Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 310, Issue 7, pp 537–549 | Cite as

Stratum corneum substantivity: drug development implications

  • Becky S. LiEmail author
  • John Havens Cary
  • Howard I. Maibach


There are at least 15 factors that influence the ability of chemicals to penetrate the skin. Substantivity is yet another factor and allows penetrants to remain on and in skin for many days. As many skin pathologies involve stratum corneum and require multiple dosing of topicals, understanding substantivity mechanisms may provide insight for topical dosing strategies. Substantivity is also of importance in the development of other consumer products that necessitate adherence to skin, including sunscreens, insect repellents, and cosmetics. Furthermore, while stratum corneum adherence may delay percutaneous penetration, reducing the risk of systemic toxicity, excessive substantivity may play a role in the toxic accumulation of harmful penetrants. Continued research in this area may offer insight into dermatotoxicology and dermatopharmacology.


Substantivity Stratum corneum adherence Stratum corneum binding Percutaneous penetration 



No funding was received for this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors; therefore, informed consent is not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Howard University College of MedicineWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Louisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Department of Dermatology, School of MedicineUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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