This technology is perfectly suited to cosmeceuticals because cyclodextrins are oligosaccharides, also known as sugars, and are commonly used in existing cosmetics
Q. What is the newest method for delivering cosmeceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs into the skin?
A. One of the newest delivery technologies I have noted in the worldwide marketplace is the use of cyclodextrin complexes. This technology is perfectly suited to cosmeceuticals because cyclodextrins are oligosaccharides, also known as sugars, and are commonly used in existing cosmetics. Cyclodextrin complexes are nothing new to the dermatologist as they are used current 1 percent metronidazole formulations. Metronidazole is an interesting molecule insoluble in both water and oil. The older 0.75 percent topical metronidazole formulations represented the most metronidazole that could be dissolved in a cream, gel, or lotion. The ability to dissolve 1 percent metronidazole was made possible through cyclodextrin complex technology.
Cyclodextrin technology is also showing up in the OTC drug world in minoxidil formulations. In India and the Middle East, 10 percent minoxidil formulations are being sold for hair regrowth. Minoxidil is another difficult to solubulize drug that can achieve higher concentrations with cyclodextrin complex technology.
Cyclodextrins are oligosaccharides with a ring shape creating an internal cavity that can surround other substances. The three natural cyclodextrin conformations are labeled as alpha, beta and gamma, based on their ring size and solubility. For example, gamma cyclodextrins can be used to deliver topical vitamin D. Light-sensitive vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, can be protected from photodegradation in cyclodextrin ring. Cyclodextrin rings can also allow chemically incompatible substances to coexist in the same solution and the encapsulation of foul-smelling substances can minimize odor. Expect to see this technology emerging in many new cosmeceutical formulations.