Objective: It was the aim of this study to evaluate the impact of nonionic and ionic surfactants
on skin penetration of dexpanthenol.
Methods: The relative potency of three surfactants (two nonionic and one ionic) as enhancers in the
permeability of a series of compounds was investigated. The influence of the enhancers was also studied.
For this purpose, porcine abdominal skin was prepared and mounted on Franz diffusion cells,
while different mixtures of Dexpanthenol containing Tween®85, SDS and Span®80 in concentrations
of 0.5%, 1%, 2%, 5% (m/V) were evaluated in terms of their permeation enhancing effect. The
amount of permeated drug was determined via HPLC analysis. Moreover, the cytotoxicity and skin
irritating effect of the compounds were tested on Caco-2 cells.
Results: The cytotoxicity profile of Dexpanthenol showed no toxicity to the cells over 1 and 3 h of incubation.
The permeation was evaluated over a time period of 180 min, whereas a ranking of SDS>
Span>Tween could be determined as permeation enhancer.
Conclusion: Taking these findings into consideration, concentration of 1% (w/w) surfactant showed
the most promising results. The increase in flux based on low concentrations of enhancer was ascribed
to their ability to reduce skin´s barrier and improve drug permeation. The results showed that the nature
of enhancer greatly impacts cutaneous barrier impairment.