Skin 101: Retinol

We know what you’re thinking, “I spent my whole life not hearing about retinol, and now it seems to be in every conversation I have when discussing aging and skincare.” And you’re right, retinol has blown up, but in all honesty there’s a good - even great - reason. Read on, as we discuss everything you need to know about retinol, and why it’s being referred to as the gold-standard in skincare.

What is retinol?

Put simply, retinol is a pure form of vitamin A and a type of retinoid. ‘Retinoid’ is an umbrella term for all vitamin A derivatives. We love vitamin A as it encourages skin cell production, which is why when it comes to retinol, not only can it be recommended for aging, but for repairing too. But more on the superpowers of retinol later…

All retinoids contain the crucial retinoid acid, just in different concentrations, meaning you will come across different types of retinoids/retinols in skincare. Quick rundown - pure retinoic acid is the strongest form of retinol, you won’t see this on the shelf of your local Caci as it’s prescription only. Then there’s our friend retinol, which is weaker than pure retinoic acid and can be found in many of our most popular products. Lastly there’s retinol derivatives which are the gentlest form when it comes to using retinol.

How important is retinol %?

We often get questions from our customers on the percentage of retinol in skincare products. But what many people don’t realise is, the percentage of retinol within a product does not mean that a product is more or less effective. With ingredients like retinol – it all comes down to the overall formula that is carrying the retinol and enhancing it, as well as even how the product is bottled and packaged so the product is not affected by sunlight or external factors.

Benefits of retinol?

The rejuvenating Retinol is commonly referred to as the gold-standard in skincare. That’s because it is the most powerful ingredient found in topical skincare when it comes to promoting skin renewal.

Benefits of retinol include a profound, visible reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and dramatic improvements in texture, tone and radiance. It also functions as an antioxidant to help address free-radical damage, which leads to visible signs of aging.

The results? Smooth, firm, youthful looking skin!

When to use retinol?

This question is very important when starting your retinol journey. Try to ease into using this powerhouse ingredient to let your skin adapt using it in your PM skincare regime. If your skin becomes dry or irritated, hold back to every other night or even once per week.

Our go-to retinol products

Skinsmiths PRO Strength Retinol



Skinsmiths Retinol Booster Plus



Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Serum


We take pride in recommending the best products for customers - to treat their individual skin concerns, and to get the best possible results. The best part about the Skinsmiths Retinol Booster, is that it is designed for retinol newbies, and the Retinol Booster Plus, for total skincare junkies who love effective skincare products! 

And Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Serum? There’s a reason why it was voted Best Anti Ageing Product in the 2019 beautyheaven NZ Best in Beauty Awards! Once you’re hooked, check out some of its sister products in the Murad Resurgence range (aka the green line).

If you did need a recommendation on what will work for you and your concerns, we'd recommend popping in to your nearest Caci clinic to chat more with one of our skin experts.