Skin deep: the basics of human skin structure and drug penetration

Keng Wooi Ng, Wing Man Lau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Drug penetration and permeation through the skin are greatly influenced by the structural properties of the skin and the physicochemical properties of the drug. As such, penetration enhancement techniques largely focus on manipulating these two key factors. A great deal of research has focused on the stratum corneum, the primary skin barrier. In this chapter, we describe the structural properties of human skin, its functions, and the basic principles of drug penetration. The lipid composition and structural organisation of the stratum corneum, as well as the pathways of drug permeation, are highlighted. This chapter should provide a basic understanding of these topics and prepare the reader for advanced discussions in the specialist chapters that follow.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPercutaneous penetration enhancers: chemical methods in penetration enhancement
EditorsN. Dragicevic, H.I. Maibach
Place of PublicationBerlin/Heidelberg
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783662450130
ISBN (Print)9783662450123
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Skin function
  • stratum corneum
  • lipid organisation
  • ceramide
  • permeation pathway


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