Encapsulated Retinol for Fine Lines, Hyperpigmentation and More

01 //  What is Retinol? 04 // Retinol and Sun Exposure
02 // What Are the Benefits of Retinol? 05 // Ordinary vs. Encapsulated Retinol
03 // Retinol vs. Retin-A 06 // Natural Retinol

Perhaps you’re a long-time fan of retinol and know all about it. But if you’re like me, a late bloomer on the subject of retinoids and cell turnover, enjoy a deep dive into this miraculous anti-aging skincare ingredient.

01 // What is Retinol?

Retinol, along with retinoic aldehyde and retinoic acid, is a retinoid. Retinoids belong to a class of compounds derived from vitamin A. Retinoids can be natural or synthetic (more on this later).

02 // What Are the Benefits of Retinol?

Retinol is the retinoid most effective in slowing the aging of the skin. It travels through the top layer of your skin and slightly penetrates the deeper layer (or dermis), where it binds to cell receptors and works its magic.

When retinol interacts with your cells, it:

  • Increases cell production
  • Strengthens your skin’s top protective layer
  • Reduces transepidermal water loss
  • Protects your collagen from degrading
  • Protects your extracellular matrix (skin tissue) from degrading
  • Stimulates the formation of new blood cells in the top level of your dermis
  • Enhances the remodeling of reticular fibers (renewing of connective tissue)

This is all to say that retinol boosts collagen, improves skin elasticity, reduces hyperpigmentation, helps your skin retain its moisture, and protects against enzymes that destroy collagen.

The results are thicker, firmer, smoother, more supple skin, and reduction in fine lines and dark spots.

It’s great news for sun bums like me, who suffer collagen and elastin loss, fine lines, and very large “freckles” from UV exposure. Photoaging is real, and although sunscreen is your best defense, you may be able to mitigate sun damage with retinol.

03 // Retinol vs. Retin-A

Retina-A is a brand of tretinoin, a prescription-strength type of retinoid.

Various retinoids have different effects, so let’s take a closer look at four of them:

Retinol  //  
all-trans retinol
Used at 0.0015% - 0.3%

What It Does:
Slows collagen breakdown.
Stimulates collagen (type 1) production.

Best Used For:
Uneven texture
Fine lines

Well tolerated. Can irritate some skins.
Not as fast-acting as retinoic acid. Can take up to 6 months to show results.


Retinoic acid  //  all-trans retinoic acid, tretinoin
Used at 0.01% - 0.4% for anti-acne therapy.

What It Does:
Increases skin cell turnover.
Speeds up elimination of sebum in ducts, reducing inflammation in sebaceous glands.

Best Used For:
Chronic inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands

Most bioactive form of topical retinoids.
Potentially quite irritating.
Works the fastest, showing results within 6-8 weeks.


Retinyl esters  //  retinyl acetate and palmitate
Used at 0.1–0.5%

What It Does:
Increases skin cell turnover.
Regulates oil production.

Best Used For:

Most gentle.
Less effective than retinol or retinoic acid in terms of an anti-wrinkle treatment.


Retinaldehyde  //  retinal
Used at 0.05% – 0.1%

What It Does:
Stimulates cell production.


Best Used For:
Uneven texture

Less irritating than retinoic acid and well tolerated.
Less effective than retinol or retinoic acid. It only mildly improves wrinkles and the skin's texture. 


04 // Retinol and Sun Exposure

Some retinoids are more stable than others. One of the issues is that it’s difficult to create stable formulas because retinol is highly sensitive to light and oxygen.

UV light breaks down retinol into potentially harmful chemicals. It can also activate other photosensitizers in products, which can damage cells.

This is why most retinol products are formulated as night serums and are not recommended for day use.

05 // Ordinary Retinol vs. Encapsulated Retinol

So how can we get maximum effectiveness with the least amount of irritation? Encapsulated retinol!

It’s now possible to wrap retinol within a fatty acid shell. This is called a liposome. These liposomes, which resemble the basic structures of cellular membranes, do two things:

  • Travel deeper into the skin to reach the target cells
  • Protect the retinol during travel

The result? Without the risk of degradation, you get greater effectiveness with less irritation.

It also means that you can use a lower percentage of retinol while seeing enhanced results.

For this reason, we’re able to use only 0.03% retinol in our Last Light Renewing Night Oil (still in production) and still produce a highly effective smoothing night oil.

06 // Natural Retinol

At the beginning, we mention that retinol can be natural or synthetic. While many synthetic ingredients have their benefits, we always look to ingredients that are derived from nature.

In this case, natural retinoids have a positive effect on the skin. They absorb well because they’re fat-soluble, and this improves the skin function.

The retinol in Last Light Renewing Night Oil is derived from the beta-carotene of Daucus carota sativa, or wild carrot.

At the risk of oversimplifying, it’s amazing to think that carrot extract enveloped in skin-loving fatty acids can improve your skin's health and texture. It definitely has us glowing.

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