Study confirms liposomes cannot penetrate skin’s surface

Published: 9-Mar-2016

Molecules are not able to carry active agents into the skin but break on contact

A new study conducted by the University of Southern Denmark puts forward research that proves liposomes do not penetrate the skin’s surface or carry active agents across the skin’s barrier, as previously thought.

The research, published in Plos One, was authored by post-doctoral researcher Jes Dreier and Associate Professor Jonathan Brewer from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The scientists have confirmed earlier suspicions that liposomes do not function in the way that many in the beauty industry have previously thought. A 2013 study shed light on the reality that liposomes “lose their cargo” of agents on contact with the skin. Following this, the new study confirms that liposomes cannot cross the skin barrier intact, but break when they touch the skin’s surface. The discovery was compounded through the use of a nanoscope, which was used to closely study the skin, individual molecules and liposomes.

Brewer said: ”This time we use a new method, and once and for all we establish that intact liposomes cannot penetrate the skin's surface. Therefore, we need to revise the way we perceive liposomes - especially in the skin care industry, where liposomes are perceived as protective spheres transporting agents across the skin barrier.”

The researchers added: “When the liposomes hit the skin and break, it is not certain that the active agents are wasted. It may well be that a chemical reaction starts, which somehow helps the agents travel through the skin barrier. So in a way you could say that the liposomes might work - but then it is in a different way than the beauty industry tells us.”

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