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Int J Pharm. 2011 Apr 4;407(1-2):95-104. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2011.01.034. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Optimization of microdermabrasion for controlled removal of stratum corneum.

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Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


Microdermabrasion has been shown to increase skin permeability for transdermal drug delivery by damaging or removing skin's outer layer, stratum corneum. However, relationships between microdermabrasion parameters and effects on the stratum corneum barrier have not been developed. In this study, we determined the effect of microdermabrasion crystal flow rate, time, and suction pressure applied in both static and dynamic modes on the extent of stratum corneum removal from excised porcine skin. In addition to controlling the depth of tissue removal by microdermabrasion parameters, we also controlled the area of tissue removal by applying a metal mask patterned with 125- or 250-μm holes to selectively expose small spots of tissue to microdermabrasion. We found that the extent of stratum corneum removal depended strongly on the crystal flow rate and exposure time and only weakly on pressure or static/dynamic mode operation. Masking the skin was effective to localize stratum corneum removal to exposed sites. Overall, this study demonstrates that optimized microdermabrasion in combination with a mask can be used to selectively remove stratum corneum with three-dimensional control, which is important to translating this technique into a novel method of transdermal drug delivery.

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