What is resveratrol? Where does it come from?
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant with healing/restorative properties. It is a type of phenolic (think those powerful antiaging agents that we constantly hear about that are present in red wine and dark chocolate). It is naturally occurring in grapes (especially in the skin of red ones), blueberries (and other purple and red berries), cocoa powder, and to a lesser extent peanuts and other legumes (like tamarind and peas). It is one of the commonly secreted substances that certain plants use to heal after an injury and defend themselves from parasites and fungi attacks.
What benefits does it provide for skin care?
Due to its potent antioxidant properties, it is a powerful antiaging when adequately formulated, which can effectively trap the infamous “free radicals”, which are the unavoidable result of many naturally occurring physiological reactions in the human body or may come from external factors (such as pollution). “Free radicals” rapidly can react with many of the constituents of the skin (like collagen and keratin), permanently damaging them, which results in (premature) aging. It can also prevent outbreaks and other skin infections due to its germicidal character. Since it absorbs in the UVB region of the UV light spectrum, it may also protect skin against the damaging (higher energy part) sun light. It has a smaller molecular weight than retinol and a more “compact” structure, so it can penetrate deep into the inner epidermis, helping protect collagen, one of the sources to keep skin elastic and supple.
Any tips for incorporating it into a routine?
Resveratrol is not very soluble in water and very soluble in alcohols, so look for products that contain glycerin, butylene glycol, octyldodecanol and even isopropanol and ethanol (these last two can also help with skin penetration, but due to their drying properties, they must be sparingly added into the formula). Serums are best for incorporation of actives like resveratrol. Look for dispersing agents on the label that can reconcile all ingredients (such as PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate or polysorbates) that are not normally miscible without them.
Best result will be obtained when applied 3 times a day (use those “at home” days when you are not wearing foundation), but results will also be visible when applied twice (in the morning and at night), after cleansing and before a moisturizer. When layering, make sure you allow some time between the application of the serum and the moisturizer, so the serum can penetrate, and its ingredients will not potentially adversely interact with those of the next layer over. Optimum concentration is 1%.
What are your favorite products with resveratrol?
Look for serums that contain the solvents and humectants mentioned above. It can also be incorporated in a daily moisturizer but look for light ones as you may want to apply several times a day for results to show (and heavy night creams are not so conducive to apply so often). Toners are also ok, but they normally don’t have the ability to penetrate through the different layers of the skin as serums do, so you may not get the full benefits of collagen protection.
What is bakuchiol/ where does it come from?
Bakuchiol is a terpene with an alcohol group, which is naturally found in the “bakuchi” flower. Bakuchi is the Sanskrit name of the plant that produces this compound. Terpenes are known for having pleasant and delicious smells and are usually secreted by plants for their defense against germs or to attract insects that will allow pollination (and in turn reproduction). To my knowledge it has not yet been found naturally in other sources and so far, it has not been synthesized in a lab setting.
What benefits does it provide for skin care?
Besides being an antioxidant, which makes it an antiaging active ingredient, bakuchiol has very strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an anti-bacterial, acting as a natural preservative for skincare products. However, it does not cover all the bacterial spectrum and must be complimented by others to provide proper preservation. It is also believed that just like retinol (vitamin A), bakuchiol can promote regeneration of collagen. However, these studies are not very deep and/or extensive yet. Unlike retinol, bakuchiol does not carry the risk of irritating the skin (it may though, depending of each individual), and in fact, it has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
Any tips for incorporating it into a skincare routine?
Bakuchiol is insoluble in water, but soluble in many alcohols (just like resveratrol) and in oils. Best when formulated in oil-based toners and serums that pack these several alcohols and dispersing agents, which not only reconcile ingredients in a homogeneous blend, but can also help penetration of the active. Best when in presence of Vitamin E or BHT, which will allow to preserve it as is, so it won’t lose its properties as a powerful antiaging, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Apply after cleansing in a serum or oil-based toner, and top with a moisturizer that contains vitamin E to preserve its efficacy. Follow the same tips as above for layering. Optimum concentration 1%.
What are your favorite products with bakuchiol?
I love it in oil-based toners, which are rich in squalene and triglycerides. These are not only great solvents for bakuchiol, but they also have good penetration ability into the skin. It is important to deliver bakuchiol to the inner layers so it can properly act to protect and restore collagen, responsible for skin’s elasticity and youth.