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Skin Res Technol. 2013 Feb;19(1):1-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2011.00600.x. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Comparison of two encapsulated curcumin particular systems contained in different formulations with regard to in vitro skin penetration.

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Faculty of Science and Technology, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, Bangkok, Thailand.



Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anticarcinogenic properties. However, the strong lipophilic compound is not easily applicable, neither in water, nor directly in o/w formulations. So far, loading of nano or micro scaled carriers has enabled only an uptake up to 30% of curcumin.


In the present article, curcumin was successfully encapsulated into two different safe and inexpensive polymers, ethyl cellulose and methyl cellulose blended ethyl cellulose with a loading capacity of ~ 46-48%. In addition, the in vitro skin penetration of the two curcumin encapsulated particular systems, which were applied each in three different formulations, an o/w, w/o lotion, and water suspension, was investigated on porcine ear skin using Laser scanning microscopy.


It was found that in comparison to water suspensions, o/w and w/o lotions enhanced, especially the follicular penetration of the encapsulated curcumin particles into porcine skin, whereas the w/o enhanced the penetration better than the o/w lotion. Furthermore, the application of ethyl cellulose blended with methyl cellulose improved the penetration of curcumin in all formulations.


High loaded encapsulated curcumin systems, prepared from a simple and highly efficient encapsulation system can be used to transport curcumin effectively into the skin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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