Electroporation-mediated topical delivery of vitamin C for cosmetic applications

Bioelectrochem Bioenerg. 1999 May;48(2):453-61. doi: 10.1016/s0302-4598(99)00026-4.


It is now medically recognized that sagging skin and other signs of degenerative skin conditions, such as wrinkles and age spots, are caused primarily by oxy-radical damage. Vitamin C (Vit. C), in the form of L-ascorbic acid (Asc), is the one vitamin that can accelerate wound healing, protect fatty tissues from oxidation damage, and play an integral role in collagen synthesis. It is known that the lipid-rich stratum corneum (SC) is a highly resistant barrier to chemical agents penetrating into the skin. This report describes the first feasibility study of electroporation-mediated topical delivery (EMTD) of Asc for potential cosmetic applications. Both a cream formulation (20% Asc) and a crystal suspension (33% Asc) were applied respectively to human cadaver skin and fresh surgical skin. Six exponential pulses at 60 or 100 V and pulse lengths of 2.7-30 ms were selected. EMTD was more effective on fresh human skin than on human cadaver skin. For both skin models, EMTD with cream resulted in a greater enhancement of Vit. C penetration than with suspension. The distribution of electrical fields through the SC, epidermis, and dermis is demonstrated in computer simulation. Assuming that this fresh skin model and certain experimental conditions simulate projected in vivo applications, EMTD of Vit. C may represent an alternative method to ameliorate skin aging.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cosmetics*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electroporation*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Skin / chemistry


  • Cosmetics
  • Ascorbic Acid