The Skin: A Valuable Route for Administration of Drugs
Pp. 1-22 (22)
Clara Luisa Dominguez-Delgado, Isabel Marlen Rodriguez-Cruz and Miriam Lopez- Cervantes
The skin is the largest organ of the body and its main function is to protect the organism against
undesirable effects of the environment. The skin is composed of three different laye rs: epidermis, dermis and
hypodermis. The epidermis contains the stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of the epidermis, that acts as the
barrier function of the skin due to its very high density and its low hydration. The dermis is an extensive vascular
network providing skin nutrition, repair, thermal regulation and immune response. The hypodermis acts as a heat
insulator, a shock absorber, and an energy storage region. There are also several appendages in the skin: hair
follicles, sebaceous, sweat glands and nails. The skin prope rties play an important role to allow penetration of
topically applied drugs or substanc es into the skin. Drug permeation through the skin include the diffusion
through the intact epidermis and the skin appendages. In this chapter we reviewed structure, immunological and
electrical properties, penetration routes of drugs throughout skin, types of skin and the most common skin
disorders that affect humans.
Departamento de Ingenieria y Tecnologia. Seccion de Tecnologia Farmaceutica. Facultad de Estudios Superiores Cuautitlan-Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Cuautitlan Izcalli, Estado de Mexico, Mexico 54704.