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Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum Review

July 8, 2013 Reviewed by Nina 5 Comments
TRU Rating
Suitable for all skin types, including acne prone


Effectively hydrates with vitamin B5 and sodium hyaluronate


Preserved with Phenoxyethanol

For the past month, I’ve been using the Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Skin Rehydration Solution ($68). Formulated with pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and hyaluronic acid, Hydr8 is designed to moisturize and soften skin, and is non-aggravating to acne-prone and oily skin types. And as far as my skin is concerned, it’s pretty much a dream treatment come true – I’m prone to acne and shine, and yet at the same time suffer from patches of eczema, and tight and dry skin. Throughout this trial, my skin has been clear and calm, soft and hydrated, and I’ve had only one zit, which I blame on the oppressive, 100+ degree weather. I am happy to give this serum two thumbs up and a green light for anyone who needs hydration, yet wants to cut the shine.

Medik8’s efficacy may be due to its focused and therefore concentrated formula. Only six ingredients go into this serum; water is the first, and the next two are the actives B5 and sodium hyaluronate (yes there are preservatives, one of which is dubious, but the Good Guide gives Hydr8 B5 an overall score of 8, and rates its concern level as low.) With its short recipe, Medik8 Hydr8 B5 takes a targeted approach to healthy skin, and the two actives seem to complement one another – the B5 is healing and balances oil production, while sodium hyaluronate supports the skin’s matrix and hydrates without clogging.

I assumed that Medik8 was non-acnegenic by virtue of what it didn’t have – heavy oils and other comedogenic ingredients. While it is oil free, its skin-clearing powers actually come from the B5, which (I’ve learned) is a powerful anti-acne treatment that also has healing and regenerative properties. Taken orally, B5 helps to balance hormones and regulate oil production of the sebaceous oil glands. Topically applied, B5 hydrates, encourages blood flow to skin tissues, and keeps the skin pH balanced. It has humectant properties, rejuvenates assaulted skin, and is a superior treatment for wounded skin. Studies reveal that injured dermis treated with B5 exhibits faster regeneration, reduced scarring and greater elasticity as compared to skin not treated with it; and B5-derived dexpanthenol is often used to heal eczema, acne and reactions to radiation therapy. Data aside, a quick Google search of B5 yields numerous posts by dedicated users who swear by its anti-acne and healing powers. And again, I only got one pimple during this trial.

The second active is sodium hyaluronate, which holds about 1,000 times its own weight in water (like the acrylamide in diapers that keeps babies’ bottoms dry) and thus gives skin a plumped, fuller and generally firmer look. While this is temporary and may therefore have the superficial feel of a well-placed highlighter, sodium hyaluronate is considered an important part of any skincare protocol. Sodium hyaluronate keeps skin hydrated, and hydrated skin functions optimally and is able to maximize companion treatments and ingredients (for example the B5 in this awesome serum!). Indeed, my cheeks do have more spring and my skin looks fresh and glowy.

Though Medik8 made no promises about reducing redness or abating the appearance of broken veins, my skin tone is even and my nemesis veins appear diminished. Yay!

Like many people, I enjoy using my serums day and night, especially when the directions read “morning and evening.” But often I find that even when a serum soaks in, it doesn’t agree with my sunscreen and makeup, and I end up with pills and flakes. But Medik8 rises to this occasion, too (and honestly, I was kind of surprised). Packaged in a medicine-dropper bottle, Medik8 is a clear serum, with a thick, viscous consistency. Sticky and gross though that may sound (and yes, I had fleeting thoughts of snails and snot), the serum absorbs quickly and blends completely. My sunblock and cream blush apply as seamlessly as they do when my face is bare, and the serum doesn’t add any excess oil or shine, which is a regular problem for me. A little – by which I mean two drops – goes a long way, and after one month, about half of my 1oz bottle remains.

So let’s talk about the preservatives. The first, phenoxyethanol, is the worst of the lot. It’s been linked to reproductive toxicity and nervous system damage, among other disturbing injuries. Marta wrote an article that explains phenoxyethanol, and details various studies and their findings. She concludes that she’d prefer to “give it a miss” and she’s not alone: Japan limits its use in cosmetics and the EU classifies it as an irritant. It’s disappointing to find it in such an effective and otherwise carefully formulated serum, and I hope that the concentration is extremely low. The other two preservatives, Ethylhexylglycerin and citric acid, are both considered safe and are well rated by the Environmental Working Group and the Good Guide.

In spite of the lamentable preservative, I do recommend Medik8 Hydr8. It’s kept my skin fresh and calm, and had the bonus surprise of minimizing my red squiggle veins. A 1oz (30ml) bottle of Medik8 Hydr8 B5 sells for $80, and given that it appears it will last me at least six weeks (and that’s being conservative) I think that this is a good price for this highly effective, professional-grade product.

  • April 22, 2015

    by Paola Cabrini

    (5 out of 5)

    I tried and mixed few drops of Hydr8 B5 to my super dry skin moisturiser and I started seeing results just after a few days. Amazing!

  • January 26, 2015

    by stella

    1) Can you layer this with a Vit C serum (rather than mixing this with your fav moisturizer) and what goes first? C Serum or B5?

    2) anybody tried the Retinol Eye from Medik8?


  • January 15, 2015

    by Amelia Stegehuis

    (5 out of 5)

    I have been using the Medik8 Hydr8 Skin Rehydration Solution along with the Medik8 CE-Thione Rechargeable Vitamin C Serum and the Medik8 Fire Wall Serum with the Medik8 Growth Factor primarily during the day as much as possible for almost 2 months now and am really starting to see some great results. I am using the Fire Wall and Growth Factor at night but without the vitamin serums. Fortunately I was blessed with good skin & although I’m fairly oily I do have to be careful about how my skin reacts to products so I don’t get break outs and I’m happy to report I’ve not had a one with any of these products. Not only that, these are without a doubt the best Vitamin “B” & "C" serums I have ever used! My skin is smoother, has fewer lines and appears more even toned. I don’t care much for makeup so having great skin is very important to me. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these products to anyone and hope you’ll love them as much as I do. Good luck!

  • September 21, 2013

    by Lauren

    I am SO pleased to have discovered the medik8 products for sale on this website. I have been using the Hydr8 B5 for over a year now, but have just had to find a different vendor. I have acnegenic AND eczema-prone skin, with topical skin allergies to boot. This stuff is fantastic because it addresses all the issues my skin has. It literally saved my skin when my acne was at its worst - within just a few days my skin was calmer, less red, and my blemishes were less painful. After a year of use I no longer struggle with eczema, any blemishes I do get are small and heal quickly, and my skin tone is steadily returning to what it used to be a few years ago. I blend a few drops in with my moisturizer (per an esthetician's recommendation) and apply to my face and décolleté. It helps the moisturizer absorb immediately, and leaves my skin fresh and clean-feeling. All without irritating my temperamental skin, which is a miracle within itself. I recommend it to everyone I know that's struggling with crazy combination skin!

  • July 8, 2013

    by Marta

    Funny that you should mention snail slime Nina, as it is supposed to be an acne cure:

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