Bu Gu Zhi | Nature’s retinol alternative

Bu Gu Zhi | Nature’s retinol alternative

Retinol. For some decades now, it’s been lauded as a skincare and age-defying powerhouse.

Promising quick and multitudinous results, it is known to speed up cell renewal, unclog pores, brighten skin tone, enhance skin texture, smooth lines, diminish hyperpigmentation and address free radical damage. A highly desirable list, yes? No surprises then that those experiencing acne, pigmentation problems and premature skin ageing concerns have all been pointed towards retinol to treat their skin worries.

However, retinol doesn’t come without its risks. In recent years, there have been increasing reports of retinol’s highly undesirable effects on skin. And, while formulations have improved, reports of reactions continue.

Concerns over retinol

By increasing cell turnover, retinol essentially removes several layers of skin. With thinner skin comes reduced elasticity, increased dryness, peeling, flaking, sensitivity and inflammation. In addition, tolerance of retinol takes time and therefore much care is needed to avoid using retinol too often, in too high doses or during the day. We think you’d agree, retinol is sounding far less desirable now…

An age-old alternative to retinol

When it comes to skin, we’re passionate about protecting it; reviving it with natural moisture to leave it balanced, conditioned and radiant. Retinol was therefore never going to be a solution for us. Naturally, we turned to Chinese Medicine with our quandary... Bu Gu Zhi was its answer.

What is Bu Gu Zhi?

Bu Gu Zhi, Bakuchiol, Psoralea Corylifolia Extract… this brilliant botanical has a few names. Used for centuries (if not longer) in both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, Bu Gu Zhi is a phytochemical extracted from the seeds of the Babchi plant. Traditionally it has been used to reduce inflammation and treat several skin conditions, such as psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema. Most recently, however, it’s creating quite the buzz in skincare circles due to findings that it is the first natural and safe true alternative to retinol – matching all the benefits without any of the disadvantages.

The beauty benefits of Bu Gu Zhi

A natural antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, Bu Gu Zhi mimics the effect of a retinol by stimulating cell turnover (which in turn stimulates collagen), diminishing hyperpigmentation, moisturising skin, smoothing fine lines, refining skin texture, boosting radiance and enhancing skin firmness.

You don’t just need to take our word for it either. A 2018 study cited in the British Journal of Dermatology clinically assessed the effects of Bu Gu Zhi against retinol applied topically over a 12-week study. Results showed that both decreased the appearance of fine lines and pigmentation, yet only retinol testers experienced stinging and scaling on their skin.

Further studies have since found that Bu Gu Zhi doesn’t merely help rejuvenate existing signs of skin deterioration, but also helps prevent future damage. What’s more, Bu Gu Zhi is a vegan ingredient, safe for use during pregnancy and safe before sun exposure (it isn’t photo-sensitising like retinol). Therefore, almost all skin types – including those with sensitive skin or rosacea – can use products containing this ingredient during the daytime, benefitting from its gentle yet remarkably effective skincare qualities.

Dermatology M products containing Bu Gu Zhi

Cleanse & Clear Mask
Recommended for sensitive, oily/combination and acne-prone skin, our nourishing and gently refining treatment combines Bu Gu Zhi with potent plant actives including Peach Kernel Oil, Shea Nut Butter, Tea Tree and Aloe Vera. When left on affected areas for 15-60 minutes, it rehydrates, soothes, brightens and softens. Congestion is reduced while, underneath, the skin mantle is strengthened and further breakouts prevented.

Skin Brightening Mask
Recommended for lacklustre or rosacea-prone skin, our herbal treatment blends Bu Gu Zhi with Sesame Seed Oil, Bai Zu, Dang Gui and Bai Ji to brilliant effect. Gentle enough to use each day, or every other day, this treatment should be left on skin for 15 minutes. Once washed off, skin feels soothed, tone is improved and radiance instantly boosted. In time, blemishes also diminish.

Rose Otto Face Cream
Our much-loved daily cream is an excellent choice for mature skin. Uniting Bu Gu Zhi with steam-distilled Rose Otto Essential Oil, Safflower Seed Oil and Shea Nut Butter, it powerfully moisturises and rejuvenates skin, evening skin tone while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

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