The effects of excipients for topical preparations on the human skin permeability of terpinen-4-ol contained in Tea tree oil: infrared spectroscopic investigations

Pharm Dev Technol. 2010 Sep-Oct;15(5):545-52. doi: 10.3109/10837450903338387.


This work aimed to evaluate the effect induced by excipients conventionally used for topical dosage forms, namely isopropyl myristate (IPM) or oleic acid (OA) or polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG400) or Transcutol (TR), on the human skin permeability of terpinen-4-ol (T4OL) contained in the pure Tea tree oil. The effect of such excipients was determined by evaluating the absorption of T4OL using human epidermis and the perturbation of the organization of stratum corneum by ATR-FTIR. Among the tested excipients OA enhanced the absorption of T4OL by perturbing the stratum corneum lipid barrier. Other excipients caused a weak enhancement effect and their use should be carefully monitored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Excipients / administration & dosage
  • Excipients / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Permeability
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Tea Tree Oil / chemistry
  • Tea Tree Oil / metabolism*
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / metabolism*


  • Excipients
  • Terpenes
  • terpinenol-4
  • Tea Tree Oil