Pre-treatment with Aloe vera juice does not enhance the in vitro permeation of ketoprofen across skin

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010;23(2):113-6. doi: 10.1159/000265682. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


Background/aims: The potential of pre-treating skin with Aloe vera juice as a penetration enhancer was evaluated in vitro using ketoprofen as model permeant.

Methods: To excised porcine skin mounted in Franz diffusion cells was applied either: (1) commercial Aloe vera; (2) commercial Aloe vera followed by massaging; (3) previously boiled commercial Aloe vera; (4) water (negative control); (5) tea tree oil (positive control). After 1 h, the pre-treatment was removed and the skin dosed with a saturated solution of ketoprofen in polyethylene glycol 400; the appearance of drug in the receptor phase was then monitored by HPLC.

Results: No statistically significant differences in the transdermal delivery of ketoprofen were observed between water and all the Aloe vera pre-treatments (p > 0.05). The tea tree oil pre-treatment was significantly different to all others (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Aloe vera appears to have no value as a penetration enhancer when used as a pre-treatment, although the data indirectly support the mechanism of action proposed previously, work when used 'within-vehicle'. Handling household products containing Aloe vera appears not to leave the user at elevated risk of subsequent absorption of exogenous chemicals.

MeSH terms

  • Aloe / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Diffusion Chambers, Culture
  • Excipients / chemistry
  • Ketoprofen / pharmacokinetics*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects*
  • Swine
  • Tea Tree Oil / pharmacology


  • Excipients
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Ketoprofen