Article ID: ess21159
Studies on the effectiveness of substances such as drugs and cosmetics that act on the skin require structural evidence at the molecular level in the stratum corneum to clarify their interaction with intercellular lipid and soft keratin. For this purpose, when applying the substances to the stratum corneum X-ray diffraction experiment is one of the powerful tools. To detect minute structural changes in a stratum corneum sample, using a “solution cell”, dynamic synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements were performed when applying aqueous solution of the substances to the stratum corneum: (1) It was found that a surfactant, sodium dodecyl sulfate, significantly disrupted the long-period lamellar structure. (2) To study the effects of water, structural modifications of the short-period lamellar structure and the soft keratin in corneocytes were measured as a function of time. At the initial water content of 15 wt%, the spacings of the short-period lamellar structure and the soft keratin increased toward those at the water content of 25 wt%, that is a key water content in the stratum corneum. (3) Nanoparticles composed of assembly of amphiphilic molecules are one of the leading pharmaceutical formulations. When the nanoparticles were applied, a new assembly of amphiphilic molecules originated from the nanoparticle appeared. This phenomenon suggests that the formation of the new assembly at the surface of skin is concerned with the release of the drug from the nanoparticles. (4) When ethanol was applied to the stratum corneum, only the liquid state in the intercellular lipid matrix was dissolved. After the removal of ethanol from this stratum corneum, the ordered hydrocarbon-chain packing structures appeared. From this fact we would propose that the liquid state region is the main pathway for hydrophobic drugs with a small molecular weight in connection with the so-called 500 Da rule. Here, not only the technique but also the background to these studies and the characteristic results obtained from these studies are explained.