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Skin Therapy Lett. 2012 May;17(5):1-5.

Age-related percutaneous penetration part 1: skin factors.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.


Changes in the skin that occur in the elderly may put them at increased risk for altered percutaneous penetration from pharmacotherapy along with potential adverse effects. Skin factors that may have a role in age-related percutaneous penetration include blood flow, pH, skin thickness, hair and pore density, and the content and structure of proteins, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), water, and lipids. Each factor is examined as a function of increasing age along with its potential impact on percutaneous penetration. Additionally, topical drugs that successfully overcome the barrier function of the skin can still fall victim to cutaneous metabolism, thereby producing metabolites that may have increased or decreased activity. This overview discusses the current data and highlights the importance of further studies to evaluate the impact of skin factors in age-related percutaneous penetration.

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