtle changes to the skin. Sadly, no cream can significantly turn back the clock when it comes to ageing.

    “Prevention is always better than a cure, and as UV from the sun is a major cause of skin ageing, sun protection can help keep us looking youthful for longer.”

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