Emollient foam in topical drug delivery

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2006 Nov;3(6):799-807. doi: 10.1517/17425247.3.6.799.


Foams offer an innovative and more convenient means of topical drug delivery. The successful introduction of hydroalcoholic foams paved the way for the development of a new generation of foam products that provide skin barrier build-up and hydration. Such foams, designated as emollient foams consist of oil-in-water or water-in-oil emulsions with necessary excipients, such as non-ionic surfactants, gelling agents and foam adjuvants. Emollient foams can carry a broad variety of topical drugs, including water-soluble, oil-soluble and suspended active agents. This paper reviews emollient foam compositions and their physicochemical properties. It further accounts for the usability and functional advantages of emollient foam as a vehicle of topical drugs, including: i) improved usability, which affects treatment, compliance and, consequently, improves therapeutic results; ii) safety; iii) controllable drug delivery; iv) skin barrier build-up and hydration; and v) enhanced clinical efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Drug Carriers / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Carriers / economics
  • Emollients / administration & dosage*
  • Emollients / economics
  • Emulsions
  • Humans
  • Marketing


  • Drug Carriers
  • Emollients
  • Emulsions