Is retinol’s reign over?
Up until now, no other retinoid was a serious threat to its OTC supremacy. Everything else was too gentle to make a dent on wrinkles or too unstable to be of an any use.
Those days are over. Meet retinaldehyde, a form of vitamin A that promises to work faster than retinol – and without the irritation, too!
Is it too good to be true? I’ve put Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6 to the test for the past few weeks to find out:
Retinol doesn’t work. Retinoic acid does.
For retinol to work its magic on wrinkles, it must be converted into retinoic acid. The conversion goes like this:
Retinol → Retinaldehyde → Retinoic acid.
You see it now, don’t you? If you use retinaldehyde from the start, you’d get retinoid acid in one step. And that’s what your skin is really after.
The fewer steps it takes a retinoid to convert into retinoic acid, the better it works. Don’t take my word for it. Science agrees too:
- A 1999 study found that retinaldehyde “has many of the properties of tretinoin in its beneficial effects on photoaging”. It reduces UVA damage, boosts collagen and repairs elastin fibers.
- A 2005 study confirms its collagen-boosting abilities and suggests retinaldehyde works even better when paired with other antioxidants (no one likes to play alone).
- A 2013 study proves it’s just as good at fading dark spots. It works by reducing melanin concentration in the skin.
- A 2002 study discovered its has powerful antibacterial properties that kill P.Acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.
- A 2014 study paired it with glycolic acid and noted this combo is effective at treating mild to moderate acne even during the sun exposure period – without irritating skin.
To sum it all up: retinaldehyde fades away wrinkles, dark spots and acne – just like retinol.
One more thing: Medik8 has microencapsulated retinaldehyde. In plain English, microencapsulation is a technology that releases retinaldehyde into the skin slowly over a period of a few hours instead than all at once. That makes it gentle enough for sensitive skin too.
Retinaldehyde works… overtime. Those wrinkles weren’t formed in a day. They won’t disappear in a day.
In the meantime, why not use something that plumps up skin so much, those fine lines look way smaller? That’s a job for moisture magnets like hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid steals moisture from the air and gives it to the skin so it can stay plump all day.
FYI, this plumping effect isn’t all hyaluronic acid does. This moisture magnet can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water so it deeply hydrates skin from within and gives it a lovely glow, too.
Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion
Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6 has a lightweight, orange-coloured texture that spreads easily on the skin and absorbs quickly.
I’ve been using it for a month now and the results are very similar to retinol: after a couple of days, the texture of my skin was way smoother. The large pores on my t-zone had shrunk. And my skin has a lovely glow.
But what about wrinkles? Let’s be honest here: you won’t see a massive reduction in 4 weeks. Retinaldehyde, like all retinoids, demands consistency. Keep using it and you’ll see results.
Also, strength matters. The higher the concentration of retinaldehyde, the faster it works. Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6 has 0.06% stabilized retinaldehyde, but the brand also makes a Crystal Retinal 10 version that has 0.1% stabilised retinaldehyde. As always, start small and build up dose overtime.
Unless you have oily skin, this alone won’t be moisturising enough for you. I apply an oil on top to give my skin the extra moisture it needs during the night.
So, should you switch? If your skin’s sensitive or you simply don’t want to put up with retinol’s side effects (think peeling and flaking), this is a good alternative to try. Let me know how you like it if you do. 😉
Available at: £59.00 at Medik8
Have you ever tried retinaldehyde? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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