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Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream

Size: 1.7 oz (50 ml)

Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream is a genuine breakthrough in vitamin A skin care. Designed to address all signs of aging skin, it uses a patented Retinyl Retinoate molecule — a hybrid that fuses retinoic acid (which is found in Rx creams like Retin-A) with traditional retinol — to enhance the benefits without any traditional side effects. A clinical trial proved it eight times more powerful than retinol alone at a significantly lower dose. Reported results included skin that appeared plumper, more even and with a brighter surface after six weeks of use.

The patented Retinyl Retinoate molecule is blended with antioxidant-rich vitamins C and E to neutralize free radicals and boost the overall efficacy. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin support the skin’s natural structure while providing hydration. The light cream-serum texture is non-oily, fast absorbing and pleasantly moisturizing. It can be applied at night, as well as during the day without adverse effects, to treat acne or minimize the look of wrinkles and discoloration.

Review by Marta:

Having recently been won over by modern forms of retinol, I was extremely excited to try the new breakthrough formula from Medik8, called r-Retinoate. It is 2017 and I have seen the future of retinol — irritation-free with impressive results. I like this retinol serum so much that I look forward to using it, which, by the way, can be twice a day. Now that is a breakthrough.

First, I’ll reveal my results after testing it for three weeks. Then, I’ll explain what makes this retinol different — and superior — to those that came before it. You’ll note that I mentioned three weeks of testing. Normally, I go for at least 30 days, but with Medik8 r-Retinoate, the results after two weeks and then three had me excited enough to want to report back to the community. For fine lines and resurfacing, this is one of the best serums I have used, and it has been especially effective around my mouth and on my detested lip lines.

R-Retinoate combines high effectiveness, favorable side effect profile (e.g. low capacity to produce skin irritation) and good stability (compared to other vitamin A derivatives and retinoids). So what is behind this formula? Retinyl retinoate is a new retinoid precursor and vitamin A derivative. The breakthrough is that it is produced by chemically joining the molecules of retinoic acid and retinol. On the skin, just one metabolic step is required to split it back into retinoic acid and retinol, at which point retinoic acid is immediately active whereas retinol can be converted to additional retinoic acid later on. (I cribbed a very useful explanation on Smart Skincare for this part of my post)

Due to this process, retinyl retinoate is supposed to be much more effective than retinol alone (eight times more, according to Medik8), and may be more powerful than retinaldehyde — possibly up to the chops of retinoic acid. Also nice is that it doesn’t bring on the irritation that is typically associated with these ingredients. Although the past weeks have been far from sunny here in New York, I can still say that I was able to use this serum morning and night every day with no increased sensitivity to the sun or irritation.

While this new ingredient does not have much of a research pedigree yet, there is a Korean study on mice from 2010 that found retinyl retinoate increased the production of hyaluronic acid, while reducing transepidermal water loss more than retinol, retinoic acid and retinaldehyde. In another Korean study, 46 women were treated with either topical 0.06 percent retinyl retinoate vs placebo, or 0.06 percent retinyl retinoate vs 0.075 percent retinol. Retinyl retinoate produced the greatest improvement in wrinkles, skin roughness and other parameters with no severe side effects.

While I am extremely impressed with Medik8 r-Retinoate, there is nothing other than this key active to note in the overall formula, other than vitamin C and sodium hyaluronate. One thing I should mention is that by the silky texture of this cream-serum, I assumed it would be packed with silicones. But it actually uses the plant-derived emollient and silicone alternative, heptyl undecylenate. It is worth noting that as an emollient, it seems to work very well. This product behaves like a moisturizer, which is another way r-Retinoate packs a punch above other retinol creams.

Overall, the formula most is most certainly not for purists, but most of the ingredients — such as the penetration enhancer methylpropanediol — are relatively benign. Exceptions would be the harsh preservatives BHT and sodium hydroxide.

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$ 185.00
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Our Take

Having recently been won over by modern forms of retinol, I was extremely excited to try the new breakthrough formula from Medik8, called r-Retinoate ($225 in the shop). It is 2017 and I have seen the future of retinol — irritation-free with impressive results. I like this retinol serum so much... read more

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2 Reviews
  • Valerie

    (4 out of 5)

    I am 60 + years. This is a nice cream with no negative effects. However, I am not seeing the significant results the previous reviewer (50+) has posted. Perhaps I will see more improvement with continued use?

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  • Tina

    (5 out of 5)

    I'm on a rewind journey to reborn skin with using Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream for a 7-day testing trial period. I have been applying this soft velvety yogurt-like cream and nothing else nightly on my face, neck, decollete, hands and arms. It has helped to restore plumpness and brightness to all areas and the very subtle fragrance is both sweet and earthy; reminding me of cherry licorice and fresh cut grass. My receded hollowing on both sides right below my mouth have filled in nicely and now my skin looks tighter and more lifted. The cream absorbs well and is really gentle and non-irritating. I have had no problems with redness, dryness or itching -- which are the usual warning signs that a retinol-based skincare product is too harsh and strong and can only be used a few times a week or maybe only once a week. I have had this experience with a retinol product I purchased from a medical aesthetics doctor. My skin was blotchy, broken out in cystic pimples and painful to the touch. Medik8's formula is my new favorite and I am impressed and very pleased with the results so far. I have used other Medik8 products and all have been high performance , high quality and highly compatible with my makeup foundation, primer, sunscreen, and other serums and moisturizers. This product will likely be a bestseller and join the ranks of the big players in the professional and results-driven retinol skincare category. It has really perked up my 50-plus skin and I now look more like a younger version of myself.

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  • Jennifer

    December 19, 2018


    Does this help with acne as well?

  • Marta

    May 4, 2018


    Hi Rita, we reviewed 10TR here: A key difference is that they are more traditional retinols that should be used at night whereas r-Retinoate is gentler and can be used during the day as well.

  • Rita

    May 3, 2018


    Hi there. I was wondering whether you are willing to review their other very new product, crystal retinal 6 & 10 serum? I was wondering why they have pitched these two very similar Retin a derivatives and am perpkexed as to which one gives the best results as they are cheaper than the one you’ve reviewed. Regards, Rita

  • Amelia Stegehuis

    May 1, 2017

    Amelia Stegehuis

    Well Marta, you've certainly got my attention! I've been waiting a long time for a more gentle Retinal product without the previous negative side effects & to be able to use it twice a day is like a dream! Given the results of your review after a relatively short period of time has got me really looking forward to giving the Medik8, r-Retinoate Youth Activating Treatment Cream a real try!

  • Aqua (Water)
  • Heptyl Undecylenate
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Polylactic Acid
  • Methylpropanediol
  • Cetearyl Olivate
  • Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate
  • Cetearyl Isononanoate
  • Distarch Phosphate
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Sorbitan Olivate
  • Caprylyl Glycol
  • Retinyl Retinoate
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate
  • Hydrogenated Polydecene
  • Glycerin
  • Ethyl Ascorbic Acid
  • Cholesteryl Nonanoate
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Phenylpropanol
  • Hydroxyacetophenone
  • Canola Oil
  • Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Sodium Metabisulfite
  • BHT
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Trideceth-10
After cleansing, apply 2-3 pumps by blending across face, neck, and décolleté. Leave to absorb before applying sunscreen during the day or night cream, if desired.

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