Skin penetration of methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl parabens through excised guinea pig dorsal skin was examined, and effects of the penetration enhancers, l-menthol plus ethanol, ethanol itself and N-dodecyl-2-pyrrolidone, were observed. Permeability coefficients of the parabens correlated with n-octanol/water partition coefficients. Addition of 1% l-menthol in 15% ethanol about sixteen times increased the permeability coefficient of methyl paraben, whereas this enhancer decreased that of butyl paraben to about one fifth of the control value. A similar, though weaker, tendency was observed for the effects of 15% ethanol itself. 0.025% suspension of N-dodecyl-2-pyrrolidone increased the permeability coefficient of methyl paraben about seven times, whereas it did not change that of butyl paraben significantly. Therefore, dependency of the permeability coefficients of the parabens on n-octanol/water partition coefficients almost disappeared in the presence of this compound. A spin label study with stratum corneum lipid liposomes revealed that increase of fluidity of the lipid bilayer by these penetration enhancers corresponded with their enhancement effects on skin penetration of methyl paraben. Perturbation of stratum corneum lipid lamella thus seems to be related with their enhancement of the absorption of the hydrophiic paraben.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan