What Makes Encapsulated Retinol So Beneficial?

From preventing pimples to boosting collagen production, there are many proven-to-work skincare ingredients that benefit your skin. Vitamin A derivatives, for example, are absolute essentials that can make or break a skincare regimen. 


Proven to be effective for the treatment of acne, psoriasis, and signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles (via Healthline), retinoid, a type of vitamin A derivative approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and its less potent counterpart, retinol, are often recommended by dermatologists and estheticians. While many retinoids can only be obtained with a prescription, retinol can be purchased over the counter, making it more convenient to work into your skincare regimen. Over-the-counter retinol yields effective results, but it might take a longer period of time to do so when compared to retinoids.

While retinol has many skincare benefits, if it's not packaged and delivered properly, it can destabilize — or lose its efficacy — as board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum told W Magazine. If you want to get the most out of your retinol, encapsulated retinol may be right for you.


What makes retinol lose its stability?

Before delving into the benefits of encapsulated retinol, let's figure out why encapsulation helps retinol remain stable and safe for use. Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told The New York Times that research shows exposure to oxygen and light will cause retinol to deteriorate. Therefore, it is best stored in a dark and cool place, and you'll notice many products that contain retinol are packaged in light-blocking, opaque materials.


Many dermatologists also recommend not using retinol during the day, in order to achieve its maximum benefits. "Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product," dermatologist Whitney Bowe told Vogue

To preserve its efficacy and reduce the chances of it causing irritation, the process of encapsulating retinol involves keeping its active ingredient in a protective outer layer, "[allowing] it to better absorb into the skin, penetrating the deeper layers of skin before going to work," board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Science Dermatology Dr. Geeta Yadav told The Zoe Report.

The benefits of time-release technology

When initially introduced, pure retinol has the potential to make your skin more sensitive. "With a retinol burn, skin is going to be more and more raw, more irritated, and more 'angry,' whereas other skin conditions don't necessarily have those symptoms," skincare expert Dr. Shereene Idriss told Brides. The unique time-release technology of encapsulation — characterized by the gradual release of the retinol in small amounts instead of all at once — reduces the risk of irritation and inflammation. 


And while encapsulated retinol may not be any more potent than retinol that's not encapsulated, according to board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology Dr. Corey L. Hartman, it really is a no-brainer as to which one to choose. "If you're going to spend the money on a retinol product, look for one with encapsulated retinol to get the most bang for your buck," he told The Zoe Report.

In summary, encapsulation makes retinol less vulnerable to environmental factors, extends its shelf life, maximizes its effectiveness, and can lead to less skin irritation. So, when will you add it to your skincare routine?