Medik8's Crystal Retinal is the best I've tried and here's why
Retinol is a skincare ingredient that packs a punch. It's one of the most efficient tools for treating acne, texture, pigmentation, pore size and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Despite its brilliant benefits, the ingredient — derived from Vitamin A — is not one you want to slather on your skin twice a day. Due to its potency, side effects such as temporary dryness and sensitivity can occur.
When using a retinol product you should introduce it into your skincare routine once a week to minimise side-effects, then increase the usage to twice or three times a week once any irritation has subsided.
There are different variations and strengths of retinol which you can use depending on skin type. If you're new to retinol, start with a low percentage, such as 0.01%. The higher the concentration, the more potent the retinol is.
It's important to be patient too when first incorporating retinol into your routine. You won't see any change in your skin overnight, instead it can take up to 12 weeks before you notice a result. Stick with it though and you won't be disappointed.
One retinol product I've been using for years is the Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Stable Retinal Night Serum, and it's by far the best. It's both fast-acting and hydrating, and is quick to improve texture and combat hormonal acne — my biggest skincare concerns. Here's why I love it and why you will too.
Why we rate it
Medik8's Crystal Retinal was first launched in 2018 and what makes it unique is its use of retinaldehyde - another Vitamin A derivative that works quicker than retinol to increase cell turnover and leave your complexion smoother, softer and brighter.
The brand offers its Crystal Retinal formula in five variations, 1, 3, 6, 10 and 20 (1 being the gentlest on the scale and 20 being the strongest). For beginners, number 1 or 3 are a great place to start if you've never used vitamin A before and have sensitive skin.
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It's a cream-based serum, designed to be applied during your evening routine onto cleansed skin and followed by your moisturiser.
Alongside Vitamin A, it's formulated with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, two humectants that hydrate the skin, which combined, will minimise dryness.
Why I rate it
Firstly, this cream is fast-absorbing and has a very gentle but inoffensive scent. It's easy to massage into skin like you would with any other serum and two pumps is plenty to cover my whole face.
This has caused the least amount of irritation out of the many retinols I've tried as a beauty journalist. I use it three times a week in my routine and occasionally there's a tiny bit of dry skin on my nose, but that's all.
It doesn't disrupt how my make-up sits, and makes my rosacea, acne-prone, sensitive skin feel brighter, smoother and firmer.
One tube will typically last me three to four months, and that gets me to the very last drop.
While £45 is certainly an investment, I believe it's worth adding to your skincare regime.
And I'm not the only one, there are over 800 reviews on the Medik8 website, one customer said, "Can already see that there has been a difference in the youthfulness of my skin".
While another added: "My skin is looking fresher, plumper, and definitely less signs of ageing, with frown lines noticeably reducing".
Buy it now: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Stable Retinal Night Serum | £45 from Medik8
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