Let’s Talk Skincare with Nikky’ann Episode 3; RETINOL AND BAKUCHIOL SECRETS

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We have considered a quite number of Active Ingredients in skincare ranging from Alpha Hydroxy Acids to Beta Hydroxy Acids to Vitamin C, but because the need for including these active ingredients in our day-to-day skincare routine cannot be overemphasized, we’ll be discussing briefly on RETINOL AND BAKUCHIOL.

We’ll not only define them but also are we going to shade light on their Benefits, Side Effects, Differences, Similarities and How to go about using them. This episod is really about untold Skincare Secrets


“Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that has been used for anti-aging and found in many skincare products,” says Nazarian.

It can stimulate the metabolism of skin cells and encourage collagen production. Retinol can be absorbed within the skin and, when combined with certain enzymes, it’s converted into tretinoin (the acid form of vitamin A, also known as retinoic acid).

“Using a well-formulated and stable product with retinol will visibly reduce the appearance of sun damage, brown spots, lines, wrinkles, and large pores. Its magic is in its ability to resurface the skin’s texture for a smoother, more even-toned look,” says Rouleau.


The pros of using retinol are that you will see improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, and enhanced collagen production in the skin, with improvement in skin tone.

Side Effects of Using Retinol?

“The cons of using retinol are that [over-use] can cause drying and irritation of skin. Some people with super-sensitive skin conditions like rosacea may not be able to tolerate it. It also makes you more sensitive to sunlight, leading to quicker and easier sunburns and it is contraindicated in pregnancy,” explains Nazarian.

But not to worry, here’s a Hack to Using it on Sensitive Skin.

She continues, “Retinoids can only be damaging to skin if you have a super-sensitive underlying skin condition like eczema or rosacea and can flare and enhance inflammation. Still, patients with sensitive conditions like rosacea may still be able to use a retinol, but they need to gradually introduce it into their skincare regimen, perhaps only one time weekly, and prepare their skin with a topical moisturizer before applying the retinoid.”

When Should You Start Using Retinol?

“There are no true guidelines on how early you can start a retinoid,” says Nazarian, “but if you’re old enough to be thinking about wrinkles, you should be doing something to prevent them. I find that most women benefit from starting a retinoid treatment in their late teens or early 20s.”

Similarly, Rouleau recommends retinol for those in their late 20s who have minimal to no breakout activity—as this is when cellular turnover starts to slow down. She continues, simply put, the best candidate is for those whose breakout years are behind them. If someone has sensitive, easily irritated skin, retinol is a good ingredient to prevent the look of aging. With continued use, retinol works to fade hyper-pigmentation (brown spots and patches) and give the look of smooth skin in a gentle, non-drying way.

When Should You Apply Retinol?

“Most retinoids are not photo-stable or sunlight-stable, meaning they should be kept in an opaque, well-sealed container and used only at night. Generally speaking, I suggest all of my patients begin using a pea-sized amount once weekly over their moisturizer. They would gradually increase how often, but not how much; they are using based on how their skin response. If any redness or irritation is noted the next day, you should skip that night’s application.”

Rouleau adds, “Apply your retinol serum to the entire face and neck. Wait three minutes and apply a small amount of moisturizer, if needed. Use the retinol serum for two nights on, one night off, alternating with an exfoliating acid serum and a nourishing treatment serum.” Here’s what that weekly routine with a retinol serum might look like:

  • Monday and Tuesday: Retinol
  • Wednesday: Exfoliating acid serum
  • Thursday and Friday: Retinol
  • Saturday: Hydrating serum

Rouleau breaks down why this particular schedule works: “Since retinol is pushing up skin cells to the surface at a faster rate, retinol can cause micro-peeling (invisible peeling) in most skin types, so it’s important to not use it every night. Because it takes two days for the cells to regenerate to the surface and cause the skin to get flaky, using an exfoliating serum on Wednesday is perfect to remove the surface dead cells that appear. Also, retinol may work even better when used back on the skin on Thursday, because now it can penetrate deeper into the skin because of the acid exfoliation the night before. Then, a hydrating serum is added to the mix once a week to give the skin a break, using barrier repair and nourishing ingredients to keep the skin calm and hydrated. It’s also important to do it this way simply because the skin performs its best when it has a variety of high-performance ingredients instead of the same one ingredient night in and night out.”

Having known all these about Retinol, now let’s see what Bakuchiol is.

Bakuchiol is considered to be Nature’s Alternative to Retinol. But since retinol is the gold standard anti-aging ingredient, able to tackle everything from wrinkles and blemishes to skin tone and texture, is bakuchiol really worthy of the hype? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol is 100% plant-derived, found in the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea Corylifolia plant found in Eastern Asia. Scientists have known for a while that this plant extract can have retinol-like effects on the skin: a French study published back in 2014 wrote, “We propose that bakuchiol can function as an anti-aging compound through retinol-like regulation of gene expression.” So, while it appears to be the new kid on the beauty ingredient block, it has actually had some scientific weight behind it for quite a while. “In that 2014 study, bakuchiol was formulated into a finished skincare product and was tested in a clinical case study by twice‐a‐day facial application,” explains dermatologist Sarah Shah. “The results showed that 12 weeks of treatment showed significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo‐damage.”

Bakuchiol vs. Retinol

Now, notice that we’ve said it has a retinol-like effect. That’s because it doesn’t work in the same way as retinol, but the effect it has on the skin is comparable. “Retinol and bakuchiol are not structurally similar,” says Shah. “In fact, bakuchiol bears more structural resemblance to [the antioxidant] resveratrol. However, they are very similar in functionality. When confirmed side by side in a lab study, they were shown to upregulate the same proteins and types of collagen in the skin.”

The benefit of bakuchiol over retinol is that, while retinol is heralded as a wonder ingredient, it can irritate the skin for those who are sensitive, with most people having to acclimate to it by increasing frequency and percentage slowly over time. Bakuchiol, on the other hand, has none of the side effects that can put many off trying retinol.

“Bakuchiol has actually been used as a skincare ingredient for many years for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant purposes,” reveals David Delport, Global Brand Ambassador and Head of Education for REN Clean Skincare. “It stimulates cell renewal in the epidermis for a smooth surface, giving a retinol result without the irritation.”

Why Is Bakuchiol Having a Moment?

So, why is it only now that bakuchiol is hitting the mainstream when scientists have been aware of its skin-boosting potential for some time?

Shah believes it has to do with the growing interest in natural beauty: “Bakuchiol has been popular in Ayurvedic circles for some time, but has become more mainstream as the general awareness for skin maintenance increases, and with the huge trend for vegan and natural healthy lifestyles.”

NB: If you’re interested in including a product containing any of the mentioned Active Ingredients in your skincare routine or need guide on how to go about them, do well to Contact/WhatsApp Nikky’ann on +2348167760400.

Article to be continued on Episode 4 of Let’s Talk Skincare with Nikky’ann.

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Let's Talk Skincare with Nikky'ann Episode 3; RETINOL AND BAKUCHIOL SECRETS 1
I am Nikky'ann, an Inquisitive takeover Skinfluencer, a designer and the founder of McNikky Bazaar. I am open to acquiring knowledge for progressive living, I enjoy researching and writing about Lifestyle.
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