Unless you’ve been hiding a rock (or are under the age of about 20 and don’t have to worry about anti-ageing skincare yet) you’ve probably heard of retinol. Also known as vitamin A, it’s the current darling of the cosmeceutical world—especially when it comes to turning back the clock on your skin. The antioxidant is known to protect the skin from free radicals, increase collagen production, and speed up cell turnover, all of which result in a more youthful complexion.
That said, if you’re a sensitive skin gal (represent!), you may be hesitant to slather your skin in retinol. Perhaps you already have and proclaimed ‘never again’ after it left your skin red and raw. According to Daniel Isaacs, Formulation and Development Director at cosmeceutical company Medik8, that’s totally normal and nothing to worry about.
“Retinol can cause mild irritation during the first few weeks of use, but this is nothing to be alarmed by,” Daniel says. “Many people experience redness, dryness and flaking as their skin acclimatises to the benefits of vitamin A. Retinol works by speeding up cellular regeneration and turnover, so you need to give your skin time to catch up with these accelerated processes. This can take a few weeks or a few months depending on your skin and the percentage of retinol you’re using.”
Even so, most of us just don’t have a couple of weeks or months to wait until our faces stop resembling a tomato. Enter, the new generation of vitamin A products—retinalehyde. Making its debut in the Australian market with Medik8s newly launched Crystal Retinal, this advanced vitamin A molecule delivers results up to 11 x faster than classic forms of retinol while being less irritating to the skin. It’s the result of extensive clinical research and testing from the University of Hertfordshire.
“Our retinaldehyde is encased within a crystal-shaped molecular vehicle that is then broken down by the skin’s natural enzymes upon contact,” Daniel says. “This unique action controls the release of the active to ensure the formula remains stable and potent for maximum results with minimal irritation.”
Non-prescription vitamin A, such as retinol, works in much the same way, however it needs to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin before it can take effect, a process that requires a two-step conversion. But unlike retinol, which must first be converted to retinaldehyde and then to retinoic acid within the skin, Crystal Retinal only requires one conversion to retinoic acid.
The Crystal Retinal night serum-cream comes in two strengths—Crystal Retinal 6 with 0.06% retinaldehyde (retailing at $108) and Crystal Retinal 10 with 0.10% retinaldehyde (retailing at $153.60). However, if you’re looking for a starter retinol at a cheaper price point (that won’t irritate your skin) many dermatologists recommend trying La Roche Posay’s Redermic Anti-Ageing Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream once per a week and working your way up.