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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Retinoids made simple: Medik8 Crystal Retinal overview

Two of the commonest retinol questions I get are “how do I get began?” and “how do I do know when it’s secure to make use of one thing stronger?“. Whereas I wrote an excellent detailed information on all issues retinol, right this moment I need to share a model that takes the guesswork out of this fabulous however tough ingredient: The Medik8 Crystal Retinal line!

My overview will probably be particularly on the Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6, however the remainder of the road share typically the identical components, texture, and utilization expertise. The primary distinction is the power of retinal used.


What’s it
Clinically confirmed to supply unimaginable age-defying outcomes. Suppose visibly brighter, firmer and smoother-looking pores and skin in only one tube. In contrast to others, Crystal Retinal is encapsulated in a patented crystal construction and housed in an progressive airless tube – for enhanced stability till the final drop.

Finest suited to
Dry, regular, or mixture pores and skin sorts that want a step-by-step guided strategy to utilizing retinol. Oily pores and skin sort may discover this too heavy and need to skip moisturizer, and people delicate to perfume may need think about different choices.

Issues to notice
Alcohol-free however does include perfume, particularly Coumarin, which is a possible allergen.

An airless tube with a pump dispenser, which ensures you may get each final drop of the product out whereas nonetheless sustaining ingredient freshness and efficacy.

A tender citrus-vanilla scent that rapidly dissipates. I personally prefer it!

A mousse-like lotion that spreads simply, however does take a bit longer to completely set and take in.

A satin, virtually blurred end as soon as the product absolutely absorbs (~30 seconds). Pores and skin feels comfy with no emotions of heaviness.

Out there For
$53 – $106 for 30ml on Skinstore (JENNY for 25% off), CultBeauty, Look Unbelievable, Dermstore, and Face the Future relying on power.

Medik8 Crystal Retinal Serum

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6 Substances

Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Isododecane, Cetearyl Olivate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cyclodextrin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Squalane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Hydroxyacetophenone, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Rubus Chamaemorus Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Retinal, Alumina, Isostearic Acid, Lecithin, Sodium Polyaspartate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Isostearate, BHT, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Dipteryx Odorata Bean Extract, Coumarin, Purple 4, Titanium Dioxide/CI 77891.

The star ingredient is clearly retinal, and Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6 makes use of 0.06% retinal, which is why it’s low on the ingredient listing. Retinal is usually used at low %, something too sturdy will simply irritate your pores and skin and trigger peeling.

Retinal is a part of the retinoid household, and whereas not as sturdy as Tretinoin, it’s nonetheless proven to scale back fantastic traces and wrinkles rather well with out irritating the pores and skin! It additionally works as much as 11 instances sooner than retinol1, one other frequent over-the-counter retinoid.

Different retinoids compared
Primarily based on this household tree, retinal is without doubt one of the most potent retinoid you may get with out a prescription!

What makes Medik8’s retinal more practical is their encapsulation know-how. Based on Dr. Meghan Feely, board licensed dermatologist “The target is to extend the steadiness of retinol, enabling it to penetrate extra deeply into the pores and skin, whereas mitigating potential unwanted effects“.2 The outer layer of the encapsuled retinol additionally supplies some further moisturizing advantages!

Antioxidants: 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (each oil soluble vitamin c types, Vitamin E (additionally an emollient)
Squalane, Carrot Seed Oil (additionally has antioxidant advantages), Fatty Alcohol
Humectants: Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid
Anti-inflammatory: Japanese Honeysuckle Flower Extract

Not a ton of fancy substances, however virtually all the pieces that’s featured on this retinal serum is well-researched and efficient. There are lots of emulsifiers and thickeners although, which isn’t a foul factor, and would clarify the beautiful texture.


  1. Use within the evenings solely. Retinoids can improve photosensitivity (and actually simply sensitivity general) so it’s finest to make use of at night time. 
  2. After your cleaning and firming step, check out the serums you will be utilizing in your routine. Water-based serums ought to go first, or in the event that they’re all oil-based, then the order ought to go from mild to heavy.
  3. If all of your serums are oil-based and with an analogous texture, then apply the Medik8 Crystal Retinal first for efficacy, or apply it final to scale back potential irritations.
  4. Be sure you apply to dry pores and skin, in any other case it is truly more durable to soak up. Encapsulation makes the components oil-soluble, so its results are diminished on damp pores and skin! Medik8 Crystal Retinal Serum texture
  5. 2 pumps must be sufficient on your face and neck.
  6. Begin sluggish at a few times every week, then slowly improve your dosage till you’re feeling comfy utilizing this nightly.
  7. Whereas this components is extra emollient than previous retinal serums I’ve tried, it is nonetheless finest to use a moisturizer afterwards to attenuate dryness.


Should you’re a retinoid beginner or have delicate pores and skin, be certain to start out with Crystal Retinal 1, which is the bottom retinal dosage at simply 0.01%.

Medik8 put collectively a useful instance routine, you needn’t observe it precisely, but it surely’ll provide you with an thought of the best way to add the Crystal Retinal Serum in your routine.

Utilization Expertise & Outcomes

✅ Light however efficient

Whereas it has a decrease retinal % than the Maelove Moonlight Serum, the encapsulation know-how + antioxidant enhance give them comparable outcomes. Nothing dramatic, however wonderful at stopping pores and skin texture and new fantastic traces from forming. No adjustments in pores and skin tone although.

As for its gentleness, I’m ready to make use of Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6 with no points even when my pores and skin is on the delicate aspect. I can solely think about how mild 3 and even 1 feels. The Inkey Listing Retinol continues to be my #1 decide for a first-time retinol, however Medik8’s can be an in depth second.

✅ Good phased system for retinol freshmen

In a world with 1,000,000 retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid choices, it may be a nightmare deciding which one to start out with, and when to improve. Medik8 takes all of the guessing sport out by creating 4 completely different ranges of their retinal serum, and while you’re carried out with one, simply transfer to the subsequent degree!

As a result of your pores and skin is already used to the components, there will probably be no surprises while you improve. The distinction in retinal % is low sufficient to not trigger irritations, but additionally not so low you may’t discover any enhancements.

❓ Distinctive texture won’t be for everybody

Whereas the feel isn’t heavy, it’s undoubtedly not your typical serum texture. It feels extra like a moisturizer, and in case your pores and skin is tremendous oily you’ll need to move or have this double as your night time cream. I personally just like the fluffy lotion texture, however my dry pores and skin craves emollience and I don’t thoughts massaging a bit extra for the serum to completely set.

Medik8 Crystal Retinal Serum texture

💸 Decrease % for greater price

Whereas very low % of retinal is required to be efficient, Medik8’s % are nonetheless decrease comapred to different manufacturers. For instance, the Crystal Retinal 6, which is the third degree of their retinal line simply has 0.06%, whereas different manufacturers (see under for detailed comparability) supply 0.1% or greater at comparable worth factors.

I don’t assume the Medik8 Crystal Retinal serum is much less efficient per se, as the general components issues too, however the % distinction is critical, particularly when you think about the value.

What others say

After a few days, the feel of my pores and skin was method smoother. The massive pores on my t-zone had shrunk. And my pores and skin has a beautiful glow.

Lovely With Brains

Like that you would be able to go up in strengths as your pores and skin will get extra tolerant. Have adopted the directions religiously and Learn extra about overview stating Smells nice 😊have had no irritation. Makes my pores and skin so tender once I get up.

Laura, oily pores and skin

I’ve massive pores, combined pores and skin with occasional breakout. With this serum i’ve had every day large breakouts on my chin. I’ve used it for five months at first hoping its simply purgeing however its been too lengthy.

Bruna, oily/delicate pores and skin

Medik8 Crystal Retinal Serum alternate options

🌵 Youth To The Individuals Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum
Comprises 0.15% retinal + 5% niacinamide for a improbable anti-aging combo, plus ceramides, squalane, and botanical oils to nourish the pores and skin. Perfume-free. This to me is equally mild and $40 cheaper than Crystal Retinal 10!

🌙 Maelove Moonlight Retinal Tremendous Serum
The perfect valued retinal imo. Has a particularly comparable utilization expertise to the Medik8, from the sunshine scent to the feel, however Maelove options 0.11% retinal for a stronger punch. The model does have a gentler retinol choice (0.25% retinol) that will probably be extra newbie pleasant.

🧈 Kiehl’s Micro-Dose Anti-Ageing Retinol Serum
Makes use of retinol as a substitute of retinal, however at an undisclosed %. Has an analogous texture to Medik8 and doubtless comparable in power to Crystal Retinal 3 ~ 6. Love that it incorporates peptides for an additional anti-aging enhance!

💧 The Inkey Listing Retinol
If you’d like a no-fuss newbie pleasant retinol my #1 decide will all the time be this one. It makes use of Granactive Retinoid, which is even gentler on the pores and skin, plus the $10 makes it tremendous inexpensive as properly.

Last Verdict

  • Substances
  • Packaging
  • Texture/Software
  • Efficiency
  • Value

There isn’t any doubt that the Medik8 Crystal Retinal is a good looking product, and lots of thought went into the packaging and components to maximise product efficacy. Their phased system can also be good, permitting customers to progressively improve their retinol dosage whereas minimizing irritations.

I totally loved utilizing my Crystal Retinal 6 however with so many choices out there now, delivering worth is important, and that is the place Medik8 falls quick for me. Its worth is simply too excessive, with their Crystal Retinal 10 at $106 whereas nonetheless having decrease % than extra inexpensive rivals.

Clearly if price is not a problem and also you need a secure, guided strategy to retinol, Medik8 is a superb choice. However in case you’re a seasoned retinol consumer, this is able to be a move for me.


  • Which Medik8 Crystal Retinal ought to I begin with?

    Should you’re a newbie and have delicate pores and skin or simply need to play it tremendous secure, begin with Crystal Retinal 1.

    Should you’re a newbie with extra resilient pores and skin, or have had some expertise with retinol, you can begin with Crystal Retinal 3.

    Should you’re an skilled retinoid consumer, you can begin with Crystal Retinal 6!

  • How lengthy does a tube of Medik8 crystal retinal final?

    With every day use it’ll final you about 10 weeks, however with the really helpful phased utilization, a tube can last as long as 5 months.

  • Is Medik8 Crystal Retinal good for pimples?

    Retinal is nice for concentrating on early comedones and rising pores and skin cell turnover, each of that are useful for delicate to reasonable pimples. Nonetheless, the Cetearyl Alcohol and Stearic Acid on this components may be comedogenic. If you realize these substances are problematic on your pores and skin, I might search for a unique retinal serum.

Article Sources

To maintain my content material correct and reliable, I depend on peer-reviewed research, articles from respected tutorial establishments, and quotes from licensed healthcare professionals to again my claims. No woo-woo clickbait nonsense right here!

  1. Siegenthaler, G., et al. “Retinol and Retinal Metabolism. Relationship to the State of Differentiation of Cultured Human Keratinocytes.” Biochemical Journal, vol. 268, no. 2, June 1990, pp. 371–78, https://doi.org/10.1042/bj2680371.

  2. Kilkeary, Alanna. “Why Encapsulated Retinol Is Good for Delicate Pores and skin.” Skincare.com, Make-up.com, 27 Sept. 2021, www.skincare.com/expert-advice/all-expert-advice/what-is-encapsulated-retinol.

Product was supplied for overview issues, however all opinions are 100% trustworthy and my very own. This submit incorporates affiliate hyperlinks, and every buy helps cowl the
price of operating this weblog at no further price to you! Full disclosure

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