Skin: The Integumentary System

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The skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system covering a total area of about 20 square feet with multifunctional purpose of protecting the body from heat, microbes, regulating body temperature and as well as acting as a sensory organ.1A healthy and glowing skin is what one desires for. But skin being extensively exposed to the environment, it undergoes physiological changes leading to dermatological diseases like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, fungal infections to severe conditions like squamous cell carcinomas. Apart from environmental factors, hormonal imbalance also plays a major role in various skin disease like acne, cellulite. In order to prevent and cure various skin diseases, topical products are widely dominating …show more content…

A topical dosage form applied on the skin will have to cross the stratum corneum which would then allow the dosage form to traverse the subsequent layers of skin. The stratum corneum acts as a lipophilic barrier to xenobiotics thereby acting as body’s defence mechanism.3There exist three possible routes by which the drug molecule can permeate the skin ie. intracellular, intercellular and appendageal pathway. Hydrophilic molecules with log k < 1 traverse through the intracellular pathway whereas lipophilic molecules with log k >3 prefer intercellular route.4,5Drugs with a molecular weight of < 500 daltons can easily permeate the skin.6 Drug molecules with > 500 daltons require a permeation enhancer for assisting in diffusion of the drug across the skin and thereby reducing the resistance offered by the stratum corneum. Natural oils act as an excellent penetration enhancer. They work by 1) by disordering the intercellular lipid structures present between the corneocytes in the stratum corneum 2) making the stratum corneum more permeable by altering the

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