For a quick summary, scroll down to the bottom of this blog or read on for the full blog.

“The moment I wake up before I put on my makeup, I say a little prayer for you… before you comb your hair. Now, and think what dress to wear now…” CRASH, BOOM, BANG, pimples, acne, YES it’s acne! Dark, uneven pigmented blotches, hyper-pigmentation, oily yet dry patches, blackheads, whiteheads, sensitive skin, pre-mature ageing, inflammation, fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage,  what’s next and what’s the BEST advice? Honestly? Without trying to sell me 5 creams, 3 serums, a mask, an exfoliator, an eye cream, neck cream, home peel, décolleté mousse and a wrinkle plumping gel.

Beauts, Beauties and Beau-teens (Beautique clients), most of us have been down one of these roads right? Most of us have heard of treatments like peels, micro-needling, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, injectables etc. and we have also heard of lists of different ingredients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Retinol, Retin-A, Retinol, Retinoids, and this year we seeing we have seen the word Tretinoin popping up. There are Alpha- hydroxy acids, Ester or L-Ascorbic acid, Ceramides, Peptides, AHA/BHA, Antioxidants, Kojic Acid, Tocopherol or TCP, Salicylic acid, Caffeine, Green Tea Extract, Coenzyme Q10, Jojoba and Olive Oil. I can go on and on, there are plenty!

What are these top-secret treatments and ingredients that cost the earth and are supposedly life-changing? And which of them work? Every second brand out there promises results, every brand has a serum, potion or lotion that will supposedly transform your skin.  Being able to clear your skin and feel comfortable in your skin is LIFE-CHANGING! Having problematic skin can ruin your life. We kid you not.

In this blog, we will uncover what we have learnt in the last 15 years. Over the years, we have worked with brands, and we have worked with clients, with different skin types, concerns, and ingredients and have seen the results of different treatments.

Yes, ageing is inevitable and yes, we want to age gracefully but ageing well is 100% a choice! And we should all want to age well!

Believe it or not, we can slow down the hands of time. We can even reverse the hands of time! We can’t stop the hands of time. This is why your skincare routine should be part of your lifestyle, like brushing your teeth is something you do every day, and looking after your skin should be something you do every day. Having a technology/smart facial should be a monthly occurrence. This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. Scroll down for a link to our blog on skincare treatments and products that won’t break the bank


Firstly, you need to know that old school or traditional facials are becoming a thing of the past! Cleanse, steam, extract, slap on some lotions, some called potions, a mask and bobs your uncle. Yes, traditional facials feel fabulous, some are relaxing BUT are they as result-driven as a technology facial? Are you looking for a spa treatment or a result-driven facial is what you need to ask yourself? Did you take a before and after pic? Did you notice any difference in your skin besides the fact that it’s cleaner? Of course, your skin is going to look and feel cleaner. Can you imagine going through the torture of extracting and not having your skin feel, at least, clean?

Did you know that in this day and age, there are tech or smart facials that prevents congestion? Imagine that! No more extractions are needed!

One cannot expect advanced results from old-school treatments alone. We need that extra boost, that state-of-the-art tech, that cosmeceutical product packed with result-driven ingredients that can penetrate. And you got to try to book a smart facial once a month. Consistency is key. You got to keep shocking your skin into producing collagen and reknitting elastin fibres. If you are consistent you will never regret it, promise. For more info click here to read our blog on tech facials and products that won’t break the bank


IMPORTANT NOTICE: If your homecare products (cleansers, moisturizers, serums are fragranced, they will cause irritation if they penetrate the skin). Therefore any product that smells good, could not possibly be result driven as they can’t possibly penetrate to deep layers.

We going to start with the holy grail of skincare ingredients, Vitamin A. Many of us have heard of Retin-A, Retinol, and Retinoids. Maybe you have heard of Tretinoins? Here is the low down on these ingredients.


Firstly, Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A. You don’t need a prescription for it. Tretinoin or Retinoic Acid is a synthetic version of vitamin A. It’s stronger, and you need a prescription from your doctor for this medication – BUT don’t stress, we got you covered. We work closely with doctors and if you require a script, we can assist. There is a small admin fee of R150. So what is Retin-A? You may ask. Retin-A was a brand name of a tretinoin cream that was discontinued. Although Retin-A was discontinued you can still get other Tretinoin creams.

Now don’t get confused between Tretinoin and Retinol. One of the main differences between tretinoin and retinol is how quickly it works on your skin—tretinoin gets straight to work without needing to be converted by skin enzymes first. Another key difference is that, while retinol and tretinoin both treat signs of ageing, only tretinoin is proven to treat acne.

Not everyone requires Tretinoin and this is where Retinol comes in. Retinol is over the counter, and we have awesome products that include retinol and coupled with other amazing ingredients that can assist with other skin concerns you may have.


Tretinoin has both acne-fighting and anti-ageing benefits. Available in gel, lotion, or cream form, tretinoin helps improve elasticity, texture, and uneven skin tone. Tretinoin also helps unclog pores, treating breakouts.

Unlike retinol, tretinoin interacts with your skin immediately, so it can deliver results quicker. Tretinoin works on the cellular level to change your skin. Our skin naturally clears out dead skin cells so that fresh, healthy ones can thrive; skin concerns like acne can happen when this regeneration process gets thrown off. Tretinoin stimulates cell growth and collagen production, boosting your skin’s strength (literally).

But tretinoin may be more likely to cause side effects than retinol. Potential side effects of tretinoin include:

  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Dry skin
  • Redness
  • Temporary breakouts or worsening of breakouts

These side effects are most likely when first starting tretinoin or increasing your prescription’s strength. But don’t fret! We have tips to help you adjust to tretinoin, and you can reach out to your Beau-gician.

We do prefer and recommend that one starts with retinol first so we can prep the skin before starting Tretinoin. Retinol is a slow release that is naturally gentler on the skin, with fewer side effects, and needs only a few weeks to see results.


Tretinoin is worth a shot if you want to treat breakouts and signs of ageing simultaneously. Remember, retinol is only proven to treat anti-ageing concerns, whereas tretinoin can treat both. For those with sensitive skin, it might be best to start on a low dose of tretinoin; it’s typically available in concentrations ranging from 0.01%-0.1%. (We will chat to the Doctor about what makes the most sense for you). If you don’t want to deal with a prescription, then stick with retinol—just be sure to come in for a FREE skin consult and skin assessment at The Laser Beautique so we can prescribe products with ingredients that will work for any of your other skin concerns. A consult does take a little extra time and effort, but it’s crucial to avoid ingredients that can cause breakouts and irritation.

Whether you decide to go with retinol or tretinoin, sunscreen is essential to your skincare routine. This is because retinoids cause the skin to be more sensitive to the sun. Increased cell turnover = new baby skin cells—protect them at all costs! Use your retinoid at night-time only, always wear broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen during the day, and practice sun safety.

Whether you choose retinol or tretinoin, start slow—2-3 nights per week at first. You should also skip chemical exfoliants (AHAs/BHAs) while your skin is adjusting since these can trigger side effects.

If you’re using tretinoin, stop using leave-on benzoyl peroxide products. Benzoyl peroxide can make tretinoin’s effects inactive. Also, avoid facial hair treatments like sugaring and waxing. These can trigger unwanted side effects. That’s why we always recommend laser


You can but… eh. Tretinoin is just so much more powerful than retinol. There’s not much of a point in using both together. On the other hand, it might make sense to use tretinoin on most of your face and retinol on more sensitive areas, like your under-eyes and around the lips.

If you’re curious about tretinoin, We at The Laser Beautique might be able to help. We put together a perfect treatment and homecare plan for your skin making sure you have the right mix of active ingredients prescribed for your skin concerns.


Did you know that retinol is known to help reduce hyperpigmentation, restore photo-damaged skin (sun damage), stimulate protein synthesis (collagen production), normalize sebum production, improve barrier function and is an anti-inflammatory? All of this, in one ingredient!

Now I did mention that it’s all about the method of absorption, what did I mean about that? Let me break it down for you:

This process is called Retinization – this process of gradually getting used to the application of retinoid-containing products. In other words, whenever you are using a retinoid-containing product you will NOT apply it every day at first. In your first week of having retinoid products, you would only use it ONCE! This is because this product is potent! You will gradually increase the use of this product week by week. In your second week, use it twice, in your third week, three times and this is how you would introduce this retinoid-based product into your current skincare regime. Easy as one two three!

Okay, now that I am sure, I have convinced you all that retinol is AMAZING and the way to go! What are these products, and where can I get them!! Here is a list of products from The Laser Beautique that all contain Retinol:

Optiphi®’s award-winning anti-ageing serum is designed to promote cellular rejuvenation, delivering the highest concentration of retinol to the skin.

Retinol, a powerful anti-ageing agent targets wrinkles, age spots and pigmentation. UV damage is addressed and sebum production controlled. Peptides boost collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin production in the skin, firming the skin. Antioxidants, inhibit damaging reactions leading to ageing and support balance within the skin.  Lipids delay the signs of ageing by increasing the vitality of skin cells.

Concentrated Cellular Rejuvenator

How to use: It is recommended that this Retinol-rich serum is introduced into your skin routine gradually as directed by your optiphi® skin specialist. Apply the Infinity Serum under your Optiphi® Revitalizer and Control Cream or over your Active Gels. Allow the product to penetrate thoroughly before continuing with further product applications. Recommended to be used in the evenings for best results.

A lightweight serum that rejuvenates skins affected by sun damage and photo-ageing.

Formulated with strong anti-oxidants to reduce sun damage and boost the skin’s natural protection mechanisms while the calming properties soothe the skin by fighting free radicals. Powerful active ingredients protect against the breakdown of elastin and collagen, reduce the appearance of sun spots and pigmentation and so promote skin vitality and radiance.  The excellent anti-ageing agent, Retinol, targets wrinkles, age spots, UV damage and pigmentation, and furthermore controls oil production. An additional blend of extracts provides the skin with 24-hour hydration and reduces  UV and infrared damage and protects from future injury.

How to use: Apply 1 – 2 pumps to the entire face, avoiding the eyes, over the Optiphi® Active Gels and under the Serums and Control Creams. May be used mornings and evenings It is recommended to introduce retinol-containing products gradually into your skincare routine. Refer to an Optiphi® specialist for detailed guidelines.

This luxurious serum, optiphi®’s flagship product, noticeably reduces all the signs of ageing in the skin.

Retinol actively reduces wrinkles, age spots and uneven skin tone, addresses UV damage and balances sebum production for a multi-targeted anti-ageing effect. Bakuchiol, which has similar activity to that of Retinol, but an entirely unique mechanism, efficiently fights all visible signs of ageing, pro-actively targets pigmentation and reduces skin sensitivity. Co-enzyme Q-10 offers anti-oxidant support and a blend of peptides rebuilds collagen and elastin in the skin and further improves the appearance of wrinkles. Ceramides repair the skin’s barrier and restore moisture to the skin.

How to use: Apply 1 – 2 pumps to the entire face, avoiding the eyes, over the Optiphi® Active Gels and under the Serums and Control Creams. May be used mornings and evenings It is recommended to introduce retinol-containing products gradually into your skincare routine. Refer to an Optiphi® specialist for detailed guidelines

A skin brightening cream designed for the treatment of dark spots and uneven skin tone; brighten dull skin and fight free radical stress.

Retinol, a powerful brightening agent that targets age spots and pigmentation, addresses UV damage and controls oil production, mattifying the skin.

The powerful blend of Vitamins C & B3 improves radiance, combats free radicals and rebuilds the skin structure.

Even Complexion & Brightening Therapy

How to use: Apply 1 – 2 pumps over the entire face, neck and chest, over the Optiphi® Active Gels, Serums and Revitalizers. For best results use mornings and evenings. Recommended to introduce this retinol product gradually into your skincare routine.

A multi-functional night moisturizer that assists in improving elasticity and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving skin smooth, supple and rejuvenated

A skin clarifying and mattifying night moisturizer for the treatment of all manifestations of problematic skin conditions. Unique actives and Dermabiotics counteract the root cause of problematic skin while minimising the disruption of the skin barrier.

Use in the evening after Nimue Cleanser and Conditioner. Massage into clean, dry skin on the face and neck or as prescribed. Use Nimue SPF in the morning. Avoid sun exposure.

A super anti-oxidant serum that combats the effects of environmental and free radical skin damage, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This highly active booster tightens, firms and revitalises dull and tired-looking skin, resulting in radiance.

Use AM or PM, three times a week, after Nimue Cleanser and Conditioner. Use only as prescribed. Massage a thin layer into the face, neck and décolleté. Follow with Nimue moisturiser and Nimue SPF in the morning.


Optiphi Retinol Peel

The Optiphi® Retinol Peel is an advanced-strength peel with a double-action retinol focus. This peeling system includes 2% medical grade pure retinol in an advanced delivery system for enhanced skin absorption, a bio-retinoid to magnify the physiological effects of retinol on cellular systems, powerful soothing actives and anti-oxidants to deliver a multi-dimensional skin treatment. It is ideal for clients with mild to severe photo-ageing, acne and acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, and age spots, and/or anyone wishing to improve their overall complexion.


The holy grail of skincare Vitamin A 

This is the star of the show in terms of skin ‘care’.

It has a long list of conditions/signs of ageing/skin problems/disorders that it is proven capable of either fixing entirely or massively helping.

Vitamin A is the first vitamin approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an anti-wrinkle agent that changes the appearance of the skin surface and has anti-ageing effects.

Originally (and still) used to treat acne, it quickly became obvious that there was much more to this wonder ingredient.

Below are all the ins and outs of Vitamin A:

  1. What is Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is a group of compounds that play a vital role in our body. It exists naturally in foods and supplements.

There are 2 forms of Vitamin A found in the food we eat:

* Preformed Vitamin A – exclusively found in animal products (dairy, liver, fish)

* Provitamin A carotenoids – found in plant products ( fruits, vegetables, oils)

Our body converts both the above Vitamin A to Retin-A and retinoic acid, the active forms of Vitamin A.

  1. What is Retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. You don’t need a prescription for Retinol or Vitamin A.

Retinol is basically an over-the-counter version of “Retin-A, Tretinoin or Retinoic acid.

Prescription-strength Vitamin A is retinoic acid (also known as Tretinoin/Retin-A).

  1. What is Retinoids? 

Any type of Retinol falls under a category called Retinoids. Therefore, Retin-A, Retinoic acid, Tretinoin and Retinol, which are all derivatives of Vitamin A, are considered Retinoids.

  1. What is the difference between Retin-A and Retinol? 

The brand Retin-A has become the most popular term used when referring to topical tretinoin. Many people use Retin-A and Tretinoin interchangeably (even doctors). It’s like how people use the brand name “Q-Tip” rather than the generic term “cotton swab.” or the brand name “post-it’s” rather than sticky note.

Tretinoin is the name of the active ingredient in the brand-name medication. Tretinoin is a synthetic form of vitamin A and as mentioned, it’s available only through prescription.

Please note Retin-A has been discontinued but there are various other creams containing Tretinoin is still available. At The Laser Beautique, we work closely with Doctors and we are able to get you a script if you require one.

Another key difference is that, while retinol and tretinoin both treat signs of ageing, only Tretinoin is proven to treat acne.

  1. What is Tretinoin? 

Tretinoin (all-trans-retinoic acid) is the most bioactive form among retinoids applied topically to the skin. There is no need for our body to convert it into retinoic acid, therefore, it works faster and is more powerful than retinol.

Tretinion comes in a variety of strengths such as 0.25% (the lowest), 0.5% and 1.0 % (the strongest).

You’ll definitely want to start using the lowest dose once or twice a week. Let your skin adjust and slowly increase the strengths.

Each one takes one further stage to convert, as per the table below, and each conversion weakens the strength/effect of the product, hence why a 1% retinol is still not as effective as a 0.025% retinoic acid but may prove more irritating:

retinoic acid/tretinoin/all-trans-retinoic acid 

Tretinoin increases the epidermal cellular turnover, it also causes dispersion of melanin granules.