Tea tree oil, a popular antimicrobial agent is recommended for the treatment of acne vulgaris, a disease of the pilosebaceous unit. Tea tree oil formulations (colloidal bed, microemulsion, multiple emulsion, and liposomal dispersion containing 5% w/w tea tree oil) were applied to bovine udder skin. The follicular uptake of tea tree oil upon application was determined by a cyanoacrylate method. Tea tree oil was determined by quantifying terpinen-4-ol content using high-performance thin layer chromatography. The accumulation of tea tree oil in the follicular casts was 0.43 +/- 0.01, 0.41 +/- 0.009, 0.21 +/- 0.006, and 0.16 +/- 0.005 percentage by weight (milligram oil/gram of sebum plug) for microemulsion, liposomal dispersion, multiple emulsion, and colloidal bed, respectively. This is the first study of its kind to quantify tea tree oil concentration in the follicles.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.