In the present study, ethosomal and liposomal formulations containing tamoxifen citrate were prepared and evaluated for their penetration properties in human cadaver skin using Franz diffusion cell and confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM). The results clearly revealed that ethosomal vesicles showed a better drug permeation profile than that of liposomal vesicles. In addition, low fluorescence intensity in CLSM was recorded with liposomes as compared to ethosomes, indicating lower cumulative amount of drug permeation from liposomal vesicles. Furthermore, CLSM showed uniform fluorescence intensity across the entire depth of skin in ethosomal treatment, indicating high penetrability of ethosomal vesicles through human cadaver skin. In contrast, low penetrability of conventional liposomal vesicles was recorded as penetration was limited to the 7th section (i.e. upper epidermis layer) of skin as evident from visualization of intact liposomal vesicles in CLSM.