In the world of skincare, retinol is revered as the gold standard to prevent and minimize signs of aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. (That is, of course, in addition to sunscreen!) However, as potent and protective as it is, it can also cause dryness and sensitivity, resulting in the unfortunate but aptly named “retinol uglies.”

Luckily, another superstar ingredient comes to the rescue to yield the benefits of retinol while minimizing the potential for irritation and reactivity. Enter: bakuchiol.

What Is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-KOO-chee-all”) is an antioxidant that derives from the babchi plant. Given that it’s a plant-based alternative to retinol, it’s a great addition to an anti-aging skincare regimen.

However, since it’s also gentle and vegan, this targeted treatment is equally beneficial for those who:

  • have dry or sensitive skin
  • grapple with inflammatory skin conditions
  • aim to stick to a vegan and/or clean skincare routine

Benefits of Bakuchiol

Alas, here are some of the key benefits of this potent anti-aging ingredient.

1. It Minimizes Wrinkles Without Irritation

Again, if your skin can’t quite tolerate retinol but you’re still yearning to minimize signs of aging and dark spots, bakuchiol comes to the rescue.

A randomized, double-blind 2018 study found that bakuchiol and retinol significantly reduced wrinkles in participants to similar degrees. However, the bakuchiol group benefited from fewer instances of skin scaling and stinging, giving bakuchiol the upper hand in this anti-aging faceoff.

2. It Reduces Hyperpigmentation

In the same study cited above, 59 percent of participants in the bakuchiol group experienced improvements in their hyperpigmentation—both in terms of pigment intensity and affected surface area.

Similar results were discovered in the retinol group, demonstrating once again that just because bakuchiol is gentle doesn’t mean it lacks the powerful potential to benefit your skin.

3. It’s Clean and Natural

While the main benefits of bakuchiol are its ability to address signs of aging and dark spots, its feature as a vegan, clean, and natural ingredient shouldn’t be underestimated.

While not all synthetic ingredients are “bad,” it’s a worthy choice to find plant-based skincare swaps when and where possible. After all, your skin absorbs ingredients—both good and bad, intentional and otherwise—that may end up circulating in your bloodstream. For that reason, it’s smart to be mindful of what you put onto your body and use high-quality, clean ingredients when available.

Final Thoughts

While bakuchiol may seem like it’s an emerging anti-aging ingredient, it’s actually been clinically studied as far back as 1984. Plus, it’s been traditionally used for generations in Ayurvedic medicine to increase skin cell turnover and boost collagen production.

Bakuchiol yields benefits that include fewer wrinkles and fine lines, greater skin elasticity, and lighter dark spots—all at low risk of sensitivity upon application and from sunlight alike.

However, be sure to look for a clean formula that also includes other antioxidants and protective ingredients to support skin barrier function. Moreover, use it consistently in your routine to experience these benefits to the fullest extent.

Add bakuchiol into your anti-aging skincare regimen with Goldfaden MD’s newest product, Radiance Repair Daily Renewal Serum.

Before summer begins, there are a few tips that we always recommend going into a season with arguably the most potential for skin damage. We spoke to our co-founders Lauren and Lisa Goldfaden to get their must-do practices to keep skin looking fresh, youthful and sun-damage-free.


Invest in a Vitamin C serum. This must-have vitamin brightens skin by reducing the appearance of brown spots (especially prominent in the Summer months due to increased sun exposure), boosting healthy collagen production, calming inflammation and neutralizing free radicals with its antioxidant benefits. My favorite is our Brightening Elixir – an advanced brightening and antioxidant serum that aids against free radical damage while leaving skin feeling hydrated and looking radiant.

Add exfoliation into your regimen: Exfoliation in the Summertime is particularly important to slough off dead skin cells and prevent oil build-up – which results in congestion. AHA acids (my favorite is Lactic!) are perfect for Summertime because they are a more gentle form of exfoliation which essentially softens the dead skin away which increased overall brightening. Lactic acid has an added benefit that helps improve the skin’s natural moisture factor or the way the skin keeps itself hydrated (it’s the base of our Fresh A Peel product!).

Do moisturize. I like to lighten up my moisturizer in the Summertime so that I don’t neglect this important step. With higher temperatures, the skin gets parched and can lead to dryness so it’s important to lock in hydration and create a barrier of protection with your moisturizer to prevent dryness and irritation. Try our Vital Boost which hydrates and nourishes skin complexion.


Don’t underestimate the importance of SPF! This is a “don’t-leave-home-without” for me and in the Summertime it is even more important as the days are longer and we’re in the sun more. I always carry an SPF mist with me so that I can easily reapply throughout the day too. A favorite is Soleil Toujours Organic Set + Protect Micro Mist SPF 30.

Avoid heavy makeup. Humidity and heat (along with a heavy layer of makeup) impact the ability of your skin/pores to breathe which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Consider lightening up (at least in the daytime!).

Don’t forget about your BODY (and LIPS): Oftentimes, we are so concentrated on just our face, but it’s equally important to care for your lips and body too. Check out our Bodycare Collection and NEW Lip Therapy Restoring Lip Treatment.

In anticipation of our biggest launch yet, Lip Therapy, we sat down with Dr. Goldfaden to learn all about the lips and why we need to protect them. 

Please explain the anatomy of the lips and why they are more delicate and more easily dried out than the rest of the skin?

The lips are almost continuous with the internal parts of our body – that is to say, the lips are the transition area between the skin and the mucosa (the inner lining of the mouth). The skin overlying the lips is extremely thin and frail covering large amounts of blood vessels. The lip tissue’s cell turnover is much quicker than our facial skin. The stratum corneum, the dry scaly part of the skin and what we exfoliate off, do not really form and is almost nonexistent on the lip. The lips have no oil glands and no real protective barrier and so they dry out quickly. Many people who breathe more heavily through their mouths (mouth breathers) have the constant movement of air which can lead to dehydration.

What are some common ways we dry and damage our lips?

Since the lips have no protective barrier, climate and weather can affect the health of the lips. Wind, temperature and ultraviolet light can damage and dry out the lips. The Sun can damage the outer layer of the lips and cause them to not function properly.

Constant inflammation of the lips, which comes from external sources such as foods, spices, smoking/cigarettes, eating hot food, makeup and artificial coloring found in glosses or lipsticks are all considered ‘irritants. Excessive licking and biting the lips can also cause damage. 

Since we may be wearing them for a while, are masks good or bad for the lips?

Wearing a mask is actually more protective than not. Masks stop water loss from the lips, protect against the sun, wind, extreme temperatures and keep humidity in. Negative side effects could be artificial dyes in the mask’s material. Look for masks free of artificial dyes and made from natural fibers.

“The best protection for lips is prevention. Once you find a lip balm or chapstick you like, buy a bunch and keep one in each bag, night table and coat!”

Which Ingredients should we look for in a lip treatment?

Understand which ingredients are helpful, as some products actually dry the lips out! Optimal ingredients to use are Sea buckhorn oil (promotes hydration and elasticity), Borage oil (anti-inflammatory, calming, anti-oxidant) and Vitamin E (helps protect against free radical damage).

What to stay away from if your lips are chapped?

  • Citrus
  • Matte lipsticks
  • Menthol, Camphor or Eucalyptus products – as they may sting
  • Lip plumping products
  • The elements (wind, sun, etc.) – Cover your face with a scarf when outdoors
  • Biting or picking
  • Salty food
  • Spicy food
  • Acid-based skincare products