Skip to main content

Medik8 Retinol Guide

medik8 retinol



Experts in Vitamin A

Retinol (vitamin A) is the gold-standard of anti-ageing. Highly regarded by dermatologists and skin therapists alike, it is second to none when it comes to improving signs of photoageing. As the experts in vitamin A, we understand its exceptional importance in the skin.


Vitamin A is able to stimulate cellular turnover in the skin, pushing fresh skin cells to the surface for a smoother, youthful-looking complexion. This helps to unclog pores for a blemish-free complexion. Vitamin A also enhances collagen production to combat fine lines and wrinkles, and helps block the formation of pigment in the skin for brighter, more even-toned skin.

However, let’s just say it… Vitamin A has its issues. When delivered at levels high enough to have a visible effect on skin ageing, it can cause irritation in the form of stinging, redness and peeling. So we decided to do something about it.

The side effects of retinol are often associated with too much of the active being delivered too quickly. To counteract this, Medik8 developed a unique Time Release (TR™) delivery system. All of Medik8’s vitamin A serums use the active encapsulated in a micro-fluid or polymer shell. As the serum is rubbed into the skin, the encapsulation breaks down and the vitamin A is slowly released into the skin. This significantly minimises the risk of irritation and ensures that skin benefits are received slowly over a prolonged period of time. That’s why we consider all our retinol products: “intelligent retinol”. 

At Medik8, we also recommend that retinol application be phased in gradually. We have developed a ‘retinol ladder’ that allows the skin to get used to the ingredient:

At first, start with an entry level strength product, such as Retinol 3TR™ twice a week for the first 2 weeks, then once every other night for a further 2 weeks and then nightly application. Once your skin has built up a tolerance to the ingredient, you can then move on to a higher strength vitamin A.

medik8 retinol. how to use medik8 retinols


The classic form of vitamin A. Tried and trusted in numerous dermatological journals, retinol is the form of vitamin A that makes the headlines. When retinol is applied to the skin, it undergoes two conversions. First, it is converted to retinaldehyde and then to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin A; the form that can actually be utilised by the skin. It triggers cellular renewal and collagen production to give the amazing effects experienced by retinol users. We have a comprehensive retinol product collection, ranging from Night Ritual Vitamin A™ (0.2%) for absolute beginners, to maximum strength Retinol 10TR™ (1%) for experienced vitamin A users.


With innovation at our core, we just weren’t quite satisfied with our range of intelligent retinol serums. We decided to take vitamin A to the next level and introduce retinaldehyde – a next generation vitamin A molecule which is one step closer to retinoic acid than retinol. Delivering results up to 11 times faster than classic forms of retinol in Crystal Retinal 6™,1 retinaldehyde rapidly resurfaces the skin while helping rebuild collagen. Delivered in a crystal encapsulation system, the active is time released throughout the night. This means retinaldehyde is just as gentle on the skin as retinol, but has effects similar to prescription-strength retinoic acid. Unlike the other forms of vitamin A, retinaldehyde boasts direct antibacterial action, making it the ideal anti-ageing ingredient for blemish-prone skin. Available in two different strengths, start with Crystal Retinal 6™ to get your skin used to the new vitamin A, using the retinal ladder, and then move up to Crystal Retinal 10™ when your skin is ready.

medik8 crystal 6 and medik8 crystal 10

Medik8 Intelligent Retinol

As the experts in vitamin A, we have created something to suit everyone’s needs. With a fully developed range including retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl retinoate serums, you have the ultimate pick of the vitamin A’s. But just because we’ve developed out our retinoid range beyond the limits to include 3 forms of vitamin A, don’t think we’ve forgotten where we started – with the gold standard... retinol. We already have lots of existing retinol technology that sets us apart, but our latest 'Intense' innovations improve results even further.


One of the most well-known and well-researched ingredients in skincare, retinol is tried and tested and hailed as the gold standard for anti-ageing results. We will never use retinol esters (such as retinol palmitate), simply because we just don’t believe that they work.

As with all good things, there are downsides. Retinol has its issues. When delivered too quickly it can overwhelm the skin, causing irritation such as stinging, dryness and redness. Another problem we face when formulating with retinol is that it’s extremely unstable. Once it oxidises, it becomes useless. Retinol is sensitive to oxygen, heat and light. Many other brands just accept these downfalls as a side effect of using retinol. But not at Medik8.


We are not like most skincare brands. At Medik8, innovation is at our core and we did not rest until we found the solution to retinol’s problems. To begin with, we developed Retinol 3TR™: a formula so intelligent that it overcomes retinol’s traditional issues and gives you next-level vitamin A results, without compromise. Our original vitamin A serum has an intelligent formula using 2 key factors which side-step all of the issues surrounding retinol, and provide you with real results you can see.

Firstly, we use Time Release Technology™, which slowly and consistently releases retinol into the skin over time. We use technology called polymer reservoirs, which act like a dam within the skin, controlling the delivery of retinol. This helps to minimise any irritation associated with the vitamin A. We also recommend introducing vitamin A slowly into your routine with the retinol ladder which prevents overwhelming the skin, so you can get all the benefits of retinol, without the irritation.

Secondly, our serums are based on nourishing safflower oil. This not only cares for the skin with moisturising emollients, but also keeps temperamental retinol away from water. Water can accelerate the oxidation process, so our water-free formulations help to protect the retinol. We believe we were the first brand to introduce a water-free retinol serum. Oxygen is another arch nemesis of retinol. For this reason, we manufacture our retinol serums in a chamber filled with nitrogen, with no oxygen in sight. This protects retinol from the damaging effects of oxidation, and gives us the ultimate confidence in its stability over time.

Our serums contain antioxidants which protect the retinol from damaging free radicals. Finally, all of our retinol serums are produced in dark, specialist amber bottles, which helps stop light from destabilising the potent active ingredient. We use a rigorous testing process called HPLC to prove that there is as sufficient retinol in our formula after 12 months, as when we started.


Ever the innovators, we’ve developed supercharged versions of our cult retinol serums to satiate the appetites of our loyal customers. Retinol TR+ Intense features a revolutionary retinol booster, climbazole. This ingredient bolsters the anti-ageing power of retinol, without increasing its potential to irritate the skin. Not only that, but we’ve based these formulas on hydrating squalane to nourish and replenish skin in need of a little added moisture.

With all of our retinol serums featuring intelligent formulas, innovative manufacturing methods and interesting developments, you can be sure that you are getting the absolute best of the best vitamin A. Why settle for anything else when you can have Medik8?


Recently viewed