Health & Wellness -

Ingredient Spotlight: Retinol vs. Bakuchiol

Which ingredient is right for menopausal skin (and why)? Let's discuss.

By Womaness Editors     3-Minute Read

Skincare enthusiast or not, you’ve probably heard about retinol being a skincare staple. And for good reason—it’s a gold-standard ingredient with the most hardcore, scientific evidence behind it, especially for combatting fine lines and wrinkles. 

But if retinol is all the rage, what else could compare? Enter: Bakuchiol. Crowned the “natural alternative to retinol,” this plant-based ingredient (pronounced “buh-koo-chee-all") helps support the skin in a similar way to retinol with milder side effects, making it extra appealing in menopause because it can be gentler on dry, delicate, and thinning skin.

But is one better than the other? And how does Bakuchiol actually compare to clinically-backed retinol? We’re here to help you navigate so you can choose the best ingredients for your skincare routine. 

So much to love, but which is better? 

If you want to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone, you’re in luck. Both retinol and Bakuchiol can get the job done—the question is how effectively? And at what cost? 

Retinol already has extensive studies backing it, confirming its ability to stimulate cell turnover, reducing fine lines and wrinkles and evening skin tone as a result. But retinol can potentially irritate sensitive skin, causing stinging, flakiness, red skin, or extra sun sensitivity, which is why some people are more open to a natural alternative like Bakuchiol. 


"Both retinol and Bakuchiol can get the job done."


A study done in 2018 compared the effectiveness of Bakuchiol to retinol with very promising results. They both visibly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, without significant differences in their effectiveness. This study suggests that the rumors are true: Bakuchiol holds up as a gentler alternative to time-tested retinol. 

Bakuchiol also stands out from retinol in a few ways. While both ingredients provide antioxidant properties (love it!), instead of potentially irritating sensitive skin like retinol can, Bakuchiol soothes and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier, making it a superstar for sensitive skin everywhere. 

In summary: Bakuchiol is less irritating and has anti-inflammatory properties that retinol does not, but it doesn't have the many studies backing it that retinol has. If retinol is classic that will never go out of style, Bakuchiol is the remix, and we love them both. 


"If retinol is classic that will never go out of style, Bakuchiol is the remix."


What about retinol and menopausal skin? 

Because your skin becomes thinner and drier in perimenopause and menopause, your sensitivity to retinol may be heightened, especially if you’ve never used retinol before. But don’t fretit’s never too late to start, and the striking results make it a no-brainer for many women. Retinols can change the behavior of older cells so they regenerate at a faster rate (like they did when you were younger), so you’ll see results with retinol even if you begin using it later in life.  

Since menopause can dry out your complexion, a retinol formulation that also adds moisture can be a smarter choice for you. We created Plump It Up retinol face serum for this exact reason—because women in menopause should be able to benefit from retinol without any of the downsides.  


"A retinol formulation that also adds moisture can be a smarter choice."


Plump It Up has an effective 0.3% dose of the game-changing, beauty-boosting retinol...enough to improve your skin’s texture and overall look while minimizing any irritation on sensitive or thinning skin. And if you’re concerned with dehydration, we’ve got you covered: we added the power of both hyaluronic acid—a hydration hero—and moisture-retaining ceramide NG to the mix to keep things balanced and moisturized.


Can you use retinol and Bakuchiol together? 

We wouldn't want to live without retinol or Bakuchiol, and the great news is that you don’t have to! You can safely use both in the same skincare routine to harness the science-backed, time-tested power of retinol, while reducing retinol’s potential irritating effects by supplementing with Bakuchiol. 

Our favorite bedtime routine? Use Plump It Up every PM for its smoothing, tightening results, and follow it up with Overnight Magic face cream to double down on tightening and soothing your skin thanks to Bakuchiol. Hello, best of both worlds. 


More Health & Wellness 

7 Beauty Tips for Dry Menopausal Skin

Ingredient Spotlight: Hyaluronic Acid

What Should I Eat During Menopause?

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a physician or medical advice. Womaness strives to share the knowledge and advice from our own network of experts and our own research. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.