Predicting skin penetration of actives from complex cosmetic formulations: an evaluation of inter formulation and inter active effects during formulation optimization for transdermal delivery
Twenty products, containing a radiolabelled form of each active in typical cosmetic formulations, were made and applied to female human epidermal membranes mounted in Franz diffusion cells for 48 h under ‘in use’ conditions. The products consisted of combinations of five formulations (a hydro‐alcoholic gel, an oil in water emulsion, a water in oil emulsion, a microemulsion and an oil) with four model drug actives (testosterone, hydrocortisone, 5‐fluorouracil and ketoconazole). Steady‐state flux appeared to be reached by 8 h and maintained for all products, other than for the microemulsions, consistent with the actives being present in the residual formulation on the skin at saturation. The recovery for each active at the end of the 48‐h study (from a series of stratum corneum tape strips, the remaining skin, cumulative amount penetrating into the receptor solution, product washed from the skin and on the donor chamber cap) ranged from 86.5% to 100.6%. The rank order of the fluxes for the actives from the hydro‐alcoholic gel is consistent with the known active molecular size and polarity determinants for maximum epidermal flux. Actives with similar steady‐state (maximum) fluxes from a range of formulations had retention in the stratum corneum and similar transport rate constants through the stratum corneum. The microemulsion formulation significantly enhanced both the stratum corneum steady‐state flux and transport rate constant for 5‐fluorouracil, hydrocortisone and testosterone. The penetration flux of each active could be related to its size and polarity and appeared maximal when the actives in the different cosmetic formulations applied to the skin under ‘in use’ conditions were likely to remain in the residual product on the skin as a saturated solution after solvent evaporation. Enhanced penetration fluxes can be achieved by formulation selection and an appropriate choice/mix of emollients/adjuvants. The principles described here provide a framework for understanding the delivery of cosmetic ingredients from various formulations.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2012