Not to Burst Your Liposome Bubble


Do active ingredients work better when delivered to skin via liposomes? All signs point to yes, but maybe not in the way we thought. Research from the University of Southern Denmark suggests they are better permeability enhancers.

A study published in the PLOS in January 2016 examined two types of liposomes acting as transdermal drug delivery systems in human skin. The first was 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC), the second was a more flexible liposome containing sodium cholate.

Details of the experiment are provided in the article but overall results showed the labeled liposomes did not penetrate beneath the skin surface. They mainly burst and fused with the outer lipid layers of the stratum corneum.

The flexible liposomes in particular were found to deliver more of the fluorophore into the stratum corneum. The researchers concluded the liposomes functioned more as chemical permeability enhancers than deep-penetrating delivery vehicles.

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