Chitin Nanofibrils for Cosmetic Delivery

Apr 1, 2010 | Contact Author | By: Pierfrancesco Morganti, PhD, University of Naples, Mavi Sud s.r.l. and China Medical University Shenyang
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Title: Chitin Nanofibrils for Cosmetic Delivery
chitin nanofibrils (CN)x deliveryx activesx penetrationx TEWLx hydrationx
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Keywords: chitin nanofibrils (CN) | delivery | actives | penetration | TEWL | hydration

Abstract: In the present article, the author explores the delivery capabilities of nanocrystal chitin nanofibrils. By establishing an ionic bond with water and forming complexes with various actives, this material can impart local or global activity and reach different levels of skin permeability to achieve variable cosmetic efficacy.

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P Morganti, Chitin nanofibrils for cosmetic delivery, Cosm & Toil 125(4) 36-39 (Apr 2010)

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Chitin is a natural sugar-like polysaccharide found in crab and shrimp shells that is formed by glucosamine and N-acetyl glucosamine linked in a glycoside structure. Its natural rod-like and positively charged alpha-nanocrystalline structure can be separated from the raw material chitin into a 240 nm x 5 nm x 7 nm nanofibrillar form. These nanocrystals exhibit an exceptionally high surface area, up to 400 m2/g, and demonstrate relevant biological significance because they are able to activate fibroblast proliferation and cytokine production, favoring giant cell migration, macrophage activation and neovascularization.

Due to their molecular conformation and chemical-physical activity, chitin nanofibrils (CN) are capable of establishing ionic bonds with water, similar to yaluronic acid (YA). In addition, they are capable of forming complexes with active ingredients for delivery to different sites in a controlled-release manner, depending on the vehicle selected.

Chemical Activity

Functional skin care ingredients generally are delivered topically to the epidermis or dermis via the outer layer of the skin. To this purpose, one naturally derived, industrially obtained CN was examined for its delivery and active benefits. Having the same backbone as YA, CN is strongly hydrophilic and is therefore capable of attracting and binding molecules of water. It also forms stable ionic bonds with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are negatively charged at the sulfate location, in addition to combining with various hydro- and lipid-soluble active ingredients commonly used in cosmetics.

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Figure 1. Hyaluronic acid and chitin have the same basic makeup

Figure 1. Hyaluronic acid and chitin have the same basic makeup

Chitin is a natural sugar-like polysaccharide found in crab and shrimp shells that is formed by glucosamine and N-acetyl glucosamine linked in a glycoside structure.

Figure 2. Different skin penetrability levels

Figure 2. Different skin penetrability levels

CN could thus be targeted to ameliorate permeability at different skin levels to provide variable cosmetic efficacy. However, the penetration depth of CN and/or CN-complexes depends on the specific bonds formed both with the cellular components and the ingredients selected.

Figure 3. Activity on skin hydration

Figure 3. Activity of CN, antioxidant and immunomodulant compounds

Activity of CN, antioxidant and immunomodulant compounds on skin hydration of women affected by dry skin after a 60-day, bi-daily treatment on facial skin; n = 30 + 10, t = 22°C; RH = 50%; Note: All p values are highly significant as control (p < 0.005) and significant as to groups (p < 0.05).

Figure 4. Activity on surface skin lipids

Figure 4. Activity on surface skin lipids

Activity of CN, antioxidant and immunomodulant compounds on surface skin lipids of women affected by dry skin, after a 60-day bi-daily treatment on facial skin; n = 30 + 10, t = 22°C; RH = 50%; Note: All p values are highly significant as control (p < 0.005) and significant as to groups (p < 0.05).

Figure 5. Activity on TEWL

Figure 5. Activity on TEWL

Activity of CN, antioxidant and immunomodulant compounds on TEWL recovered on women affected by dry skin, after a 60-day, bi-daily treatment on facial skin; n = 30 + 10, t = 22°C; RH = 50%; Note: All p values are highly significant as control (p < 0.005) and significant as to groups (p < 0.05).

Figure 6. Chromameter values

Figure 6. Chromameter values

Chromameter values a* (difference to baseline) of treated skin areas after 60 days’ application of a CN gel; n = 30, t = 22°C; RH = 50%

Figure 7. Protective activity on ATP production

Figure 7. Protective activity on ATP production

Protective activity on ATP production of irradiated keratinocyte cultures obtained by the use of CN with antioxidant and immunomodulant compounds; Note: Cultures irradiated by UVA/UVB and additioned with 10 μg/mL product; all p values are highly significant as control (p < 0.005) and significant as to groups (p < 0.05); CN vs. melatonin = n.s.

Figure 8. CN under SEM

Figure 8. CN under SEM

The prevalent amino groups of CN embedded in water form hydrogen and ionic bonds with different molecules, which also contributes to the stability of the final suspension.

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