Here's Everything You Need To Know About Medik8's Strongest Retinal

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 serum review | Space NK
The skincare aisles can feel like a minefield when it comes to finding the best retinol serum for your skin. If you’re a vitamin A newbie, you need to opt for a low percentage and introduce the product into your routine slowly. Those who have dabbled before can opt for a stronger dose. British skincare brand Medik8 has made navigating the complicated world of vitamin A simpler with its wardrobe of Crystal Retinal serums.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that Medik8 use the term ‘retinal’ rather than ‘retinol’. Both are forms of vitamin A, but retinal is a superior version as it requires fewer conversions – for more information, read our beginners guide to retinol.

Medik8’s Crystal Retinal formulas start from Crystal Retinal 1, which contains 0.01% retinaldehyde, and gradually increase up to the newest addition, Crystal Retinal 20 that includes a more potent 0.2% dose of retinaldehyde.

Seeing as Medik8’s vitamin A serums are some of our bestselling retinol products, we decided to ask the team to road test the latest formula to see just how potent it is. Here is everything you need to know about the brand’s strongest retinal serum…

Shannon’s Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum review

Skin type: Combination

The product: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20, £99.00

Before and after Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum | Space NK

I’m in the process of deciding whether to experiment with ‘tweakments’, it’s currently unchartered territory for me. Up until now, I’ve been relying on vitamin A to help curb the signs of ageing and I’ve been working my way up Medik8’s Crystal Retinal ladder. I’ve used the 6 and 10 formulas, so I was ready for the 20. Prior to reviewing Medik8’s strongest formula to date, I was using Murad Retinal ReSculpt Overnight Treatment, £105.00 which I enjoyed.

I’m going to be completely honest, I expected some initial irritation given that the Crystal Retinal 20 is twice the potency of the 10, but I had zero issues. It goes on quite thick and does take a while to absorb, but trust me, the results warrant the wait time!

I didn’t notice any immediate changes – you rarely do with vitamin A, but after two weeks I definitely felt a difference in the firmness and clarity of my skin. My morning moisturiser goes on more easily too, so it’s had an impact on my skin texture.

While I used Medik8’s Crystal Retinal 20 every other day, I recommend introducing gradually if you haven’t used a strong vitamin A previously. It goes without saying if you’re skincare lover, but make sure you wear SPF the following day too!

Lynn’s Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum review

Skin type: Combination and menopausal

The product: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20, £99.00

Before and after Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum | Space NK

I’m fully signed up to Medik8’s Crystal Retinal range and the Medik8 Crystal Retinal Ceramide Eye 6, £55.00 and Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10 Stable Retinal Night Serum, £89.00 are firm fixtures in my skincare routine. I usually apply them twice a week, or every three days in the evening.

Like Shannon, I expected some tingling or redness, but I didn’t experience either. What was different to Medik8’s 10 was the opacity. No matter how early I applied it in the evenings, it still transferred onto my pillowcase.

While the photos don’t do the results justice, I’ve definitely found my skin looks plumper and more even over the last couple of days. I’ve only been using Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 for a couple of weeks, so I need to use it for at least another month to see the longer term benefits – I’m impressed so far though.

Hanitra’s Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum review

Skin type: Oily and acne-prone

The product: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20, £99.00

Before and after Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum | Space NK

I’ve been using a retinol serum regularly in my skincare routine for about two years now as I struggle with acne and acne scarring. Vitamin A, particularly retinal, has been a key ingredient to help fade my pigmentation marks. While I have used Medik8’s Crystal Retinal range before, I’ve only ever made it up to 6 so I was slightly apprehensive about jumping to 20.

My skin didn’t react with any irritation, however I want to stress that I did do a patch test and I highly recommend you do one too! If you’re familiar with Medik8’s retinal serums, you’ll know they have more of a cream like texture than serum. This is a bonus for me as I feel like it gives you slightly more control with where you’re applying it and how much. I like to focus on my cheeks as that’s where I have the most pigmentation.

While I definitely need to use the Crystal Retinal 20 for longer, I have noticed a difference across my forehead. Within a few days, my forehead felt and looked much smoother. I’ve been using this retinoid serum once a week due to its strength but might consider upping this to twice a week in the autumn.

The verdict on Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Serum

Despite only using the new Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20, £99.00 for a few weeks, all three testers will continue to use the formula. It’s worth noting that all three had used vitamin A prior to using this potent formula and Hanitra, who had the least experience, did a patch test. We highly recommend doing a patch test with any vitamin A product!

The pros: While the formula contains 0.2% retinaldehyde, Medik8 have ensured that this serum doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry, irritated or stripped. All three testers noted a change in how their skin looked and felt within just a couple of weeks.

The cons: This formula is much thicker than other vitamin A products, so it takes a while to sink in. For Lynn, the product transferred onto her pillowcase too!

More from Medik8

The brand’s retinal range might have put it on the map, Medik8’s vitamin C and hyaluronic acid formulas are equally as impressive. Put it this way, if you’re serious about your skincare, Medik8 is absolutely a brand to have not just on your radar, but in your bathroom cabinet. And, if you’re using vitamin A and have experienced any form of dryness, we recommend making a beeline for the brand’s nourishing moisturisers.

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Posted: Monday, 01 July 2024

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