Consumer demand for cosmetic actives that deliver specific effects has fed the use of unstable active ingredients and therefore the need for microencapsulation. By publishing a guide to the technology, Dow Corning is looking to emphasize the benefits and explain some of the different options. Boiling down to its basics, microencapsulation involves the use of microcapsules and millicapsules, which are composed of a polymeric skin, wall or matrix, to enclose a substance. Protection of materials It can be used to protect materials from degradation and maximize their effectiveness in a finished product. In its technical guide, Dow Corning cites extending the life of fragrances as another example of how microencapsulation can improve a product. Data from its studies is also provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology in different applications. The company describes various processes that formulators may wish to use including complex coacervation, polymer precipitation, extrusion/spheronization, adsorption/absorption and thermosetting matrix systems. Seven step guide The technical article gives seven characteristics of the final system that should help formulators decide which encapsulation system to choose from. For example, formulators are advised to consider the environment the microcapsules are used and the physical and chemical characteristics of the material they intend to encapsulate. Through an alliance with Lipo Chemicals, Dow Corning offers various microencapsulation systems that formulators can choose from according to their parameters.