Liposomes are small fat capsules, often added to beauty products, because of the claim that liposomes are capable of transporting active ingredients deep into the skin - when the active ingredients are released, it is said, they can alter the skin's structure by rejuvenating and smoothing the skin.
Research from University of Southern Denmark now shows that liposomes are not capable of transporting themselves deep into the skin, and thus they are not capable of transporting active ingredients deep into the skin, and thus they are pointless.
The researchers used the technique RICS (Raster Imaging Correlation Spectroscopy) to investigate how liposomes labeled with two fluorescent colors move once they are applied to the skin.
"Concerted movement of the two colors should provide evidence that the liposomes are intact when they reach their destination under the skin. We did not observe concerted movement after applying the liposomes to the skin," says professor Luis Bagatolli from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Southern Denmark. "When a liposome is destroyed, it spills its cargo of active ingredients. Liposomes are therefore not efficient carriers for transdermal delivery."
Previous research done with other techniques has indicated that liposomes are efficient carriers.
"Previous research done with a different technique provide some hints, but not conclusive evidence, that liposomes are capable of penetrating the skin. Therefore some scientists have concluded that liposomes are efficient carriers. Now for the first time we have conclusive evidence that this is not the case," explains Bagatolli. He now advises buyers of beauty products to not trust the claims that liposomes can carry active ingredients into the skin.
An expert in biological membranes, he says, "The human skin is designed to prevent external components to enter the human body. It is natural, that it also prevents liposomes to enter."