Enhanced skin permeation using ethosomes

Elka Touitou, Biana Godin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Liposomes were the first vesicular carrier studied for the delivery of drugs into the skin. Since the early works of Mezei using liposomes for topical drug delivery [1-2], numerous studies have shown that classic liposomes are able to increase drug accumulation in the upper layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (SC) [1-7]. Drug delivery from liposomes is characterized by the formation of a drug reservoir in SC and by lack of penetration into the deeper layers of the skin. Studies by Mezei and Gulusekharam [1, 2] demonstrated that application of triamcinolone acetonide encapsulated within liposomes to depilated rabbit skin in vivo resulted in a fourfold increase in the amount of drug accumulated in epidermis, as compared to application of the same drug concentration in an ointment base. Touitou et al. [3] found that the application of dyphylline incorporated in unilamellar liposomes caused a high localization of the drug into the skin. In a further study, following the delivery of caffeine from small, unilamellar liposomes, high reservoir of the drug was obtained in the skin [5]. These authors by using quantitative skin autoradiography have examined the distribution of the drug in the various strata of the skin where the greatest concentration was found in the epidermis and the lowest in the dermis. Junginger’s group has shown by scanning and freeze-fracture electron micrographies (SEM and FFEM) that liposomes and nonionic surfactant vesicles, niosomes, adsorb on the surface of SC [6, 7]. It was suggested that for these kinds of vesicles, it appears to be thermodynamically favorable upon application to the skin to aggregate, fuse, and adhere to the SC surface in stacks of lamellar sheets. Moreover, no ultrastructural changes in the deeper layers of SC were reported with conventional liposomal systems tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPercutaneous Penetration Enhancers, Second Edition
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781420039207
ISBN (Print)9780849321528
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Liposomes
  • Skin
  • Skin delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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