Erbium-Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet laser irradiation ameliorates skin permeation and follicular delivery of antialopecia drugs

Woan Ruoh Lee, Shing Chuan Shen, Ibrahim A. Aljuffali, Yi Ching Li, Jia You Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Alopecia usually cannot be cured because of the available drug therapy being unsatisfactory. To improve the efficiency of treatment, erbium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er-YAG) laser treatment was conducted to facilitate skin permeation of antialopecia drugs such as minoxidil (MXD), diphencyprone (DPCP), and peptide. In vitro and in vivo percutaneous absorption experiments were carried out by using nude mouse skin and porcine skin as permeation barriers. Fluorescence and confocal microscopies were used to visualize distribution of permeants within the skin. Laser ablation at a depth of 6 and 10 μm enhanced MXD skin accumulation twofold to ninefold depending on the skin barriers selected. DPCP absorption showed less enhancement by laser irradiation as compared with MXD. An ablation depth of 10 μm could increase the peptide flux from zero to 4.99 and 0.33 μg cm-2 h-1 for nude mouse skin and porcine skin, respectively. The laser treatment also promoted drug uptake in the hair follicles, with DPCP demonstrating the greatest enhancement (sixfold compared with the control). The imaging of skin examined by microscopies provided evidence of follicular and intercellular delivery assisted by the Er-YAG laser. Besides the ablative effect of removing the stratum corneum, the laser may interact with sebum to break up the barrier function, increasing the skin delivery of antialopecia drugs. The minimally invasive, well-controlled approach of laser-mediated drug permeation offers a potential way to treat alopecia. This study's findings provide the basis for the first report on laser-assisted delivery of antialopecia drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3542-3552
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Absorption
  • Alopecia
  • Diphencyprone
  • Laser
  • Macromolecular drug delivery
  • Minoxidil
  • Peptide
  • Percutaneous
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Medicine(all)


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