Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Review | Beginners Retinol

Vitamin A is considered the anti-ageing ingredient that everyone has heard of and everyone wants to incorporate into their routines. New products are coming to the market all the time promising incredible results, but as a beginner, it can be quite daunting and confusing to pick the right one for your skin. The Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 is styled as the ‘beginners retinol’, so let’s see how this beginner got on with it!

I’m trying to avoid saying retinol during this article because although retinol is the most well-known name for this type of product, vitamin A is actually the most accurate label for the group. There’s retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin and tazarotene – all are different strengths and some are easily available while others have to be prescribed. The Crystal Retinal is retinaldehyde, so it wouldn’t be quite right to label it as retinol, despite the fact that this has become an umbrella term for vitamin A.

The Brand

Medik8 is best known for their vitamin A products – and they’re known to be very good. They offer many different types and formulas of vitamin A, catering for young skin to more mature skin that needs a heavier hit. The benefits of vitamin A are well known – it increases collagen production and cell turnover, which in turn helps to reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also been known to help reduce acne too.


Crystal Retinal 1 is known as the entry-level vitamin A in the Medik8 range. It’s billed as being super gentle and ideal for those with even the most sensitive skin, without compromising on performance. It’s perfect for those that are new to vitamin A and want to start exploring the benefits that vitamin A can offer, without the side effects that notoriously accompany retinol.


  • Visibly minimises fine lines and wrinkles
  • Firms and plumps to resurface skin texture and soften the face.
  • Hydrates to deliver supple, even-toned and youthful looking skin.
  • Reduces blemish-causing bacteria
  • Younger, smoother, more radiant skin in 4 weeks
  • Low-to-no irritation

My skin before starting

I am 25 years old and I wear suncream every day. I really don’t have a great deal of lines or wrinkles at all and obviously have quite young skin. I am at the age where I could start to consider using vitamin A but any younger wouldn’t really be necessary.

Since late last year, my skin had been very reactive and sensitive. I would get breakouts very easily, mainly around my mouth and chin, especially when using new products. I stripped my routine back to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF for four months. In early April, I added a face oil in at night time but kept my routine very basic. I was comfortable that my skin had become less reactive and decided to add in a vitamin A to deal with a few fine lines that were starting to appear on my forehead. My skin type is dry and I had been dealing with some dry patches and discolouration on either side of my mouth.


After cleansing, I apply two and a half pumps on to my face and leave it for around 30 mins before applying moisturiser. There is maybe the slightest tingling when I first apply it but this goes away by the time it dries down. It isn’t a tingle as such, but it’s quite clear that I’ve put something of strength on my skin. It didn’t leave my skin feeling dry or parched before applying my moisturiser. It does have a slight scent that I can’t quite put my finger on but it is pleasant and dissipates quickly.

I started using this twice a week as recommended to get my skin used to it for the first two weeks. After that, I have used it three times a week for a total of a month and a half now. Every morning after using this (and every morning in general), be sure to apply suncream as this will make your skin more sensitive to the sun and more prone to damage if SPF isn’t worn.

It’s important to point out that when it comes to anti-ageing benefits, it takes a long time for these visible results to come to fruition. That’s absolutely fine by me and I won’t be commenting on any anti-ageing results as I can’t say I’ve noticed any, but the other results I have seen are certainly worth mentioning.

Since using it

A common problem with vitamin A is that it causes some trouble for your skin, whether that be purging (lots of spots) or flakiness. However, Crystal Retinal promises to skip the irritation phase and go straight to the results. I didn’t really experience any purging or flakiness, which for me was an enormous plus! It’s these two side effects that can often put people off of using a vitamin A altogether, so if you’ve suffered particularly with either side effect before, this formula is definitely one to consider.

After a month and a half of use, the most unexpected result for me was that it has kept my spots at bay. After the first application, I did notice that an existing spot that had been dwindling came back to life. It was joined by another new spot close by and a very small spot on my chin and forehead. The forehead spot disappeared within a day and the one on my chin within two. The spot that I had before starting decreased in size pretty quickly and it’s new friend came to a very small head before disappearing into a puff of smoke. I would say that within a week, all spots (new and old) were gone. I could feel the pre-existing one under the skin for a little while afterwards but even that has disappeared now. The turnover was way faster than ever before. I had been struggling for months to get rid of them all for good, with many lurking under the skin, so to have them all completely gone is a great result for me!

This is the most consistently clear my skin has been in 9 months. I have not had a single new spot since that initial flurry subsided. I had been struggling with a bit of pigmentation left over from a few of the bigger spots and they lightened up quite considerably too. My skin looks nice and plump, while also looking much more even-toned.

I’ve included some before and afters to show my results, see them below!

Before and After

Left side:

I had two reoccurring breakouts in the bottom corner of my face and a small spot in the crease of my mouth. After a month’s use, these spots (that had been near constantly coming and going for months) have finally gone for good. After a few initial spots when I first added this, I haven’t had a single new spot, nor an old one reappear.

Mouth and chin:


I had a few small spots on my chin which have now cleared up. The big dry patch on the side of my mouth didn’t get any worse or irritated, which I thought it would.

Right side:


This side of my face was already pretty good, but I believe that my skin has become more even toned. I had some dryness in the creases of my nose, which has since disappeared.

Full face:


These are both horrendous pictures, but looking purely at the skin, I am so pleased. My skin is more even, less spotty, less textured and weirdly less flakey.


This has been an absolute pleasure to use. I was quite nervous to use this at first because my skin was just coming to the end of being really reactive and I didn’t want to risk setting it off again. It honestly couldn’t have gone better adding this in! This was gentle enough for sensitive skin and didn’t have any negative effects on dry skin either. I think this is one of those products that actually does suit all skin types and I couldn’t recommend this more. The difference in texture, plumpness and spots all went above my expectations and made this so worth while. It might seem a bit odd to recommend an primarily anti-ageing product without testing its anti-ageing properties for 12+ weeks, but ultimately the other results I’ve seen have been so fantastic that I would continue to use this even if it didn’t have anti-ageing results too. I’ll obviously keep using it long term and I’ll definitely be repurchasing this once it runs out!

You can purchase Crystal Retinal 1 directly from the Medik8 website.

Follow me on:



Get 20% off at with code HANNAH20

Get £10 off £40 at Space NK!

Get your first month of Beauty Pie for free! 

Shop ILIA Beauty! (affiliate) 

Published by


25 year old Beauty Writer Instagram - @smalltownbeautyaddict

2 thoughts on “Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Review | Beginners Retinol”

  1. Great post! I just switched to using MediK8 including their Crystal Retinol 1 so it is good to know that other users had positive results

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s