Encapsulation: The Optimal Transport System

Our skin is designed to keep things out: water, toxins, pathogens, and the like.  So if it is meant to keep foreign bodies out, then how can the active ingredients in our skincare get through?  A lot of products just add loads of actives and, crossed-fingers, hope some makes it through, or it just sits on the skin and is meant for marketing effect only.  To be truly effective, active ingredients need to make it through the stratum corneum and into the living epidermis, and encapsulation is the optimal transport system to make that happen.

Encapsulating active ingredients in a membrane of phosphatidylcholine guarantees that those beneficial ingredients will make it into the epidermis to perform their advertised function.  What good is Vitamin C if it just sits on the skin? Surrounding Vitamin C in a bilayer membrane of phosphatidylcholine not only ensures it will penetrate the stratum corneum, but the phosphatidylcholine itself benefits the skin thanks to its high concentration of essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, and choline. There are two ways to encapsulate active ingredients: liposomes and nanoparticles.  Liposomes carry hydrophilic actives, like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Hyaluronic Acid.  Nanoparticles carry lipophilic actives, like Conezyme Q10, Kiwiseed Oil, and Vitamin A. They open the lipid barrier by merging in the stratum corneum, release their actives, and then it’s critical to cover them with a membrane cream like DMS® Base Cream to seal the lipid barrier closed behind them.

Nanoparticles have gotten a bad reputation lately, but not all nanoparticles are the same. Quite a bit of misinformation exists in the industry regarding what they are and what they do, and it could lead professionals and consumers to disregard a highly effective delivery system for active ingredients. Let’s break down the nanoparticle: solid nanoparticles, like the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in sunscreens that are transparent on the skin, can pierce not only the epidermis but also the dermis and then freely roam the body and blood stream.  Fluid nanoparticles like the ones in the dermaviduals® line, on the other hand, fluidize and merge with the stratum corneum and release their oil-loving active ingredients, but they never go past the epidermis.  The fluid nanoparticle is encapsulated with phosphatidylcholine, which the skin loves, so the outer “shell” of the nanoparticle is left in the stratum corneum, only leaving the active ingredients behind to work in the epidermis. Liposomes operate in the same way, leaving their shell in the outermost layer of the skin while their active go on to the living epidermis.  

With both liposomes and nanoparticles, it is imperative that they be blended with, or covered by, a membrane cream.  Both vesicles open the lipid barrier and can cause some dehydration if they aren’t properly followed with a DMS® Base Cream, which is nearly identical to our skin’s lipid barrier and fills in the mortar between the corneocytes to prevent Transepidermal Water Loss.  When the two are combined – the encapsulated active and the membrane cream – it creates a powerhouse combination unlike anything in the skincare industry today.

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Abby Chandler