Measurement of skin permeation/penetration of nanoparticles for their safety evaluation

Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(9):1476-86. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b12-00103.


The aim of the present study was to quantitatively evaluate the skin permeation/penetration of nanomaterials and to consider their penetration pathway through skin. Firstly, penetration/permeation of a model fluorescent nanoparticle, Fluoresbrite®, was determined through intact rat skin and several damaged skins. Fluoresbrite® permeated through only needle-punctured skin. The permeation profiles of soluble high molecular compounds, fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextrans (FITC-dextrans, FDs), with different molecular weights were also measured for comparison. The effects of molecular sizes and different skin pretreatments on the skin barrier were determined on the skin penetration/permeation of Fluoresbrite® and FDs. Fluoresbrite® was not permeated the intact skin, but FDs were permeated the skin. The skin distribution of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles was also observed after topical application of commercial cosmetics. Nanoparticles in sunscreen cosmetics were easily distributed into the groove and hair follicles after their topical application, but seldom migrated from the groove or follicles to viable epidermis and dermis. The obtained results suggested that nanoparticles did not permeate intact skin, but permeated pore-created skin. No or little permeation was observed for these nanomaterials through the stratum corneum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Cosmetics / administration & dosage*
  • Dermis / metabolism
  • Dextrans / metabolism
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / analogs & derivatives
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / metabolism
  • Fluorescence
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage
  • Nanoparticles / adverse effects*
  • Needles
  • Rats
  • Rats, Hairless
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / injuries
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects*
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Sunscreening Agents / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Titanium / administration & dosage*
  • Titanium / metabolism
  • Wounds, Penetrating
  • Zinc Oxide / administration & dosage*
  • Zinc Oxide / metabolism


  • Cosmetics
  • Dextrans
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran
  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Zinc Oxide