Thursday, 28 January 2021 15:06

Scientific and Healing Benefits of Bakuchiol & Turmeric

Written by   Hemali Gunt

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.



  1. Gunt HB, Levy S. Bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinol, inhibits inflammatory markers in vitro and clinically improves appearance of aging, sensitive skin. Poster presented at: 2020 Integrative Dermatology Symposium, October 2020, Sacramento, CA.
  2. Chaudhuri RK, Bojanowski K. Bakuchiol: A retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2014;36(3):221-30. doi: 10.1111/ics.12117.
  3. Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, et al. Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing. Br J Dermatol. 2019;180(2):289-296. doi: 10.1111/bjd.16918.
  4. Gunt HB, Levy S. Bakuchiol protects against aging by upregulating procollagen type I and increasing collagen type I and elastin without the release of inflammatory cytokines. Poster presented at: 2019 Integrative Dermatology Symposium, October 2019, San Diego, CA.
  5. Vaughn AR, Branum A, Sivamani RK. Effects of turmeric (curcuma longa) on skin health: A systematic review of the clinical evidence. Phytother Res. 2016;30(8):1243–1264. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5640.
  6. Heng M CY. Topical curcumin: A review of mechanisms and uses in dermatology. Int J Dermatol Clin Res. 2017;3(1):010-017. doi: 10.17352/2455-8605.000020.
  7. Gunt HB, Levy S. In vitro anti-inflammatory activity and in vivo efficacy of a natural lip balm containing antioxidant rich turmeric for extremely dry lips. Poster presented at: 2020 Integrative Dermatology Symposium, October 2020, Sacramento, CA.

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October 2021

Skin Care Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • DMK Skin Revision Center
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  • Celluma by Biophotas, Inc