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Bakuchiol et acné.

bakuchiol, the anti-acne ally.

As a natural active ingredient, bakuchiol in skin care is a natural alternative to retinol. It effectively fights against the signs of skin aging, without the side effects of retinol. It is also known for its anti-acne properties. How does it fight against this skin disorder? Focus.

Published January 10, 2023, by Maylis, Chemical Engineer, — 4 min read

What is acne?

Acne is a skin disease that affects the sebaceous glands, responsible for the production of sebum (a protective film on the epidermis). When these glands become clogged, the sebum is not released normally and turns into a subcutaneous pimple. On the surface of the epidermis, the sebum oxidizes in contact with the air. It turns black and forms a comedo or blackhead. Depending on the severity of the acne or the nature of the skin, these spots may crack and cause inflammation. The milky cyst then turns into a pustule, which can be both unsightly and painful.

Poor lifestyle, stress, hormonal fluctuations or genetic predisposition, the causes of acne are numerous. However, they all share one constant: the presence of the bacteria Propionibacterium Acnes, whose multiplication is favored by an excess of sebum.

Even if many believe they are rid of it after their teenage years, acne pimples can still appear on the face, neckline or back. In fact, nearly 40% of women between the ages of 25 and 40 are still subject to this skin condition, compared to only 10% of men in the same age group. This can be explained by the hormonal fluctuations to which women are more prone.

What about bakuchiol?

For a long time, retinol has been the preferred solution for the treatment of acne among teenagers and adults. Nevertheless, this compound can be aggressive to sensitive skin and/or skin already weakened by acne pimples.

For about ten years, studies have been looking at the global anti-acne effect of bakuchiol in skincare. This one acts on several levels.

  • It reduces inflammation.

    Inflammation is another skin problem affected by acne. Unfortunately, only a few options are available to directly reduce the inflammation that accompanies acne. However, studies show that bakuchiol has strong inhibitory activity against COX-2, an enzyme that contributes to the formation of prostaglandin, an inflammation mediating hormone.

  • It fights against P. acnes.

    A study shows that bakuchiol has excellent inhibitory activity against P. acnes, and is very effective in inhibiting other microorganisms such as Staphylococcus and Candida.

  • It limits the overproduction of sebum.

    Overproduction of sebum clogs the pores of the skin, allowing bacterial growth that causes inflammation, infection and visible acne. Bakuchiol works by reducing the production and therefore the activity of an enzyme, 5-α-reductase. The enzyme converts testosterone into DHT, which binds to androgen receptors in the sebaceous glands and causes excessive sebum production.

  • It promotes the healing of micro-injuries.

    It has been shown that acne-prone skin contains higher levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) than so-called regular skin. These enzymes (mainly collagenase and elastase) degrade the matrix in the acne damage and therefore delays the healing of the acne affected skin. The topical application of bakuchiol inhibits the activity of these enzymes, preventing them from interfering with the healing of the micro-lesions left by acne pimples.

Bakuchiol and Salicylic Acid: the winning combo!

A pilot clinical study showed that bakuchiol effectively reduces acne, but is more effective when combined with salicylic acid. According to the results, formulations containing 1% bakuchiol and 2% salicylic acid showed an almost 70% reduction in acne lesions and inflammation.

Sources :

  • SAURAT J. H. & al. The antibacterial activity of topical retinoids: The case of retinaldehyde. Dermatology (2002).

  • KARAKIULAKIS G. & al. Matrix metalloproteinases of epithelial origin in facial sebum of patients with acne and their regulation by isotretinoin. Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2005).

  • MARCHIO F. & al. Bakuchiol in the management of acne-affected skin. Cosmetics & Toiletries (2011).

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