Transdermal delivery from liposomal formulations - Evolution of the technology over the last three decades

J Control Release. 2016 Nov 28;242:126-140. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.09.008. Epub 2016 Sep 10.


Strong barrier properties of stratum corneum often limits the efficiency of drug delivery through skin. Several strategies were tried to improve permeation of drug through skin for local as well as systemic drug delivery. Incorporation of the drug within flexible liposomal vesicles has been one of the popular and well-studied approaches for delivering drug to deeper layers of the skin or even systemic circulation. Flexible/deformable/elastic liposomal systems such as invasomes, Transfersomes®, ethosomes, niosomes, etc. have demonstrated encouraging results in delivering small molecules and large proteins to the skin. It is necessary to recognize the promising concepts and analyze their potential, since a clear understanding of the drawbacks and advantages of these approaches will lead towards future development. In the current review we have attempted to give an overview of different liposomal drug carriers for transdermal drug delivery and their efficiency as drug delivery system through different in vivo and in vitro studies. Also, an overview of the studies which investigated the interactions between skin and vesicles, which have lead us to our current understanding of the skin penetration mechanisms of liposomal formulations is presented.

Keywords: Liposome; Nanosystem; Penetration mechanism; Permeation; Skin.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / trends*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Liposomes
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / trends*


  • Drug Carriers
  • Liposomes