Ingredient Glossary

Search ingredients below to find out all about the ingredients we use and what they do.



A brightening peptide solution that works to inhibit the overproduction of melanin in the skin. Excess melanin can cause localised areas of skin to darken, causing hyperpigmentation and uneven tone across the complexion. Acetyl glycyl beta-alanine helps to block the transport of melanin from the melanocyte, where it is produced, to the skin cell, where the overproduction of pigment becomes visible on the skin. As a result, acetyl glycyl beta-alanine can help to promote even-toned, radiant looking skin.


Allantoin is a botanical extract naturally occurring in comfrey root, an ancient herb known for its therapeutic properties. The extract is established as a soothing wound healer and skin protectant. It also enhances cellular turnover to promote a smooth and even skin surface. This prevents the blockage of pores which can lead to imperfections. Allantoin is ideal for use on blemish-prone skin or those with enlarged pores.


Native to East and South African deserts, the aloe vera plant belongs to the lily family. Its thick and fleshy leaves provide sharp protection against predators. When harvested the leaves produce a thick, viscous gel – aloe vera extract. One of the oldest healing remedies, it was rumoured that even Cleopatra used it as a soothing skin treatment. Now an essential for calming the skin, aloe vera leaves the complexion glowing and cared for.


A powerful antioxidant, ALA is able to shield the skin from the environment and UV rays, which can cause free radical damage in the skin cells. By neutralising the free radicals, ALA protects skin cells from DNA damage and the breakdown of collagen, leaving the skin’s delicate structure intact. This helps to stop the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, while preserving the skin’s natural elasticity. This is ideal for minimising and tightening pores.


Naturally occuring in bearberry plant, an edible fruit native to Arctic climates, arbutin is a potent brightening active. Able to block tyrosinase, the enzyme that forms melanin, arbutin inhibits the process that makes pigment in the skin. This helps to luminise the complexion and balance out an uneven skin tone.


An amino acid that occurs naturally in the body, arginine is a key building block to proteins. Arginine leaves the complexion firmer and can even bolster the skin’s natural repair processes. It can also stimulate skin cells to divide; helping to increase the skin’s thickness for younger, healthier-looking complexion. Arginine acts as an antioxidant against free radical damage which can cause premature ageing, while binding to hydration to leave the skin soft and supple.


Arnica naturally occurs from the rare Arnica montana wildflower which grows in mountainous regions of Europe. The bright yellow flower is sometimes referred to as leopard’s bane. In folklore stories, humans harnessed the power of arnica after seeing injured mountain goats seeking out the arnica flower after falling over. Ideal for use as an anti-inflammatory, arnica helps to reduce bruising and relieve sore skin.


Pure, chirally correct vitamin C is ascorbic acid. In the skin it can stimulate collagen production, block the process to form melanin and act as an antioxidant to provide free radical protection to our cells. Vitamin C is absolutely essential in your morning routine to combat the day’s environmental damage, tackle fine lines and wrinkles and luminise the complexion.

While ascorbic acid is exceptional at targeting signs of ageing, it has one small issue. Pure vitamin C is extremely unstable. In water, ascorbic acid is oxidised which causes a cascade of reactions. The ascorbic acid becomes powerless and can even become a pro-oxidant – meaning it can form harmful free radicals itself. When ascorbic acid becomes unstable it can often turn products yellow, which is a sure sign you should stop using the product. Some brands will even include artificial colours to cover up when the vitamin C goes off.

But not at Medik8. We formulated our pure ascorbic acid serum Pure C15™ with a supportive antioxidant network of vitamin E and glutathione. This complex mimics the skin’s natural antioxidant network, with each ingredient helping to regenerate the others; boosting the stability of the serum. Pure C15 is the vitamin C choice for purists looking for exceptional results. It contains 15% pure ascorbic acid, which is completely stable before opening and lasts for at least 8 weeks after opening (you get two 8-week supply bottles). We only use chirally correct L-ascorbic acid to ensure optimally potency in all our products.


With three major modes of action, azelaic acid is ideal for blemish-prone skin. Firstly, it is able to stop the growth of P. acnes, the blemish-causing bacteria which exacerbates imperfections. On top of this, it can normalise the skin-shedding cycle. This helps to stop the plugging of a pore which can lead to blemishes. Finally, azelaic acid is a potent anti-inflammatory which reduces the redness associated with sore and inflamed blemishes. Azelaic acid can even target overactive melanocytes, the skin cells which produce pigments, to reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after blemishes have healed.



Naturally derived from the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, bamboo is the fastest growing plant known to man and can reach up to 30 metres in height. Bamboo fibres secrete natural silica, which is used to form the micro-exfoliators. When rubbed gently into the skin, the bamboo micro-exfoliators physically slough off dead skin cells to reveal luminous, refreshed skin underneath.


Often described as the healing clay, bentonite is able to absorb oil and impurities from the skin and pores. This helps to reduce shine and congestion to leave the skin soothed and refreshed. Further enriched with antibacterial properties, bentonite helps to minimise blemish-causing bacteria for a clearer complexion.


Naturally occuring in the bran of oats, beta-glucan enhances the skin’s ability to repair itself by strengthening collagen. Providing immediate comfort to inflamed skin, beta-glucan protects the complexion from the damaging effects of UV rays by boosting the body’s natural defence mechanisms.


A highly advanced sheet mask material made from tightly woven natural cellulose fibres. It forms a veil so fine it is able to fit into the smallest lines and wrinkles for optimal delivery of serums infused within it. Resistant to breakages and tears, the bio-cellulose is able to hold many times its own weight in water to thoroughly replenish and hydrate the complexion for soft and supple skin.


Biosaccharide gum and hyaluronic acid have complementary moisturising properties. Hyaluronic acid is able to quickly hydrate the stratum corneum due to it having a branched structure which can quickly grab onto water molecules. Biosaccharide gum has a linear structure which forms a film over the surface of the skin, generating a ‘humid climate’ in the skin for a longer period of time. This decreases water loss and leaves long-lasting hydration in the skin.


A water soluble marine plant extract derived from Crambe maritima, which is also known as blue sea kale, it helps to stimulate ceramide and hyaluronic acid synthesis. Blue sea kale is also a powerful antioxidant and therefore has the ability to protect against environmental stress on the skin, such as UV or pollution. Skin is protected against free radical damage therefore slowing photoaging, instead helping to stimulate the production of collagen.


Blueberry seed oil is sustainably sourced from 800,000 upcycled blueberries (per 1kg of material). Blueberry seed oil is a natural shield against blue light, working to protect skin against blue light exposure from the sun. The active oil is rich in beta-carotene which is able to absorb blue light, before it hits the skin. This can be thought of as a chemical sunscreen for blue light, rather than UV.



Not just an ingredient in your morning coffee, caffeine is ideal for reducing the appearance of puffiness and darkness under the eyes. Able to shrink the blood vessels underneath the eye, it diminishes dark circles while firming and lifting the entire eye area. Caffeine works in a similar way on redness-prone skin; it constrains the capillaries that enhance redness. Caffeine also works as an antioxidant to help prevent damage from UV and pollution, stopping any inflammation which can often worsen redness and irritation.


A protective peptide which is naturally produced in the body, carnosine is able to block the glycation process. This is the natural ageing process in which sugars react with proteins such as collagen and elastin, transforming them into advanced glycation end-products (A.G.E.s). A.G.E.s modify skin’s collagen and elastin which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. Carnosine is able to block the glycation process and prevent A.G.E.s from being formed. This inhibits the process which causes fine lines and wrinkles. Carnosine also protects the skin from infrared rays. Infrared rays increase MMPs, which are enzymes that break down collagen. Carnosine is able to inhibit MMPs being formed, which leaves collagen untouched for firm, smooth skin.


Renowned as a soothing, calming extract for damaged skin, chamomile is ideal for taking down redness and inflammation. The main extract from chamomile, bisabolol, is high in vitamin B5, which helps to stimulate and promote the skin’s natural healing process. Soothing and nourishing, chamomile extract even has antioxidants to protect the complexion from future damage.


A selection of lipids naturally found in the waterproof barrier that sits on top of the upper layers of the skin. Ceramides are essential for retaining water, regulating cells and helping to repair the skin’s natural protective shield. They are exceptionally useful for moisturising the complexion, but work best when combined in an optimal ratio with other molecules present in the skin’s natural lipid barrier. Medik8’s extensive research into ceramide combinations has yielded an optimised mixture of ceramide 1 and 3 alongside phytosterol and fatty acids, which are almost ‘skin identical’ allowing them to easily nourish the skin.


Derived from the bamboo plants of Asia and harvested at 5 years of age, finely milled black charcoal powder is both sustainable and environmentally friendly. Long revered for its purifying, healing and detoxifying effects, charcoal is even used in modern medicine to treat poisoning. Activated with water vapour, charcoal has millions of tiny pores which increase its surface area. On the skin, charcoal draws impurities to its large surface area, sucking in bacteria, dirt, pollution and excess oils. The skin is left decongested, refreshed and refined.


A natural green pigment that serves as the main source of energy in plants. In nature, the pigment absorbs the sun’s rays; converting them into food and sustenance for plants to survive. On the skin, chlorophyll restores skin balance and boosts its natural regenerative cycle. This leaves the complexion glowing and healthy. Meanwhile chlorophyll’s antioxidant powers gently neutralise free radicals for protected skin. Not only that, but chlorophyll has been found to stimulate the skin’s natural healing processes while deeply detoxifying pores.


This sweet smelling spice is packed full of nutrients to blast your skin with goodness. With two modes of action against blemishes, cinnamon extract is ideal to add to your daily routine. Firstly it acts as a natural antibacterial; tackling blemish-causing bacteria such as P. acnes which can produce red and inflamed imperfections. Secondly, cinnamon extract is able to control the skin’s oil production, helping to make pore blockages a thing of the past.


An extraordinary breakthrough in vitamin A, climbazole is able to boost the effects of retinoids in the skin without increasing their irritation. In the skin, retinol and retinal are converted to retinoic acid which is the active form of vitamin A that stimulates collagen production, cellular turnover and reduces pigmentation. Climbazole is able to block the enzyme which breaks down retinoic acid, leaving a reservoir of vitamin A for the skin to use up. This means climbazole strives for maximum vitamin A results, while keeping irritation at an all time low.


Revolutionary patented copper PCA is the copper salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. A potent antioxidant, it protects the skin with broad spectrum protection against a wide range of free radicals. Copper PCA helps to neutralise the free radicals targeting the skin to minimise damage to skin cell DNA which can cause premature ageing.

The main ingredient in Firewall®, copper PCA has been found to be 40 times better than vitamin C at Revolutionary patented copper PCA is the copper salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. A potent antioxidant, it protects the skin with broad spectrum protection against a wide range of free radicals. Copper PCA helps to neutralise the free radicals targeting the skin to minimise damage to skin cell DNA which can cause premature ageing.

Combined with an antioxidant super-blend in Copper PCA Peptides, the serum has been found to harness 5 times the antioxidant power of its next best competitor.*

*Results from 3rd party independent tests assessing antioxidant performance against peroxynitrite radical and tests assessing antioxidant performance against competitor


Crystalide is a next-generation peptide which helps to enhance the skin's natural reflectance and luminosity. Everyday our skin cells build up waste proteins; proteins which have been denatured or have lost their function. These waste proteins tend to gather together in groups within the skin, which can affect the way your skin reflects light and cause a dull complexion. Crystalide peptides are able to help pull apart the waste proteins which are sitting in clumps. These clumps then dissociate to be disposed of, and the skin is free to reflect light better again. The peptides help to create a 'glass skin' effect; appearing visibly clear, smooth and uniform with a radiant glow.


Ceramides are a selection of lipids naturally found in the waterproof barrier that sits on top of the upper layers of the skin. As we age, our natural production of ceramides dwindles, resulting in dry skin, wrinkles and even dermatitis. Ceramides in skincare can help to replenish the skin’s natural protective barrier with ease, as they are ‘skin identical’ and are therefore well recepted by the skin. They are essential for retaining water, regulating cells and helping to repair the skin’s natural protective shield.



Also known as octadecenedioic acid, this ingredient is structurally similar to azelaic acid and has a similar effect of reducing the growth of blemish-causing bacteria (P. acnes). Alongside this, dioic acid is able to control the amount of sebum produced by the skin’s pores. Excess sebum can often contribute to the formation of blemishes, by binding together dead skin cells to form a blockage. By reducing the amount of sebum produced, dioic acid helps to reduce the likelihood of blocked pores.


Native to Mexico, dragon fruit is grown from the night-blooming cactus Hylocereus undatus, which flowers only at night. Also called moonflowers, the white, fragranced blossom grows succulent dragon fruits 30-50 days after flowering. Dragon fruit has high levels of antioxidants to protect the skin and is bursting with natural sugars called polysaccharides which firm and tone the skin. The fruit has even been studied for its wound healing properties. Research shows it is able to enhance the natural skin regenerative process for a smoother, softer complexion.


A copper-based peptide which stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis. The peptide is encapsulated in a polymer shell with specific external ligands which guide the shell to fibroblast cells (where collagen is made). This means that the capsule is directed, like a drone, to a specific target cell. After binding, the drone penetrates inside the fibroblast. When inside, the polymer encapsulation is naturally broken down and the active peptide can diffuse out of the encapsulation in a time release manner, stimulating collagen and elastin production for plumper, more youthful-looking skin.


An occlusive ingredient that forms a breathable barrier over skin, Dimethicone is perfect for sensitive skin and locks moisture in tight. Dimethicone is made up of large molecules, therefore it can help to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and is perfect for protecting the skin from harsh weather conditions and irritants within the environment.



The star of Super C30™, ethylated ascorbic acid has a molecular structure close to pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid), but it has an extra carbon chain that blocks the most reactive part of the molecule. This means that ethylated ascorbic acid has none of the stability issues of pure vitamin C. The extra chain stops it from becoming oxidised and turning yellow, but the molecule still retains almost all of the antioxidant power of ascorbic acid. It protects the complexion from harmful free radicals, while stimulating collagen production and blocking the formation of melanin for a bright, youthful-looking complexion. Expect a slight tingle when you apply this ingredient. This is due to its potency, but it will subside within a few minutes. We only ever use chirally correct vitamin C in all our products to ensure it reaches its full potential on the skin.


Derived from plankton extract, photolyase is a light-activated DNA repair enzyme which can help to recognise and correct damage to skin cell DNA, caused by exposure to UV light or free radicals. Photolyase is able to remove the irregularities in the cell DNA caused by these factors and help to boost the natural repair mechanisms in the skin. This helps to diminish the visible signs of DNA damage, including fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Photolyase is encapsulated to optimise penetration into the skin, delivering next-generation anti-ageing results including resilient skin with a natural glow.


A high-performing peptide called Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, this works to fight expression wrinkles by minimising muscle contraction. It is able to stop nerves from sending signals to the muscles to contract. This prevents the muscles from contracting, helping to visibly minimise the appearance of expression lines for a visibly smoother complexion.



Naturally found protecting the cell walls of plants such as rice and oats, ferulic acid harnesses extraordinary antioxidant power. When free radicals come to steal an electron from skin cells, ferulic acid swoops in to save the day. The molecule selflessly gives up an electron to quench the free radical. Its chemical structure means that it can effectively stabilise its own unpaired electron. Combined with vitamin C and vitamin E, the synergistic antioxidant trio provides excellent protection to the skin. This helps to stop the cascade of reactions where free radicals can damage collagen and elastin, shielding skin cell DNA from attack.



Gluconolactone is a polyhydroxy acid (PHA). PHAs are similar in structure to alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic and lactic acid. PHAs are able to break down the bonds between skin cells in a similar way to AHAs. This aids the exfoliation of skin cells to uncover the fresh skin beneath. However, there is one main difference between PHAs and AHAs. PHAs are much larger than AHAs, which means they have more trouble penetrating the top layer of the skin. Therefore, they are usually much less irritating than AHAs and are often more suitable chemical exfoliators for sensitive skin. Gluconolactone is effective in reducing pigmentation as it exfoliates the top layer of melanin-rich skin cells to trigger enhanced cellular regeneration. This means the skin cells are being recycled quicker to reveal fresher, brighter skin beneath.


A peptide that is naturally present in the body’s defensive system, glutathione is a key component in the body’s antioxidant recycling system. In combination with vitamin C and E, glutathione helps to regenerate the power of other antioxidants so they can continue to protect the skin from free radical attack. In Pure C15™ glutathione ensures exceptional stability.


Glycerin is present in the natural moisturising factors of our skin, which provide essential protection and hydration. An effective humectant, this ingredient is able to draw water to itself from the lower layers of the skin and the atmosphere. This keeps the skin hydrated, supple and soft.


The skin has natural channels in it through which water and glycerin can travel. These channels are called aquaporins and they help to maintain the correct water balance throughout all the different layers of skin. Glyceryl glucoside is proven to help stimulate the formation of aquaporin channels in the skin. This allows water and glycerin to travel freely through the skin, hydrating each layer for a soft and supple complexion.


With the smallest particle size of all the AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), glycolic acid is able to effectively penetrate the upper layers of the skin. Here it works to breakdown bonds between skin cells so they are easily exfoliated away to reveal fresher, newer skin cells beneath. This not only helps to stop pore blockages which can form blemishes, but also leaves the skin’s surface smooth and soft. Gentle exfoliation with glycolic acid a few times a week helps to encourage cell turnover, which eventually leads to healthier, more youthful-looking skin. With exceptional exfoliation benefits, glycolic acid allows any skincare applied afterwards to work on the lower layers of the skin, where it has the most benefit.



Also known as vitamin P, hesperidin helps to promote the skin’s natural blood circulation. Dark, puffy circles underneath the eyes can be alleviated by enhancing the blood flow through these areas, for brighter and more awake-looking eyes. Hesperidin also helps to tackle hyperpigmentation. Melanin pigments in the skin are formed in cells called melanocytes. Then the melanin must be transported to the skin cells to show as pigment on the surface of the skin. Hesperidin encourages the melanin particles to clump together, making transportation much harder. This helps to inhibit hyperpigmentation; leaving an even, brighter complexion.


Hyaluronic acid is one of the major components of our natural extracellular matrix, which is the framework our skin sits on. This is important for maintaining a firm and supple complexion. With a unique ability to attract and retain more than 1,000 times its own weight in water, hyaluronic acid can draw moisture from the surrounding atmosphere and lower skin layers to the top levels of the epidermis. This leaves the complexion both nourished and supple.

Multiple weights of hyaluronic acid are used throughout the Medik8 range, from the smallest molecules to the biggest. The smallest hyaluronic acid molecules are able to penetrate deep into the skin, drawing moisture up from the lower layers of the dermis. Larger molecules of hyaluronic acid sit on the skin as a moisture reservoir, feeding the upper layers and blocking water loss to the environment. Used together, low and high weights of hyaluronic acid distribute hydration throughout the entirety of the skin for a smooth and supple complexion.




Jojoba is a botanical native to the North America Sonoran Desert. Our jojoba grains are perfectly spherical for gentle yet effective exfoliation, without any scratching of the skin. Both biodegradable and sustainably sourced, these micro-exfoliators contain no harmful microplastics.



Otherwise known as china clay, natural kaolin absorbs impurities and dirt from the skin to clear congestion. This clay is ideal for deep cleansing and drawing out debris from the complexion. Exceptionally gentle, kaolin is suitable for even the most sensitive of skins.


Naturally found in wild mushrooms, kojic acid is able to block tyrosinase, the enzyme that forms melanin pigment in the skin. Tyrosinase works by converting the amino acid tyrosine into melanin. Kojic acid blocks this process by sitting in the active site of tyrosinase, leaving no space for amino acid, tyrosine. Widely used in Asia for skin brightening, kojic acid is thought to be one of the most effective luminising agents on the market alongside oxyresveratrol.



An AHA which can occur in milk, lactic acid is an AHA which breaks down the bonds between skin cells to help exfoliation. The lactic acid used in Medik8 products is from vegetable origin, produced via fermentation of carbohydrates. This allows dead skin cells to be lightly buffed away; revealing new, fresh skin beneath. Also extremely nourishing, lactic acid increases the natural lipids in the skin’s barrier to help the complexion hold onto water for soft, supple skin.



Native to Southeast Asia, this exotic superfruit has been used for millennia to treat common illnesses and ailments all around the world. Its incredible healing power is down to its ultra-potent antioxidant properties; the polyphenolic compounds found in mangtosteen neutralise damaging free radicals before they can attack vulnerable skin cells. This helps to safeguard the skin against collagen and elastin degradation, pigmentation irregularities and sensitivity.

What’s more, the zingy fruit contains generous helpings of vitamin C to ensure your skin is optimally radiant. Plus powerful anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and care for the complexion. The fruit is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Fruits’, a nickname that was coined after Queen Victoria of England famously offered a reward for anyone who could bring her a fresh mangosteen. When applied to the skin, it leaves the complexion protected, smooth and even.


An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) with the power of beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Naturally occuring in almonds, mandelic acid is both oil and water soluble, meaning it can penetrate oily pores while working on the upper layers of the skin. In each case, it breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells so they can be easily exfoliated away; decongesting pores and refreshing the upper skin surface. This leaves the complexion renewed and luminised while fine lines are smoothed. With the largest particle size of the hydroxy acids, mandelic acid is ideal for sensitive skin as it does not penetrate as deeply as glycolic acid.


The exotic oil extract of passion fruit, maracuja oil is renowned for its high content of nourishing fatty acids and protective antioxidants. Grown in warm climates and sourced from the Amazon, succulent passion fruits are celebrated for their antioxidant power. Its oil is rich in vitamins and nutrients, specifically vitamin E which protects the skin from free radical damage. Also brimming with nourishing linoleic acid (omega-6), maracuja oil is able to replenish the skin’s natural lipid barrier to soothe dry skin. Linoleic acid is also ideal for rebalancing blemish-prone skin, which is often lacking in omega-6.


Derived from the White Horehound plant, this plant is found in America, the Mediterranean and Western Asia. Marrubium vulgare extract is a powerful antioxidant that provides essential protection to shield delicate skin from pollution-induced damage. It works to defend the skin in four ways: by protecting skin cells from the penetration of pollutants, removing and neutralising the skin of toxic free radicals, helping to strengthen the skin barrier and to boost the repair of cell metabolism.


A combination of the peptides palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl oligopeptide, matrixyl 3000 is ideal for firming and plumping the skin. It works by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin in the skin’s extracellular matrix, which is the framework our skin sits on. Each peptide mimics a fragment of collagen, which “tricks” the skin into thinking its own collagen has broken down so it must make more. This helps to restore the extracellular matrix to leave the skin firmer with fine lines and wrinkles visibly reduced.


Medik8’s signature Moisture Magnets contain an extraordinary hydrator called saccharide isomerate. This is similar to the natural carbohydrate complexes found in the upper layers of the skin. It is able to bind to skin cells like a magnet and then draw water to itself, providing deep hydration where it is needed the most. The result is long-lasting hydration for supple and smooth skin.


Moringa is often used as a natural cleanser. It draws dirt and impurities to itself so they can be easily cleansed away. Able to form a film over the skin, moringa acts as an ‘urban shield’ to bat away pollution particles before they can create free radicals which can cause premature ageing. Protecting the skin from heavy metals, cigarette smoke and small particulate matter, moringa offers essential antioxidant protection throughout the day.


A natural yet powerful skin brightener that can inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme which forms melanin pigment in the skin. This helps to luminise the complexion; targeting hyperpigmentation for a smooth and even skin tone.



The skin's upper layers contain lots of different types of water-loving molecules which bind and hold moisture. They keep the skin flexible and soft, and help maintain proper function of skin enzymes while balancing natural pH. The skin’s Natural Moisturising Factors are made up of sodium PCA, glycerin, urea, proteins, sugars, amino acids, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, creatine and more.


NAG is one of the building blocks that make up hyaluronic acid, a hydrating molecule that plays a large role in the structure and firmness of the skin. NAG can also block the formation of melanin, encouraging an even, luminous complexion. Combined with niacinamide, the two ingredients have been found to work synergistically to thoroughly brighten the skin. NAG has also be found to work synergistically with retinol, boosting the production of hyaluronic acid for a bouncy, full and youthful-looking complexion.


Otherwise known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories in skincare. Ideal for treating blemishes, it can suppress the skin’s inflammatory response to calm red and sore imperfections. Niacinamide also helps to encourage the production of ceramides that are present in the natural moisturising factor of the skin. These are the oils that protect your skin, forming a barrier to stop pathogens entering and preventing water evaporating away.

Niacinamide can block the transfer of melanin pigments into skin cells which helps to slow down the process leading to pigmentation. The molecule can even speed up cellular turnover and stimulate collagen production for a healthy, youthful-looking complexion.



Extracted from the root of red ginseng, this natural extract is fermented to intensify its powers. Able to inhibit the process which forms melanin pigment, red ginseng helps to brighten the complexion and promote an even, healthy skin tone. It is able to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UVB rays by blocking the free radicals that break down collagen and elastin to form lines and wrinkles. It also stimulates collagen production to promote stronger, healthier skin. Fermented red ginseng has increased anti-wrinkle and brightening activity than normal red ginseng, and components of the extract have even been found to increase hyaluronic acid levels for soft and hydrated skin.


Oxyresveratrol (oxy-R) naturally occurs in white mulberries which are native to northern China. The molecule is exceptionally good at inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme that is responsible for creating melanin pigment. Less melanin means that hyperpigmentation is less likely to occur. Oxy-R was found to be 32 times better at blocking tyrosinase than kojic acid.1 Also able to act as an antioxidant, oxy-R provides superior skin protection against free radicals, while reducing inflammation.

Oxy-R is notoriously difficult to formulate with. At high strengths it can be extremely unstable. At Medik8, our solution is to keep the oxy-R in the lid, away from the rest of the formula until the product is activated for use by the special click-activated packaging. When clicked, Oxy-R is plunged into the rest of the serum and is activated by shaking. After activation the serum colour changes from clear to yellow – the natural colour of oxy-R.

Once the packaging has been clicked, Oxy-R stays potent for at least 6 weeks due to our patented stabilisation technology. We provide 2 smaller, individual bottles to ensure you can use the serum for 3 months without any risk of it becoming unstable.

1 Y. Kim et al., Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2002, 277(18), pp 16340-4



A form of carbohydrate, prebiotics act as ‘food’ for our skin’s natural microbiome. This helps to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, while blocking the growth of bad bacteria. This rebalances the skin’s microbiome, reinforcing its defence against external aggressors.


Prickly Pear Extract, also known as the Nopal Cactus, is a natural enzyme activator. As we begin to age, our main natural exfoliation enzymes in the skin begin to decline, therefore the rate of skin cell renewal decreases, leading to dry, dull and uneven skin. Prickly pear extract stimulates these exfoliation enzymes and encourages the skin to return to its natural rhythm of exfoliation. It helps to improve the visible clarity and luminosity of the skin and smooths over the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Live bacteria can produce postbiotics; these are the by products of fermentation of bacteria and help to create a balanced and thriving microflora. Postbiotics can be in the form of ferments or extracts, and can contain beneficial actives like fatty acids, antioxidants, and antimicrobial peptides. They help to keep the skin's natural pH balanced, and suppress the growth of bad bacteria. In particular they can be useful for suppressing blemish-causing bacteria such as P. acnes, and helping to encourage the skin’s natural flora for a healthy complexion.




Native to Europe, Africa and Asia, red clover is often used as an effective herbal remedy for inflamed skin. The red-purple flower is packed to the brim with vitamins and nutrients to nourish the complexion and is especially useful for treating enlarged pores with its three major modes of action. Firstly, red clover extract can block the enzyme that creates sebum; stopping excess oils from clogging up pores and forming blemishes. Secondly, the extract increases skin cell renewal which stops dead skin cells from stretching out pores. Finally, as a natural astringent, red clover extract can gently contract the pores; visually reducing their appearance on the face.


Extracted from the root of the Asian native plant Panax ginseng, red ginseng has potent brightening and age-defying powers. Able to inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme which is responsible for the formation of melanin, red ginseng blocks the process to make pigmentation for a luminised, even complexion. It has also been proven to promote collagen synthesis, and protect from photoageing. Fermenting red ginseng enhances its brightening powers by increasing its bioactive contents.


Also known as retinal, this is a next-generation form of vitamin A that works 11 times faster than retinol.1 In the skin, retinol must first be converted to retinaldehyde before it is converted to retinoic acid, the active form of vitamin A in the skin which increases cellular renewal. Crystal Retinal (available in 5 strengths) contains retinaldehyde, which only needs one conversion in the skin to retinoic acid, whereas traditional retinol needs two. This means faster and more effective results.

Retinaldehyde is able to enhance collagen production, speed up cellular renewal and inhibit pigment production for youthful-looking and even toned skin. Even though retinal displays results almost similar to retinoic acid, it retains the gentleness of retinol serums on the skin. Encapsulated in crystal complex cyclodextrin, retinal is slowly released throughout the night to diminish any potential for irritation. Retinal is also antibacterial, which targets blemish-causing bacteria such as P. acnes.

1 G. Seigenthaler et al., Biochemical Journal, 1990, 268, pp 371-378


The gold standard in anti-ageing skincare, retinol (or vitamin A) is highly regarded by dermatologists and doctors alike as the best ingredient for younger-looking skin. In the skin, retinol is first converted to retinaldehyde and then retinoic acid, the active form of vitamin A, before it begins working within the skin.

Retinoic acid stimulates the skin cell’s nucleus to produce proteins, such as collagen and elastin. Retinoic acid can also inhibit the process to form melanin pigment, and speed up cell renewal. However, retinol has some problems. When it is delivered too quickly, the skin is overwhelmed by the high levels of vitamin A and can become inflamed and dry. Therefore all Medik8 retinol serums use Time Release Technology™, which slowly releases the retinol into the skin continuously overnight, to minimise any irritation.

We also recommend following the ‘retinol ladder’ when first starting to use retinol (or retinal). This involves using a low percentage retinol serum (Retinol 3TR™) twice a week for 2 weeks, then every other evening for two weeks, then every night from then on. This helps to ease your skin into accepting retinol into your routine, so you can move up to higher percentages with ease.


A breakthrough hybrid vitamin A molecule found in r-Retinoate®, retinyl retinoate fuses retinol and retinoic acid into a new super-molecule. Patented all over the world, this encapsulated molecule is unique to Medik8. Retinyl retinoate is able to enhance collagen production up to 8 times more than retinol and can even be used during the day due to its exceptional stability in light.1 Our most gentle vitamin A, retinyl retinoate is ideal for accelerated anti-ageing results, and can even be used on sensitive skin.

1 Kim et al., Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 20018, 16, pp 6387-6393



Extracted from the seed of the safflower, this oil is rich in essential fatty acids. Safflower oil contains ~70% linoleic acid (also known as omega-6 or vitamin F), one of the highest levels of the fatty acid available commercially. Essential fatty acids are vital for the function of normal, healthy cells. Deficiencies can lead to dry skin, decreased skin cell regeneration and poor wound healing. Blemish-prone skin tends to be lacking in omega-6, so vitamin F is ideal to rebalance for a clearer complexion. Safflower oil is also rich in vitamin E, ideal for skin conditioning and antioxidant protection.


A BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, that is considered the gold standard for blemish prevention. It is able to soften and dissolve keratin, a protein that blocks pores by causing skin cells to stick together. Salicylic acid is oil soluble, meaning it can penetrate deep into pores to break down clogged skin cells and sebum to clear blockages. This not only helps to diminish formed blemishes, but also prevents their appearance in the future. Salicylic acid is also in the aspirin family, and has similar anti-inflammatory benefits. It is able to reduce the inflammation of red and sore blemishes to help speed up the healing process. The maximum concentration of salicylic acid available for use without a prescription is 2%, which is available in our Blemish Control Pads™.


Found in the wild open woods of western Canada, saskatoon berries are grown on small shrubs. Perfectly adapted to their harsh environment of strong winds and freezing temperatures, saskatoon berries are hardy and were even used as life-saving medicine for the first settlers in Canada. The purple berries are rich in anthocyanins, which are exceptional natural antioxidants. Saskatoon berries have higher levels of free radical scavengers than blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. An anti-inflammatory, saskatoon berry is able to soothe irritated complexions and protect from free radical-induced skin ageing.


Shea butter is derived from the seeds of the African Shea Tree, native to the West Savannah region. 100% natural, shea butter has been used for many years as a natural moisturiser. It is solid at room temperature with a melting point of about 28 degrees celsius, and therefore it melts on contact with skin. A powerful emollient made up of fatty acids, shea butter effortlessly infuses into the skin to leave the complexion soft and silky. Shea butter is also rich in vitamin E and micronutrients, helping to protect skin from free radical damage that has been accumulated during contact with the outside world.


Natural soy extract contains bioactive molecules called isoflavones which help to stimulate the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. Soy extract can also help to stimulate collagen synthesis in collagen-producing skin cells. With supported collagen and hyaluronic acid, the complexion appears plump and dewy.


Found naturally in the skin’s protective lipid barrier, squalane helps to restore the skin’s defences and deeply moisturise for smooth and supple skin.

An important point to note is that squalane and squalene are very different things. Squalane is the oxidised form of squalene, which means it is much less reactive than squalene so is much more stable in skincare.

Squalene makes up about 15% of sebum, but it has oxidation issues. A process called lipid peroxidation turns squalene into squalene peroxide, which is hugely comedogenic and quickly leads to blemishes. Squalane does not have this problem as it doesn’t have reactive double bonds, therefore it is super-stable. Ideal for use in conjunction with inherently drying retinols, squalane helps to soothe and nourish the skin, while enhancing the penetration of the other actives in the serum.



Tea tree oil is steam distilled from the Australian native plant melaleuca alternifolia and has an extraordinary history of healing. Used by aboriginals for many years, the leaves of the plants carry an abundance of herbal, aromatic oils. These are antimicrobial and can target blemish-causing bacteria such as P. acnes. Tea tree oil is established as an essential for a clearer complexion.


Teprenone is a patented anti-redness active that helps to prolong the life of skin cells. Our skin cell DNA contains a string of amino acids called telomeres. Every time the cell replicates, these telomeres shorten. Eventually they become so small that they trigger cell death. Teprenone is proven to help stabilise the telomeres in skin cells, helping to prolong the life of a cell. This helps to naturally enhance the skin’s barrier function, which reduces the skin’s sensitivity to external factors. In studies, teprenone has been shown to extend a cell’s lifespan by as much as a third.*

*Independent trial by Sederma


The star of C-Tetra®, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a super-stable vitamin C derivative. Oil soluble, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is able to penetrate deeply into the skin’s protective lipid barrier, to stimulate collagen production, give antioxidant protection against free radicals and brighten the complexion. The molecule is super-stable due to the reactive parts of ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) being blocked, while retaining a similar function. As our least irritating form of vitamin C, this is ideal for those who are new to vitamin C or for those with sensitive skins.


Tetrapeptide-30 is an illuminating peptide that helps to minimise the production of tyrosinase, the main enzyme responsible for converting the amino acid tyrosine to melanin. The overproduction of melanin can cause areas of hyperpigmentation and uneven tone to appear on the skin. Tetrapeptide-30 inhibits this process early on, to maintain a visibly even tone and promote a brighter looking complexion.


Sustainably sourced from Peru, theobroma cocoa seed extract is derived from criollo porcelana, a rare, premium variety of cocoa. This is often referred to as the world’s most expensive chocolate. This powerful extract protects the skin from the harmful effects of blue light, while also quenching damaging free radicals and boosting collagen production.


Derived from Curcuma longa (turmeric) roots, this natural extract is able to block the enzyme that creates melanin in the skin. It has been proven to be almost as effective as kojic acid at inhibiting the enzyme and helps to boost luminosity in the skin while tackling hyperpigmentation. Meanwhile, turmeric root extract also offers exceptional antioxidant protection against harmful, ageing free radicals while acting as a soothing anti-inflammatory for red and sore skin.



Urea is an integral part of the skin's Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF), it is a byproduct produced after the body uses protein. A humectant ingredient, Urea works to draws water into the stratum corneum, to rehydrate and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. It is also a powerful exfoliant, and has the ability to slough off dead skin cells, without disrupting the natural skin barrier, revealing visibly brighter, smoother skin. Our natural amount of urea in the skin dramatically reduces with age and in dry environments, thus replenishing the skin’s supplies is vital.



Otherwise known as panthenol, vitamin B5 is an effective hydrator which draws water to itself to leave the skin soft and supple. Vitamin B5 can also help to synthesise the lipid molecules that make up the skin’s protective barrier, which in turn helps the skin to retain moisture and stay hydrated.


Essential in our bodies for cell protection, vitamin E is an oil-soluble antioxidant that can protect the lipid parts of the cell. In skincare, vitamin E is often combined with vitamin C for boosted antioxidant effect. They can swap electrons between themselves to regenerate each other’s power. Vitamin C and E are combined in Medik8’s C-Tetra®. The ultra-stable and low irritation formula combines these proven antioxidants in their lipid forms within a nourishing oil texture that instantly boosts radiance and keeps fine lines and wrinkles at bay.


Otherwise known as linoleic acid, this omega-6 essential fatty acid nourishes and replenishes, deeply moisturising the skin to help strengthen its natural barrier. Essential fatty acids are vital for the function of normal, healthy cells. Deficiencies can lead to dry skin, decreased skin cell regeneration and poor wound healing. Blemish-prone skin tends to be lacking in omega-6, so vitamin F is ideal to rebalance for a clearer complexion.


Essential in the body for normal blood clotting processes, vitamin K helps to strengthen the connective tissue in veins and capillaries to help reduce the appearance of redness in the skin. This also helps to enhance the cell walls to stop the occurrence of spider-type veins.



Witch hazel is derived from dried hamamelis virginiana leaves native to North America. Witch hazel contains compounds called tannins which are natural astringents that help to shrink the appearance of pores and remove excess oil from the skin. Naturally anti-inflammatory, witch hazel is able to bring down red and sore blemishes and soothe irritated skin.





Zinc is an essential mineral used by the body. It is able to promote skin cell’s natural defensive mechanisms. Zinc PCA is a specialised version of zinc fused with pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. The latter is a moisturising molecule naturally present in the skin. This hybrid ingredient helps to thoroughly hydrate and care for the complexion. Zinc PCA can even regulate sebum levels which helps to reduce the likelihood of blemishes occuring.


A mineral sunscreen filter, zinc oxide provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide sits on top of the skin to reflect away harmful UV rays which can cause premature ageing. It is renowned for being gentle and unreactive on the skin, and is recommended for extremely sensitive or post-treatment skins.