Ascorbic acid encapsulated into negatively charged liposomes exhibits increased skin permeation, retention and enhances collagen synthesis by fibroblasts

Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 24;9(1):522. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36682-9.


Ascorbic acid (AA) is widely used in cosmetic formulations due to its antioxidant property and ability to increase collagen synthesis. Here, we encapsulated AA in vesicles with different lipid compositions. Negative liposome charge favored AA skin retention, with accumulation of 37 ± 12 and 74 ± 23 μg/cm2 in the epidermis and dermis, respectively, after 6 hours. Drug flux was influenced by the formulation composition, and both the presence of cholesterol and the liposomes surface charge were able to increase the amount of AA crossing the skin. The formulation was stable for at least 30 days and promoted a 7-fold increase in flux compared to free AA. Additionally, liposomes were able to interact better with keratinocytes and fibroblasts membranes. In vitro efficacy studies demonstrated that associating AA to these liposomes resulted in increased effectiveness of type I collagen synthesis by fibroblasts and regeneration of UVA-induced damage in keratinocytes. Our results demonstrate the applicability of AA-negatively charged liposomes in promoting AA cutaneous permeation and increasing the retention and flux of this molecule in the skin. This formulation also increased AA stability and effectiveness, opening new perspectives for its application in view of reducing certain skin ageing outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • BALB 3T3 Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption*


  • Antioxidants
  • Liposomes
  • Collagen
  • Ascorbic Acid