Ingredient Glossary

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



Acai Extract is a purple-red berry derived from the acai palm tree native to South America. Acai berry is rich in high concentrations of many essential fatty acids and vitamins. Similar in appearance to blueberries, acai berry is also packed full of anthocyanins, which are known to soothe the appearance of skin, while acting as an antioxidant.


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 natural remedies, it was rumored that even Cleopatra used it as a soothing skin treatment. Now an essential for visibly calming the skin, aloe vera leaves the complexion looking glowing and feeling cared for.


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. In skincare, arnica helps to soothe and hydrate the complexion.


Extracted from the root of red ginseng, this natural extract is fermented to intensify its powers. Activated red ginseng is able to brighten the appearance of the skin, promoting a more even-looking complexion.



Naturally occurring in the bran of oats, beta-glucan provides comfort by visibly soothing skin, and acts as an antioxidant.



Not just an ingredient in your morning coffee, caffeine is ideal for reducing the appearance of puffiness and darkness under the eyes. Caffeine also works as an antioxidant.


Carnosine is a peptide which is naturally produced in the body. It is an antioxidant, and is beneficial in helping to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time.


Chamomile is renowned as a soothing, calming extract for skin. The main extract from chamomile, bisabolol, is high in vitamin B5, which helps to support the skin's natural processes for a healthy complexion. Soothing and nourishing, chamomile extract also contains antioxidants.


A selection of lipids naturally found in the waterproof barrier that sits on top of the upper layers of the skin. Ceramides are exceptionally useful for moisturizing 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 optimized mixture of ceramide 1 and 3 alongside phytosterol and fatty acids.


An extraordinary breakthrough in vitamin A, climbazole is able to boost the effects of retinoids in the skin, without increasing the irritation potential on the skin.


Crystalide is a next-generation peptide which helps to enhance the skin's natural reflectance and luminosity. The peptides help to create a 'glass skin' effect; leaving the complexion visibly clear, smooth and uniform with a radiant glow.



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 extract contains high levels of antioxidants.



A high-performing peptide called Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, this works to fight the appearance of expression wrinkles, for a visibly smoother complexion.




Glycerin is present in the natural moisturizing factors of our skin, which provide essential protection and hydration. An effective humectant, this ingredient is able to draw water to itself, keeping the skin hydrated, supple and soft.


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 exfoliate the upper layers of skin in a similar way to AHAs. However, there is one main difference between PHAs and AHAs. PHAs are much larger molecules than AHAs, which means they reside on the very top of the skin surface where they can hydrate skin whilst exfoliating. Therefore, they are more gentle on the skin than AHAs and are suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skins. Gluconolactone promotes a smoother, more radiant looking complexion.



Also known as vitamin P, hesperidin helps to minimise the appearance of dark, puffy circles underneath the eyes, for a brighter and more awake-looking under eye area.


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 into the skin.

This leaves the complexion both visibly nourished and supple. Multiple weights of hyaluronic acid are used throughout the Medik8 range, from the smallest molecules to the biggest.

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.




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 a newer, fresher skin surface. Also extremely nourishing, lactic acid helps the complexion to hold onto water for soft, supple skin.



An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) with the power of beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Naturally occurring in almonds, mandelic acid is both oil and water soluble, meaning it can help to unblock oily, congested pores while also working to exfoliate the upper layers of the skin. This leaves the complexion decongested and luminised while fine lines are visibly smoothed.


The exotic oil extract of passion fruit, maracuja oil is renowned for its high content of nourishing fatty acids and 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. Also brimming with nourishing linoleic acid (omega-6), maracuja oil is able to support the skin’s natural lipid barrier to nourish dry skin.


A combination of the peptides palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl oligopeptide, Matrixyl 3000 helps to leave the skin firmer looking with fine lines and wrinkles visibly reduced.


Moringa is often used as a natural cleanser; drawing dirt and impurities to itself so they can be easily cleansed away. It is also used as an antioxidant.



The skin's upper layers contain lots of different types of water-loving molecules which bind and hold moisture. The skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factors are made up of sodium PCA, glycerin, urea, proteins, sugars, amino acids, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, creatine and more. They leave the skin visibly supple and hydrated.


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. Combined with niacinamide, the two ingredients have been found to work synergistically to visibly brighten the skin. NAG has also be found to work synergistically with retinol, boosting its powers for a visibly bouncy and youthful-looking complexion.


Otherwise known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a multi-tasker in the skincare world. It is able to soothe and visibly brighten the skin while promoting hydration. Niacinamide can also minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to promote a more youthful-looking complexion.




A form of carbohydrate, prebiotics support our skin’s natural microbiome. They help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, while helping to prevent the growth of bad bacteria. This helps to balance the skin, promoting a visibly flawless-looking complexion.


Live bacteria can produce postbiotics; these are the byproducts 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 support overall skin health.


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, leading to dry, dull and uneven-textured skin. Prickly pear extract works to exfoliate the skin, helping to improve the visible clarity and luminosity of the skin and smooths over the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.




Also known as retinal, this is a next-generation form of vitamin A that works 11 times faster than retinol. On 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. Retinaldehyde only needs one conversion in the skin to retinoic acid, whereas traditional retinol needs two.

This means faster and more effective results; smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and visibly brightening the complexion. Encapsulated in crystal complex cyclodextrin, retinal is slowly released throughout the night.


The gold standard in results-driven 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. It is then able to produce the results of vitamin A; smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and visibly brightening the complexion.

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 minimize 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 (Intelligent 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.

Our most gentle vitamin A, retinyl retinoate is ideal for addressing the visible signs of skin aging, and can even be used on sensitive skin.



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. Vitamin F can help to nourish the complexion. Safflower oil is also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant.


A BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, helps to unblock pore blockages and lightly exfoliate to encourage a decongested complexion.


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 natural antioxidants.


An almost-skin identical lipid, squalane is able to reinforce the skin's natural barrier. It can provide nourishment and mositurization for visibly smooth, supple skin. Ideal for use in conjunction with inherently drying retinols, squalane helps to soothe and nourish the skin.



Tea tree oil is steam distilled from the Australian native plant melaleuca alternifolia. Used by aboriginals for many years, the leaves of the plants carry an abundance of herbal, aromatic oils, alongside antioxidants.


The star of our C-Tetra® range, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a stabilized vitamin C derivative. It helps to boost radiance levels in the skin, while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also acts as an antioxidant.




Otherwise known as panthenol, vitamin B5 is an effective hydrator which draws water to itself to leave the skin soft and supple.


Essential in our bodies for cell protection, vitamin E is an oil-soluble antioxidant. In skincare, vitamin E is often combined as a co-antioxidant to vitamin C. Vitamin C and E are combined in Medik8’s C-Tetra® and C-Tetra Luxe. The stabilized and low irritation formula combines these proven antioxidants in their lipid forms within a nourishing oil texture that instantly boosts radiance and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Otherwise known as linoleic acid, this omega-6 essential fatty acid nourishes and replenishes, moisturising the skin to help support its natural barrier.






Zinc is an essential mineral used by the body. Zinc PCA is a specialised version of zinc fused with pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. The latter is a moisturizing molecule naturally present in the skin. This hybrid ingredient helps to thoroughly hydrate and care for the complexion.


A mineral sunscreen, zinc oxide provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide sits on top of the skin to reflect and absorb harmful UV rays which can cause premature aging. We only ever use non-nano zinc oxide in our sunscreen formulations, crafted into lightweight protective creams for everyday wear.