Round up of skincare containing retinaldehyde like the Medik8 Crystal Retinal at every price point

Potential alternatives to the Medik8 Crystal Retinal at all price points using the same star ingredient

Guide to products containing retinaldehyde for the skin like Medik8

If you’ve heard of Medik8, then you’ve probably heard a lot of good things about the brand. Despite it being moderately pricey, it’s definitely one of the brands getting a lot of positive attention lately from skincare diehards. They recently raised capital from private equity, which means they are growing incredibly fast and we’ll undoubtedly be hearing about them even more often.

If you know Medik8, then you will have heard of their bestselling product, the Crystal Retinal. According to Medik8’s description of the product “retinal can deliver results comparable to clinical-grade vitamin A up to 11 times faster than classic forms of retinol.”

Retinaldehyde vs. Retinol

Retinal (or retinaldehyde) and Retinol are both in the vitamin A derivative family and both work by being converted into its active form “retinoic acid”. The major difference is that Retinol requires 2 conversion steps by the enzymes in our skin to become retinoic acid and Retinal only requires one step. Retinol needs to convert to Retinal and then into retinoic acid. Retinal can skip a step. So the thinking is that Retinal should be even more effective than Retinol at doing the things that retinoic acid has been proven to do – like stimulating collagen production, improving acne, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin density.

An encapsulated and stabilized Retinal

Despite the fact that Retinal provides a shortcut conversion to retinoic acid, you’ll find many more products on the market that use Retinol. The reason is that Retinal is harder to formulate with due to its inherent instability. One supplier, CoValence Laboratories makes a stabilized Retinal called IconicA to be used in cosmetic preparations. It comes in powder form and is claimed to be easily added to almost any cream, lotion, or serum.

We know from our research that the patented ingredient IconicA contains Cyclodextrin, Cloudberry Seed Oil and Retinal.

Some detective work on skincare containing IconicA

By isolating these 3 ingredients, we’re able to guess which products in our database potentially contain IconicA. Medik8 Crystal Retinal is one of the products in a group that might contain IconicA. Medik8 sells the product at different strengths and the brand charges $49 to $100 for 30mL depending on the strength.

Do note that not all brands disclose the concentration or strength of Retinal used in their products. Beginners should always start at lower concentrations if a product comes in different strengths and/or follow specific brand directions.

What products are potentially similar to Medik8 Crystal Retinal?

So it's pretty amazing that we can guess now which products may very well all have this IconicA active. There is definitely an argument to be made that all of the product ingredient lists are different and some of these products that contain IconicA could also contain additional ingredients that make them different or better. This is true, we don't know specific ingredient concentrations, quality or processing. These are factors that indeed affect the price and efficacy of a product. But when one is looking for a retinal product, we think it's more reasonable to consider the fact that the main function of a Retinal product relates to the working of the Retinal. In the case of the products below, it's worth an extra look to see if this Retinal formulation might be right for you.

The other products we found potentially containing IconicA are:

African Botanics Retinal Night Cream ($200 for 50mL)
Allies Of Skin 1A Retinal & Peptides Overnight Mask ($109 for 50mL)
Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum (CA$80 for 30mL)
Arcona Advanced A Serum ($85 for 35mL)
Face Reality Vitamin A Corrective Serum ($44 for 30mL)
Geek & Gorgeous A-Game 10 0.1% Retinol Serum (€18.50 for 30mL)
Geek & Gorgeous A-Game 5 0.05% Retinol Serum (€12.50 for 30mL)
Maelove Moonlight Retinal Super Serum ($36.95 for 30mL)
ModVellum Clinical Antidotum Smoothing Serum ($125 for 29mL)
MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Serum ($48 for 30mL)
Omorovicza Midnight Renewal Serum ($185 for 30mL)
Sarah Chapman Icon Night Cream ($127.50 for 30mL)
Sircuit Skin Infusion-A ($80 for 30mL)
Youth To The People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum ($68 for 30mL)

Remember you can discover any product based on a specific ingredient INCI list on our SKINSKOOL ingredient-list similarity tracker.

Other articles you might be interested in:

We used SKINSKOOL to find a product with an almost identical ingredient list to the Sunday Riley Juno Oil
The Ultimate Guide to Amika Shampoo
Are you in the market for a brazil nut body butter? Read this first


Disclosure: The article above contains affiliate links whereby a small commission may be earned by us on qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support.


Founder of SKINSKOOL Shares Her Favourite Products

The founder of the world's only ingredient-list similarity tracker shares what products she's using now

The Ultimate Guide to Amika Shampoo

Haircare aficionados will definitely appreciate the care and customization Amika shampoos take to provide a solution for every haircare concern

by Stella