This new slow-releasing salicylic acid will replace your current BHA toner

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Based in the UK and rooted in proven science, Medik8 is adored by dermatologists and skin experts – and for very good reason. Here’s why it’s one of Stylist’s beauty team’s go-to brands.

I’ve been a beauty editor for almost 10 years now. I’ve tried thousands of products from countless brands as part of my job, and yet the one that I always go back to, trust implicitly and find myself recommending the most to readers, friends and family, is Medik8.

Founded in 2009 by Elliot Isaacs, it’s a cosmeceutical skincare brand that’s led by proven science. Not long after launching, Elliot’s brother, Daniel, came on board to become Medik8’s director of research. Since then, the brothers have worked hard to develop a market-leading company that’s championed and trusted by some of the most well-respected dermatologists in the country, along with a host of skin experts, make-up artists and beauty editors. The reason it’s so highly regarded is simple: products actually work and consistently deliver on promises without being outrageously expensive.

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Based just outside of London, Medik8 has its own high-tech labs and an in-house research team that works to pioneer new research and development, cutting edge formulas and patent-pending molecules and ingredients. 

Each product developed is designed to specifically target at least one of the main skincare concerns that we all have, from redness and blemishes, to pores, pigmentation, ageing and dryness. Then there’s the fact that Medik8 is still a relatively small business, especially in comparison to its competitors, which really comes into its own in terms of the small-batch production approach it has. 

In short, every product that comes out of the lab has optimum potency and freshness, meaning it will always be as effective and as hardworking as it possibly can be. 

At its very core, Medik8 champions a so-called ‘CSA philosophy’ which harnesses the scientifically-proven power of vitamin C, sunscreen and vitamin A (retinol) as the basics of any effective skincare routine. It’s that simple approach that’s made education a huge part of the brand, and as somebody who wholeheartedly believes that skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, Medik8 really help with conveying that message. 

’Years ago, my brother and I were looking in all the dermatology journals to find out if there was a way we could add some authenticity and demystify the noise around skincare, drawing back to what really works – which speaks to our scientific upbringing,” explains Daniel to Stylist, referencing the pharmacy that his and Elliot’s father ran when they were growing up. 

“We found out that ultimately, there is no secret – it’s about using these core, topical skincare strategies that have been proven time and time again: using vitamin C, sunscreen and retinoids (vitamin A). If you use those three, they are doing the heavy lifting of what you can achieve from a topical skincare routine.”

It also helps that both Daniel and Elliot have a clever way of being able to distil information. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and talking to them both over the years and between them, they’ve helped me understand skincare (I was never any good at science at school) and have enabled me to increase my own knowledge which, I think, has genuinely made me better at my job.   

With a whole host of hardworking products, from cleansers and acid exfoliators to SPF that doesn’t feel like SPF and non-irritating vitamin A creams and serums, here are 11 of the Stylist beauty team’s favourite and most-recommended Medik8 products… 

The best Medik8 products to try

  • Medik8 Press & Clear Exfoliating 2% BHA Tonic

    The newest addition to Medik8’s roster of skincare brilliance, Press & Clear is a clarifying, brightening (refillable) skin tonic that treats blemishes with a slow-release formulation. 

    Designed to minimise sensitisation and irritation in blemish-prone skin, Press & Clear contains a 2% encapsulated salicylic acid that helps to slough away dead skin cells, treat congested skin and improve skin texture without compromising the integrity of the skin barrier.

    When the skin barrier is compromised, inflammation and sensitisation will quickly follow. Slow-release salicylic acid means that the risk of irritation from the active ingredient is minimised – useful for skin that’s already dealing with breakouts. 

    Shop Medik8 Press & Clear Exfoliating 2% BHA Tonic, £34

    buy now

  • Medik8 C-Tetra Vitamin C Radiance Serum

    Best Medik8 products: C-Tetra Vitamin C Radiance Serum

    Formulated with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a stable form of vitamin C, this lightweight serum gives superior antioxidant protection, defending skin against free radicals, pollution and other environmental damage while also working to help brighten skin and even out both tone and texture.

    Shop Medik8 C-Tetra Vitamin C Radiance Serum, £37

    buy now

  • Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF30

    Best Medik8 products: Advanced Day Total Protect SPF30

    Lucy Partington, contributing beauty editor: This is the SPF that got me into the crucial habit of wearing SPF every day. Lightweight, non-greasy, non-oily and perfect for applying under makeup, it has added antioxidants, blue light protection and contains ingredients that help ensure skin stays hydrated.

    Shop Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF30, £57

    buy now

  • Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3

    Best Medik8 products: Crystal Retinal 3

    Vitamin A is considered the gold standard in anti-ageing thanks to its unparalleled ability to soften fine lines and wrinkles while improving texture and visibly firming skin. It’s often criticised for irritating skin, but this cutting-edge vitamin A formula utilises retinaldehyde – one of the most powerful forms of over-the-counter vitamin A – which is clinically proven to cause less irritation.

    Shop Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3, £47

    buy now

  • Medik8 Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA Tonic

    Best Medik8 products: Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA Tonic

    Lucy Partington, contributing beauty editor: Before Press & Glow came along, I was wary of acid toners but this one has proven to me that they don’t always have to be super strong to be effective. Formulated with PHAs – polyhydroxy acids, AKA the gentlest type of acid – it gently sloughs away dead skin cells on the surface layer. Suitable to use twice a day, it can be incorporated alongside other active ingredients, plus it works to hydrate skin.

    Shop Medik8 Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA Tonic, £27

    buy now

  • Medik8 Sleep Glycolic Serum

    Best Medik8 products: Sleep Glycolic Serum

    Medik8 Sleep Glycolic contains 10% pure glycolic acid and uses clever encapsulation technology that’s slowly broken down while you sleep to help transform dull, textured skin.

    Shop Medik8 Sleep Glycolic Serum, £37

    buy now

  • Medik8 Pore Cleanse Gel Intense

    Best Medik8 products: Pore Cleanse gel intense

    Lucy Partington, contributing beauty editor: Good for my oily, blemish-prone skin, this cleanser pairs an exfoliating blend of salicylic, lactic and mandelic acid with glycerin to help hydrate skin while minimising irritation. It works to deeply cleanse skin without stripping it, plus the gel formula is really satisfying to use.

    Shop Medik8 Pore Cleanse Gel Intense, £22

    buy now

  • Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanse

    Morgan Fargo, Stylist beauty editor: My skin type is dry and easily dehydrated, prone to sensitivity but also dullness. This was the first Medik8 product I tried and within a week it had become a staple in my routine. 

    An efficacious blend of exfoliating mandelic, lactic and salicylic acid it treats congested skin, smooths out uneven texture and encourages the sloughing off of dead skin cells. Used in tandem with the oil, my skin feels hydrated, bright and radiant.

    Shop Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanse, £19

    buy now

  • Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil

    Morgan Fargo, Stylist beauty editor: While I do use active ingredients regularly in my routine, I like to focus on oils, balms and skin-barrier fortifying products too. Like many people with sensitive skin, an angry, irritated reaction seems to always be just around the corner if you go a little too hard and fast with stronger ingredients.

    This lipid-balancing cleansing oil removes every trace of make-up, including mascara. Enriched with vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it helps to maintain the healthy functioning of the skin barrier, while also protecting against damage caused by free radicals.

    Shop Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil, £29

    buy now

  • Medik8 Micellar Mousse

    Another gentle cleansing option, this micellar mouse is light but hardworking, cleansing away make-up, dirt and impurities. Infused with olive oil, it’s an effective cleanser with anti-pollution technology to protect against environmental stressors.  

    Shop Medik8 Micellar Mousse, £25

    buy now

  • Medik8 Hydra8 B5 Serum

    Another moisture boost, this lightweight hydrating serum combines vitamin B5 and multi-weight hyaluronic acid and doesn’t become sticky or hang around on the skin. Instead, it sinks in quickly, leaving the skin softer, more supple and ready for a cream or balm.

    Shop Medik8 Hydra8 B5 Serum, £42

    buy now

  • Medik8 Advanced Night Restore

    Morgan Fargo, Stylist beauty editor: A sleeping cream that works overtime as you slumber, it contains saskatoon berry, peptides and dragon fruit, as well as ceramides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and protect the skin barrier. One to use after your retinol it helps to keep skin plump, soft and healthy.

    Shop Medik8 Advanced Night Restore, £57

    buy now

Images: courtesy of Medik8

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