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Mode d'obtention du bakuchiol.

How Is Bakuchiol Extracted?

For several years now, there has been a new ingredient in the world of skin care: bakuchiol. This ingredient is recommended for mature skin and acne and is a good alternative to retinol. But where does bakuchiol come from? How is it extracted?

What is Bakuchiol?

It is a phenol isolated in 1966 and extracted from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia (Bakuchi or Babki) and belongs to an important group of natural compounds called meroterpenoids. P. corylifolia is widely used in traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) and Chinese medicine to treat numerous diseases such as psoriasis, leukoderma, leprosy, acne, and inflammatory skin conditions.

In skin care, bakuchiol is recognized as a natural and safe alternative to retinol (a vitamin A derivative). Nevertheless, bakuchiol does not share structural similarity with retinol. Instead, the way it approaches this active ingredient is by functional analogy, i.e., it mimics its dermocosmetic properties.

Indeed, like retinol, bakuchiol stimulates cell renewal and the synthesis of certain proteins essential for skin firmness (collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, fibroblasts).

It is gentle and suitable for sensitive or blemish-prone skin and, unlike retinol, does not cause unpleasant side effects. But how is it obtained?

Bakuchiol Is Usually Obtained by Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction involves separating a compound from a solid raw material using a liquid solvent in which the compound to be extracted and isolated is soluble. This process involves several steps:

  1. The solvent (usually hexane) and the powder from the seeds of P. corylifolia L. are mixed within a vessel.

  2. The solution is filtered.

  3. The solvent is evaporated using a rotary vacuum evaporator to obtain a dried, brownish, sticky extract.

Although good extraction yields can be obtained with this method, n-hexane remains an environmentally harmful and hazardous solvent because it is highly flammable. New extraction methods are currently being developed in the cosmetics industry.

A New Synthetic Route for Bakuchiol.

In order to avoid environmentally harmful solvents such as hexane or methanol, researchers worked on extracting the oil of babchi seeds with carbon dioxide and then further enriching it with bakuchiol using the technique of molecular distillation.

Extraction of compounds with CO2 dates back to the 1970s. At that time, it was an alternative to the use of conventional extraction solvents, which were often environmentally harmful and damaging. CO2 a suitable gas for the extraction of plant material. Although this type of extraction is very expensive, it provides a high quality vegetable oil from babchi seeds (biochemical composition almost the same as that of the seeds in origin). The principle is simple: carbon dioxide (CO2) flows through the plant material, which in turn is subjected to low temperature and high pressure. The active molecules of the babchi, such as bakuchiol, are extracted naturally before entering another chamber. In this new chamber, the temperature and pressure are controlled to separate the active components of babchi from the CO2.

The extract obtained by the method described above is then subjected to molecular distillation for the enrichment of bakuchiol. This is a distillation under vacuum that isolates the molecules and thus the bakuchiol.

Sources :

  • SANKAR U. & al. Enrichment of bakuchiol in supercritical carbon dioxide extracts of chiba seed (Psoralea corylifolia L.) using molecular distillation–response surface methodology. Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering (2009).

  • MUJEEB M. & al. Extraction, quantification, and cytokine inhibitory response of bakuchiol in Psoralea coryfolia Linn. Separations (2020).

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