Anti-aging effect with bakuchiol: a vitamin A alternative

Discover the power of Bakuchiol: an effective alternative to vitamin A acid without irritation. Many people ask skin specialists about the best anti-wrinkle ingredient, and often the answer is “Vitamin A acid” (tretinoin). Although this is indeed true, it is not always told that the use of vitamin A acid can irritate the skin and sometimes cause physical complaints. Isn’t the cure worse than the disease? At Iconic-Elements we have chosen a better alternative: Bakuchiol. In this article we explain why we recommend this natural ingredient as a solution against skin aging and why we promote this alternative.

Bakuchiol: an alternative to vitamin A acid

Bakuchiol is a component found in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. This oil extract comes from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea Corylifolia plant, which is mainly found in India and China. It is a 100% natural and vegan ingredient. It has traditionally been used for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Bakuchiol is a plant-based ingredient that is gaining popularity in the skincare industry due to its proven skin benefits. Here are some additional facts about Bakuchiol:

  • Bakuchiol is considered an alternative to retinol, an ingredient known for its anti-aging properties. Although Bakuchiol and Retinol differ in chemical structure, they have similar effects on the skin.
  • Bakuchiol is a mild ingredient and does not cause side effects such as irritation, redness and flaking, which are often associated with retinol. It is therefore suitable for people with sensitive skin.
  • Bakuchiol stimulates collagen production and can counteract the formation of pigment spots. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce acne.
  • Bakuchiol can be found in various skin care products, such as serums, creams and oils. It can be used as part of a daily skincare routine to hydrate, firm and rejuvenate the skin.

And that’s exactly what we want!

Same benefits, fewer side effects

In a double-blind study, forty-four patients were asked to apply 0.5% bakuchiol cream twice a day or 0.5% retinol cream once a day for twelve weeks. In addition to wrinkles, redness and pigment spots were also assessed.

Striking conclusion: A similar improvement in wrinkles and pigment spots was seen in both groups, but… The retinol group more often reported a scaly and burning sensation as a side effect.

This study highlights that bakuchiol is not only effective against various signs of skin aging, but also shares remarkable properties with retinol. In addition, it shows some new, positive effects, including stimulating the crucial extracellular matrix component, fibronectin and fibroblast growth factor. It also contributes to accelerating epidermal repair and wound healing, highlighting the versatile benefits of bakuchiol in the fight against skin aging.

What does an extracellular matrix have to do with wound healing?

Imagine that your skin is a very special construction site. This construction site has something magical called the “extracellular matrix.” It is like the foundation or solid base on which your skin is built. This matrix is ​​important because it makes your skin firm and strong and is located in the dermis.

Now, if there’s a little wound on your skin, it should heal quickly, right? Bakuchiol is like a super worker working on this construction site. It helps stimulate certain things in the extracellular matrix, such as “fibronectin and fibroblast growth factor”. This means that bakuchiol can help your skin recover and heal faster like a magical helper! How many times faster, after 4 weeks they saw significant buildup of wound healing proteins.

The action of vitamin A acid


Tretinoin (vitamin A acid) can rejuvenate the skin and is only available with a doctor’s prescription. It stimulates the renewal of skin cells by making them flake off more quickly, and it also stimulates the production of collagen. This collagen is important for the elasticity of your skin.

From three months you will see the greatest improvement in the epidermis. You will only notice the deeper effect in the dermis after six months. Research showed that the skin-improving effect lasts for six months after you stop using the product.

An alternative to tretinoin is over-the-counter retinol, which is 100 times less potent than vitamin A acid.

Disadvantages of vitamin A acid

The higher the concentration of retinol, the greater the chance of side effects such as irritated skin, often resulting in redness and burning.

Another less discussed concern is the possibility of excess vitamin A acid being stored in your fat tissue. In other words: your body does not dispose of this surplus, but stores it. The effects of this have not yet been sufficiently investigated.

Based on the Systemic Exposure Dose (SED), you can calculate the percentage of a cosmetic product that is expected to enter the bloodstream. Suppose you bought a 2.5% jar of retinol at the drugstore and you put it on your skin every morning, then you get 200% of your daily dose of vitamin A just by applying it.n.
Because vitamin A acid is fat-soluble, it can be stored in your own fat tissue. A surplus every day means that this substance accumulates in your body. Research into the accumulation of vitamin A acid in the body is still in its infancy, but in my opinion there is enough reason to want to prevent this accumulation effect.

In addition to local skin irritation, too much vitamin A can also cause other complaints, such as a gastrointestinal disorder, osteoporosis, headache, nausea, dizziness, overall dry skin, scaling, itching and hair loss. Therefore, the recommendation is to use a maximum of 0.3% retinol.

Bakuchiol-based anti-aging: a well-functioning and safe alternative

Bakuchiol shows a similar improvement, without the side effects of retinol. Bakuchiol is also one of the few ingredients that is also suitable for people with sensitive skin.

Webshop: Firming Booster Serum

Because of the positive skin rejuvenating effect and the lack of unpleasant side effects, Iconic-Elements has developed a serum with bakuchiol as an active ingredient.

About Francis Wu

“In my dermatology practice, people often ask me about skin-enhancing products. I see what they struggle with and unfortunately too often notice that certain care products help someone out of the rain.
Because I want you as a user to be able to rely on the product you are applying, I have developed my own skincare line: Iconic-Elements. A complete skin care line that stands out because it works (evidence-based)!

More about vitamin A: Consumer safety, the problem with vitamin A and retinol – Environmental Working Group (EWG)


Olson JM, Ameer MA, Goyal A. Vitamin A Toxicity. [Updated 2020 Oct 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:

Risk assessment of vitamin A (retinol and retinyl esters) in cosmetics

Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, Notay M, Trivedi M, Burney W, Vaughn AR, Nguyen M, Reiter P, Bosanac S, Yan H, Foolad N, Sivamani RK. Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Br J Dermatol. 2019 Feb;180(2):289-296.

While you are here

If your skin care consists of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting, a serum can be an extra step to keep your skin in condition.

What is a serum? A serum is a gel-like liquid that feels thinner and lighter than a cream or ointment. Often this fluid base consists of hyaluronic acid, sometimes oil. This base is combined with concentrated active ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin B3, Bakuchiol or peptides. More about serum and how does it fit into my skin routine?

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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