Winter wreaks havoc on the skin. From cold temperatures to low humidity levels, the skin may be left dehydrated and more vulnerable to environmental stressors. Scientific evidence suggests a recent rise in hyper-reactivity skin conditions, which is exacerbated by these cold weather conditions, as well as wearing masks for prolonged periods in today’s unique public health environment. Skin is left wanting for moisture and gentle skin care solutions – cue the scientific and healing benefits of bakuchiol and turmeric.
For many people, the skin on the face can be very sensitive, especially for those with sensitive or compromised skin conditions. For sensitive skin, commonly used antiaging ingredients, such as retinol, can have irritating effects. Due to this, many in the dermatology community are looking to understand the efficacy of gentler, nature-based formulations and how they can be used to positively impact skin health, especially in those with skin sensitivities.
Over the past few years, promising data on bakuchiol’s antiaging effects have emerged. Bakuchiol, an extract from psoralea corylifolia, or the “babchi” plant, is a natural ingredient that is well-tolerated by sensitive skin. With antiaging and anti-inflammatory properties, bakuchiol has been clinically shown to improve photo-damaged, aging sensitive skin.1
In a study published in 2014, results demonstrated significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness, an overall reduction in photo-damage – without undesirable retinol effects like irritation and dry, flaking skin.2 Another recent study showed that although bakuchiol and retinol both significantly decreased wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, retinol users reported more facial skin scaling and stinging.3
In vitro studies found that cells treated with bakuchiol exhibited higher procollagen type I production than untreated cells. Additionally, significant collagen type I and elastin increases were observed in post-ultraviolet B treated tissues, similar to retinoic acid, demonstrating its antiaging properties and supporting its use in topical treatments as a natural alternative to retinol in slowing skin aging.4
Lips play an important role in both functionality and aesthetics, but at their core, they are actually quite fragile. Lips are highly susceptible to water loss and ultraviolet damage, as they only have three to five layers of stratum corneum, lack sebaceous glands and hair follicles, and have very few melanocytes. Thus, they are missing the typical defense mechanisms that skin usually produces to protect itself, which means they are even more vulnerable to environmental exposures.
Furthermore, with masks constantly rubbing up against one’s lips, the impact is felt. With more heat and decreased humidity under a mask, barrier homeostasis is disrupted and there is increased dryness and cracking. Depending on the fabric, friction can occur when someone is simply speaking or moving. Individuals may also be licking their lips more under their masks, resulting in dry and cracked lips.
One solution becoming increasingly popular in cosmetics and skin care products is turmeric, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory advantages. Turmeric, a vivid yellow-orange spice that is common in Middle Eastern cooking, has also been shown to have antimicrobial and wound-healing properties, as well as its root is used in medicine to manage pain.
Multiple studies have noted statistically significant improvement in skin disease severity in groups treated with turmeric or curcumin, an active component of turmeric, compared with control groups.5 One 2017 study found that sunburns, photo-damaged skin, wounds and surgical scars were much improved with frequent applications of topical curcumin.6
Currently, therapeutic benefits in regard to lip care are being explored. A natural lip balm containing turmeric was tested on both cultured tissues and human skin. The research found that it replenished the lips’ moisture barrier and improved hydration to repair dry, sensitive lips. Turmeric protects the skin by neutralizing free radicals and its anti-inflammatory properties block the molecule that causes inflammation to help skin heal over time. This in vitro and in vivo, clinical data was unveiled at the 2020 Integrative Dermatology Symposium.7
Clients today are seeking nature-based solutions that address their skin care needs, whether sensitive or aging skin. Science shows that natural ingredients like the retinol-alternative bakuchiol and the antioxidant-rich turmeric can be both gentle and powerful – supporting skin health amidst the harsh daily conditions skin and lips face each day.