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Transcutaneous Passage

Skin contact exposure

The incorporation of nanoparticles in cosmetics, sun creams, shampoos, etc.,  and the potential contamination of the skin by nanoparticles in a professional environment can constitute significant sources of exposure. The transcutaneous passage of substances deposited on the skin depends on 3 mechanisms: entry into cells, passage between cells, and penetration into the hair follicles.


Numbers of parameters are likely to influence the penetration of nanoparticles through the skin: particle size, presence of sweat, state of skin [F. Rancan et al., ACS Nano 6 (2012) 6829-6842 / Y.K. Tak et al., Scientific Reports 5 (2015) / C. Try et al., European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 100 (2016) 101-108]. Studies on skin (human, pork) demonstrates that nanoparticles don’t penetrate. They stay at the surface or impregnate the first layers of the cornea layer [E. Peira et al., International Journal of Pharmaceutics 5 (2014) 90-99 / M. Crosera et al., International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12 (2015) 9282-9297]. But, information can often be contradictory and it’s not possible to strictly dismiss the risk of transcutaneous passage.

However, we cannot exclude that some substances used to coat nanoparticles or skin damages facilitate the transcutaneous passage [F. Filon Larese et al., Toxicology 255 (2009) 33-37].