Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 858–872 | Cite as

Ingredients Tracking of Cosmetic Formulations in the Skin: A Confocal Raman Microscopy Investigation

  • Matthias Förster
  • Marie-Alexandrine BolzingerEmail author
  • Delphine Ach
  • Gilles Montagnac
  • Stephanie Briançon
Research Paper



Confocal Raman microspectroscopy (CRM) was used to follow the absorption of retinol into the skin and to track the absorption of ingredients in topically applied formulations.


Three surfactants, PEG20C12, PEG20C18:1 (hydrophilic) and PEG6C18:1 (lipophilic), were used in preparing three o/w emulsions and three surfactant solutions all containing retinol. Quantitative retinol penetration studies for 24 h were carried out using Franz diffusion cells. CRM was used to follow the skin penetration of retinol, oil and water and also to study a possible modification of the lipid skin barrier in the stratum corneum (SC) using the ratio of I2880/I2850.


The oily surfactant solution containing PEG6C18:1 and dodecane showed the highest retinol penetration rate. This appears to be related both to the short polar head group of the surfactant and to the effect of dodecane on skin lipids. All the surfactant solutions showed a higher penetration rate compared with the corresponding emulsions. CRM measurements showed that the ratios of I2880/I2850 were significantly modified using surfactant solutions.


Penetration behavior appeared to be dependent on the surfactant used in the formulation. CRM associated to the Franz cell method gives new insights on permeation of drug related to vehicle or ingredients.


confocal Raman microspectroscopy delivery formulation ingredient tracking retinol skin 







polyoxyethylene (20) oleyl ether


confocal Raman microscopy






full width half maximum


hydrophilic-lipophilic balance parameter


high performance liquid chromatography


caprylic/capric triglyceride





R I2880/I2850

ratio of the peak intensities at 2880 and 2850 cm−1


revolutions per minute


stratum corneum


standard deviation


standard error of the mean



We thank Gattefossé SAS for their financial support for this work and Robin Hillman for insightful discussion and editing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Förster
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marie-Alexandrine Bolzinger
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Delphine Ach
    • 2
  • Gilles Montagnac
    • 3
  • Stephanie Briançon
    • 2
  1. 1.Gattefossé SASSt PriestFrance
  2. 2.Université de Lyon, 69008 Lyon, France; Université Lyon I, Institut des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Laboratoire de Dermopharmacie et Cosmétologie, 69008 LyonFrance: Laboratoire d’Automatique et de Génie des procédés (LAGEP) UMR CNRS 5007VilleurbanneFrance
  3. 3.Université de Lyon, 69007 Lyon France; Université Lyon ILaboratoire des Sciences de la Terre UMR 5570 CNRSENS de LyonFrance
  4. 4.LAGEPVilleurbanne CedexFrance

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