Recent advances and perspectives in liposomes for cutaneous drug delivery
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The cutaneous route is attractive for the delivery of drugs in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases. However the stratum corneum (SC) is an effective barrier that hampers skin penetration. Within this context, liposomes emerge as a potential carrier for improving topical delivery of therapeutic agents. In this review, we aimed to discuss key aspects for the topical delivery by drug-loaded liposomes. Phospholipid type and phase transition temperature have been shown to affect liposomal topical delivery. The effect of surface charge is subject to considerable variation depending on drug and composition. In addition, modified vesicles with the presence of components for permeation enhancement, such as surfactants and solvents, have been shown to have a considerable effect. These liposomes include: Transfersomes, Niosomes, Ethosomes, Transethosomes, Invasomes, coated liposomes, penetration enhancer containing vesicles (PEVs), fatty acids vesicles, Archaeosomes and Marinosomes. Furthermore, adding polymeric coating onto liposome surface could influence cutaneous delivery. Mechanisms of delivery include intact vesicular skin penetration, free drug diffusion, permeation enhancement, vesicle adsorption to and/or fusion with the SC, trans-appendageal penetration, among others. Finally, several skin conditions, including acne, melasma, skin aging, fungal infections and skin cancer, have benefited from liposomal topical delivery of drugs, with promising in vitro and in vivo results. However, despite the existence of some clinical trials, more studies are needed to be conducted in order to explore the potential of liposomes in the dermatological field.