The New Retinol (Vitamin A) for Sensitive Skin

Medik8 launches r-retinoate, the vitamin a derivative to suit every skin type.

It’s the biggest open secret that nothing without prescription can improve the signs of photo-ageing quite like retinol. The medically backed anti-ageing and skin beautifying benefits of this Vitamin A derivative are undisputed. But this ‘dream cream’ still has its drawbacks – retinol delivered at levels high enough to have visible effects on skin ageing can cause irritation, redness and even flaking skin.

After three years in the making, Medik8 has launched r-Retinoate, a new retinol product that contains a never-before-used molecule – retinyl retinoate – which is proven to be eight times more powerful than regular retinol, without any irritation.

Every once in a while a product is developed that propels the whole industry forward. The discovery of this new molecule, and delivered in product form as Retinyl Retinoate Youth Activating Cream (r-Retinoate for short), represents a genuine breakthrough in anti-ageing skincare. According to published data, the wrinkle repair rate is up to eight times stronger with retinyl retinoate versus retinol alone – without the irritation that can be experienced with ordinary retinol. In another skincare breakthrough, r-Retinoate can be used for both night and day without loss of results like ordinary retinol.

The science behind retinyl retinoate has been published in multiple scientific and medical journals, including a clinical study in the eminent British Journal of Dermatology. Within this study, a pair of in-vivo trials showed that retinyl retinoate applied twice daily led to results significantly more effective than the placebo or higher strength retinol in treating wrinkles around the eyes (periorbital).

In the double-blind trial, wrinkles were evaluated by two dermatologists based on a global photodamage score. After 12 weeks, the average photodamage score improved for all patients on the retinyl retinoate treated side, compared with the placebo treated side. Further, after eight weeks, 86% of the patients had decreased photodamage scores with retinyl retinoate treatment, in contrast to 59% of those using ordinary retinol.

r-Retinoate uses only encapsulated retinyl retinoate which is patented around the world and exclusive to Medik8. As published, the encapsulated form works four times faster, with results visible after only four weeks of use.

Aside from irritation, another drawback of retinol is that it becomes inactive when in sunlight. This is why you may have heard or read that retinol should only be used at night. (It has nothing to do with retinol making the skin photo-sensitive or more prone to sunburn.)

Since mounting evidence suggests that retinol does not just help repair collagen damage but also protects collagen from UV destruction in the first place, the ability to use retinol during daytime seems highly beneficial. r-Retinoate is the first of its kind to be able to use day and night, maximising anti-ageing results in every single bottle.

Ordinary retinol can be notoriously irritating and can cause users to stop treatment altogether (and miss out on the long-term skin benefits).

If you’ve been sensitive to retinol in the past, maybe an itchy rash, breakouts or dry or flaky skin, r-Retinoate will be your new beauty cabinet bestie. Suitable for even the most sensitive skin, it means the power of retinol is now available for everyone.


  • Kafi, R., Kwak, H. S. R., Schumacher, W. E., Cho, S., Hanft, V. N., Hamilton, T. A., … & Voorhees, J. J. (2007). Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin a (retinol). Archives of dermatology, 143(5), 606-612.
  • Kim, H., Kim, N., Jung, S., Mun, J., Kim, J., Kim, B., … & Jung, H. (2010). Improvement in skin wrinkles from the use of photostable retinyl retinoate: a randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Dermatology, 162(3), 497-502.