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In many instances, one or more components of a pharmaceutical or cosmetic formulation is an oil. The aims of this study were two-fold. First, to examine the potential of preferential uptake of one oily vehicle component over another into a model barrier membrane (silicone) from blended vehicles (comprising two from the common excipients isohexadecane (IHD), hexadecane (HD), isopropyl myristate (IPM), oleic acid (OA) and liquid paraffin). Second, to study the effect of membrane-vehicle interactions on the diffusion of model permeants (caffeine (CF), methyl paraben (MP) and butyl paraben (BP)) from blended vehicles. Selective sorption and partition of some oils (especially IHD and IPM) at the expense of other oils (such as OA) was demonstrated to take place. For example, the membrane composition of IHD was enriched compared to a donor solution of IHDOA: 41%, 63% and 82% IHD, compared to donor solution composition of 25%, 50% and 75% IHD, respectively. Pre-soaking the membrane in IHD, HD or LP, rather than phosphate buffer, enhanced the flux of MP through the membrane by 2.6, 1.7 and 1.3 times, respectively. The preferential sorption of individual oil components from mixtures altered the barrier properties of silicone membrane, and enhanced the permeation of CF, MP and BP, which are typically co-formulated in topical products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number57
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2021


  • Binary vehicles
  • Membrane vehicle interaction
  • Penetration enhancement
  • Selective sorption
  • Silicone membrane


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