2014 Volume 37 Issue 10 Pages 1674-1682
To develop an external vehicle for skin hydration and enhanced dermal drug delivery, a hydrogel-based ultra-moisturizing cream (HUMC) was successfully formulated with carbopol 934P, urea, Tinocare GL, grape seed oil, and other excipients. The HUMC showed plastic flow behavior due to a gel structure with a cream base. Different types of drug-free vehicles such as a hydrogel, conventional cream (CC), and three HUMCs were prepared and subjected to an in vivo skin hydration test on a hairless mouse using a corneometer. Hydration effect (∆AU) was in the order of HUMC2>HUMC1 ≥ CC>HUMC3>hydrogel. Using nile red (NR) and 5-carboxyfluorescein (5-CF) as lipophilic and hydrophilic fluorescent probes, respectively, in vitro skin permeation and accumulation studies were conducted using Franz diffusion cells. The values of steady-state flux (Jss, ng/h/cm2) were obtained: 74.8 (CC), 145.6 (HUMC1), and 161.9 (HUMC2) for NR delivery; 6.8 (CC), 8.3 (HUMC1), and 10.9 (HUMC2) for 5-CF delivery. The amounts retained in the skin at 12 h (Qr, ng/cm2) were determined: 86.4 (CC) and 102.0 (HUMC2) for NR; and 70.1 (CC) and 195.6 (HUMC2) for 5-CF. Confocal microscopy was used to visualize the distribution of the fluorescent probes. NR tended to be localized into the deeper part of the skin with adipose tissue whereas 5-CF localized in the upper layer of the skin. Thus we propose that HUMC2 is an efficacious vehicle for skin hydration and enhances dermal delivery of lipophilic and hydrophilic drugs.