There is often a vast misunderstanding that babchi oil and bakuchiol are the same things. However, they are completely different, and this assumption may even cost you the health of your skin.
These ingredients are commonly found in anti-aging skincare products designed to slow or reverse signs of premature aging, but one should be avoided at all costs.
Keep reading to learn more!
What is Bakuchiol?
Bakuchiol (ba-koo-chee-ol)was discovered and isolated in 1966 by a group of researchers, who named it after the Sanskrit version of the plant (Latin name Psoralea corylifolia) ‘babchi.’
Bakuchiol is created under very specific lab requirements via the molecular extraction of babchi seeds for a purity level of 99% or greater in order to be used in skincare. We’ll cover more about why this is so important later on in this article.
This exotic ingredient is grown almost exclusively in India and requires careful planting, pruning, and harvesting to ensure the highest quality of babchi seeds.
In short, bakuchiol is a lesser-known active ingredient that is used to reduce visible scarring, dark spots, and fine lines and wrinkles whilst boosting collagen production for a plumper, more youthful appearance. There are also lots of benefits for those with acne-prone skin since it is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent.
For maximum benefit, the active ingredient percentage should be about .5-2% in skin care.
What is Babchi Oil?
Babchi (bab-chee) oil is simply the unrefined form of bakuchiol. The babchi seeds are cold-pressed to release this oil that is used on its own or as an additive to products in ancient Indian cultures.
These ancient medicines use babchi oil as a cure to various disorders due to its antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory benefits, but remember to always see a doctor as needed.
Like bakuchiol, babchi oil is high in compounds that mimic the skincare benefits of retinol (which is also known as Vitamin A) while providing a greater punch of antioxidants and overall causing fewer side effects.
However, there is a dark secret about babchi oil… stay tuned to learn more!
Cons of Bakuchiol vs. Babchi Oil
Babchi oil is much more cost-effective than bakuchiol since all someone needs to do to make it is press the seeds. Bakuchiol, on the other hand, requires special equipment to separate only certain molecules and discard the rest. This can get expensive, especially since many labs hold a monopoly over the market and are able to price gouge.
Additionally, bakuchiol is overall more difficult to find online and in-person, once again due to the fact that it’s simply not as easy to make as its babchi oil counterpart.
Quick note: a lot of labels will list an ingredient as “bakuchi oil,” which might throw you for a loop. However, bakuchi oil is simply another name for babchi oil.
Cons of Babchi Oil vs. Bakuchiol
Remember when we mentioned babchi oil’s dark secret? Let’s talk about that.
Retinol gets a bad reputation due to its ability to mess up the skin’s natural photosensitivity, leading to premature signs of ageing… which is ironic considering retinol’s entire purpose is to prevent aging!
Babchi oil has the same problem. There are many compounds in this ingredient that increase skin’s photosensitivity to UVA rays which leads to sunburns, sunspots, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Bakuchiol, on the other hand, is molecularly refined to remove these harmful compounds. In order to be used for manufacturing purposes, bakuchiol must have a purity rating of at least 99% to avoid damaging skin cells.
If it has less than a 99% purity level, the solution must be labeled as “babchi oil” or “Psoralea corylifolia extract.” Always read the ingredient list of a product before purchasing, especially if it’s advertised as including bakuchiol.
Pros of Bakuchiol vs. Babchi Oil
Babchi seed oil and bakuchiol have the same chemical properties and skin benefits. The only major (and extremely significant) difference is that bakuchiol does not contain phytochemicals that increase the skin’s photosensitivity.
Additionally, there is another level of consumer security when it’s known that they’re buying a product with a purer ingredient. Nobody wants to use a skincare product that is contaminated with stuff that isn’t even listed on the ingredient label!
Bakuchiol is either listed as “bakuchiol” or “Sytenol A” on an ingredient list. Anything else written means that it is not 99% pure bakuchiol and should be avoided.
Pros of Babchi Oil vs. Bakuchiol
Truly, the only benefit of ever using babchi oil over bakuchiol is that it’s easier to find. There are only a handful of companies that provide true bakuchiol in their products, while there are thousands more that use babchi oil.
Always stick with bakuchiol in products that have at least .5-2% of it in its formulation, so you know that it’s actually doing something. You can always check the ingredient list on the back of the packaging to check for this information.
Babchi oil contains phytochemicals that interact with your skin’s natural UV protection properties and makes you more susceptible to UVA skin damage, such as wrinkles, sun spots, thin skin, and other signs of premature aging, not to mention painful sunburns.
Babchi oil will be listed as “babchi oil,” “Psoralea corylifolia plant extract,” or “bakuchi oil.” Bakuchiol will be listed as “bakuchiol” or “Sytenol A” on an ingredient label. It’s just as important to know what you’re slathering on your face as it is to know what’s in the food you eat, so always read your labels.
Basically, stay away from babchi oil.