encapsulated retinol

Encapsulated Retinol: Is It The Best Retinol Ever?

Encapsulated retinol – the name itself might be confusing to many, but it is far away from any capsules that come to your mind right now. Although there are skincare products in capsules, encapsulated retinol doesn’t refer to retinol in capsule form.

Retinol itself is a mighty superhero that addresses many skin issues, anti-aging being the most crucial one among others. It might work even better than traditional retinol, with fewer side effects. How do you ask? Here’s how.

What is encapsulated retinol? The difference between retinol and encapsulated retinol

First things first. Retinol is found in nature (aka Vitamin A) in different forms and is obtained from animal and vegetable sources. That said, traditional retinol found in skincare is synthetically made in the lab. It is made by mimicking the retinol molecules that can be found in nature.

Unlike the traditional retinol, encapsulated retinol is the direct result of a technological process called encapsulated delivery system. Are you still with us? Let’s dig deeper. 

Encapsulation (or microencapsulation) in skincare is the process in which the active ingredients (in this case, retinol) are housed in carriers, nanocarriers to be exact. But this is done at a microscopic level, so, obviously, we can’t actually see it. Nanocarriers such as liposomes, niosomes act as delivery systems for antioxidants to increase their efficiency.

When retinol is stored in these nanocarriers, it becomes more stable, meaning it is less likely to break down and have a prolonged benefit on the skin. These carriers sort of “block” the exposure to the light and air, so you get the “pure”, stable retinol with the highest potency. They keep the ingredients safe until they are applied to the skin. 

We all know that retinol is a wild card of skincare and its side effects are not unheard of. Especially, for all of us who have sensitive skin. However, that’s not the case for encapsulated retinol. The encapsulation method makes sure that retinol doesn’t irritate your skin.

Instead of being applied to the skin instantly, the encapsulated retinol takes its time and is slowly released into the skin. That’s the whole trick behind its magic. Think of it as a delicious beef stew (you can tell I am a foodie) that takes hours to prepare. It takes some time to prepare, but eventually, you get that rich, one-of-a-kind meal that was worth the wait. 

Benefits of encapsulated retinol for skin  

encapsulated retinol
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

#1: Benefits of encapsulated retinol: It penetrates deeper into the skin 

Because encapsulated retinol is very stable and highly effective, it has no trouble traveling deep into the layers of the skin. This means that it can reach the right area and serve its greatest purpose – anti-aging. It will work towards smoothing out the wrinkles, fighting hyperpigmentation, and boosting collagen. 

#2: Benefits of encapsulated retinol: It is perfect for sensitive skin 

If you are looking for something gentle, but very potent at the same time you are looking for encapsulated retinol. If your skin is on the sensitive side, it is most likely to react to retinol. Irritation and redness are the most common side effects. Enter encapsulated retinol. The encapsulation method will make sure that the active ingredients can pass through the layers without any hypersensitivity or irritation. 

#3: Benefits of encapsulated retinol: It has long-lasting effects

Remember the beef stew? I mean the “slow-release” effect of encapsulated retinol. This one is linked to that. It is activated slowly for a prolonged effect. This is why encapsulated retinol is gentler on the skin as well. 

Who should use Encapsulated Retinol in their routine? 

There is no limitation as to what type of skin needs to use encapsulated retinol. Basically, all skin types can reap the benefits of using products with encapsulated retinol. The thing is, you have to find out what your skin concerns are.

Because retinol is effective for many skin issues, like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, hyperpigmentation, you really have to pick your battles. I personally think sensitive skin will probably benefit most from using encapsulated retinol because it is a gentle formulation. It is also a good place to start if you are new to the retinol game. 

Need more about Retinol? Read: 5 Greatest Benefits Of Retinol On Skin

Can you use traditional retinol and Encapsulated Retinol at the same time? 

Too much retinol is never a good idea. We even wrote a post about what ingredients not to mix. And yes, many of them contain retinol. You have to bear in mind that even though encapsulated retinol is gentle, using traditional oil along with it won’t have the same gentle effect. It will only lead to irritation, redness and you know, ultimate retinol complications. 

How to incorporate Encapsulated Retinol into your routine? 

Skincare products with encapsulated retinol obviously target different skin concerns. Night serums are particularly popular. There are things to consider before using them. 

IMPORTANT: Don’t overdo its use. Again, just because it is gentle doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. Use it only once a day, at night. And that’s if you have built a tolerance.

If you have never used retinol on your skin, use it while taking breaks. For example, if you use it today, take a break for two days or so, and then continue. Use a nighttime moisturizer on top of retinol to prevent any irritation. And you know the deal with any retinol, sensitivity to light. So, sunscreen is a MUST during day time. (SPF 30 at least)

Products with Encapsulated Retinol

encapsulated retinol

Here are some best products picks with Encapsulated Retinol: 


CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum

 Apart from being super affordable, it is formulated with ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid that will help with a couple of things. Ceramides help restore the skin barrier, while hyaluronic acid (HA) will lock the hydration into the skin.

 It also has one of the most loved ingredients – vitamin B3, aka niacinamide, is a star name for dealing with redness, acne. Niacinamide + encapsulated retinol will prevent any possible side effects with the former acting as a “shield”. This product might be the one for introducing retinol to your skin for the first without any side effects. 

Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin B3 For Skin

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Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum

This one is a bit on the splurge side, because hello, it is PTR! 

This non-irritating microencapsulated retinol night serum has a consistency of 1.5% and is made with antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E that fight against free radicals. 

Because using night serums is perhaps the best way to use retinol in general, this serum will provide an anti-aging boost while you are well-rested. Also, it has squalane – a moisturizing agent that will work even for dry skin. 

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Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

If you are looking for a product with encapsulated retinol for your eye area concerns, you have come to the right place. This one will especially work best for dark circles because it contains coffeeberry to brighten the skin. 

This eye serum is formulated with time-release retinol (the slow activation we talked about. It is a gentle formula that is extra caring for the thin skin around the eyes. Plus, as you can tell from the name, it has avocado which is very nourishing and packed with antioxidants. It is really a whole package eye product that provides nourishment and anti-aging dose without causing any sensitivity. 

Are there any side effects of Encapsulated Retinol? 

encapsulated retinol

Because products with encapsulated retinol are made with different moisturizing agents and because they are based on an encapsulation delivery system, its side effects are very minimized.

However, this doesn’t mean it can’t have any adverse effects, since everybody’s skin is different. Although there is a slim chance of skin irritation, it is better to consult with your dermatologist just to play it safe. You can also do a patch test before using any products with encapsulated retinol just to be safe.

To wrap it up 

The moral of the story? Is it the best retinol ever? Hard to tell, since there are so many retinoids out there for different skin concerns.

But should you be investing in encapsulated retinol? Hell yeah, you should totally invest in this ingredient, especially if you have sensitive skin like me. Incorporating encapsulated retinol into your routine can be a true game-changer. Retinol for anti-aging without side effects? Yes, please! 

I believe that encapsulated skincare, in general, is the next big thing and we better start making the best out of it.

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