Studies on percutaneous penetration are needed to assess the hazards after unintended occupational skin exposures to industrial products as well as the efficacy after intended consumer exposure to topically applied medicinal or cosmetic products. During recent decades, a number of methods have been developed to replace methods involving experimental animals. The results obtained from these methods are decided not only by the chemical or product tested, but to a significant degree also by the experimental set-up and decisions made by the investigator during the planning phase. The present MiniReview discusses some of the existing and well-known experimental in vitro and in vivo methods for studies of percutaneous penetration together with some more recent and promising methods. After this, some considerations and recommendations about advantages and limitations of the different methods and their relevance for the prediction of percutaneous penetration are given. Which method to prefer will depend on the product to be tested and the question asked. Regulatory guidelines exist for studies on percutaneous penetration, but researchers as well as regulatory bodies need to pay specific attention to the vehicles and solvents used in donor and sampling fluids so that it reflects in-use conditions as closely as possible. Based on available experimental data, mathematical models have been developed to aid predictions of skin penetration. The authors question the general use of the present mathematical models in hazard assessment, as they seem to ignore outliers among chemicals as well as the heterogeneity of skin barrier properties and skin conditions within the exposed populations.
Journal review article
Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, 2014, Vol 115, Issue 1, p. 101-109