Featured Articles / Here's What's New / Industry News / Industry Talk

Can Your Serums Deliver The Goods?

Understanding Skin Care Delivery Systems

Skin care delivery systems have a very big job!  They need to essentially smuggle different elements through dead skin cells, that are combined with a sludge like mixture of oil and water.  This mixture of keratinized proteins, sebum and water is designed to defend the skin and body against invasion.

The job of a delivery system is to out smart the stratum corneum [that mixture of gunk and death] or over power it!

The skin care delivery system is what’s designed to get the product to penetrate the barrier and get to the living skin cells where the ingredients begin their intended purpose.

2 Key Types of Skin Care Delivery Systems

Intercellular Skin Care Delivery System
This is where the skin care delivery system uses the lipid matrix as a sort of freeway to the living skin tissue.  The skin care delivery system, in its own unique way will package the ingredients in a manner that will allow the active to penetrate the stratum corneum and find its way to the lipid matrix, where it beings its journey to the living skin cells at lower levels of the skin.

Transcellular Skin Care Delivery System
This is where the skin care delivery system passes through the cellular membrane or pierce the cells to go directly to the living tissue. Microneedling is an example of piercing the cell and ionic transfer is an example of leveraging the cellular membrane for transcelluar delivery system.

5 Skin Care Delivery Systems

Microneedling | Microchanneling Skin Care Delivery System

This is an example of transcellular skin care delivery system. ProCell Therapies calls their treatment microchanneling.  ProCell Therapies website states, “…treatment creates hundreds of thousands of microchannels.” After the microchannels have been created in the skin the protocol is to apply serums, one of which may contain human growth factors.  The website states,  “Application of serums immediately after microchanneling treatment enhances delivery and collagen growth.”

Robyn Newmark of NewMark Beauty, is a ProCell Therapies expert.  We asked her about ProCell Therapies, here’s what she had to say.  “ProCell Therapies can be operated by a PMU artist, esthetician, or medical professional. Newmark Beauty will also certify in beginning PMU certifications for those interested in starting ProCel Therapies.”

Ionic Skin Care Delivery System

Products and devices can leverage the power of ions to initiate a transcelluar delivery.  Karen Ballou of Immunocologie told us, “‘All Immunocologie products use our Vital Oligio Science, featured in our Clay-Water to create Ionic exchange. Ionic exchange describes a processes of purification of aqueous solutions using solid polymeric ion exchange.  More precisely, the term encompasses a large variety of processes where ions are exchanged between two electrolytes. Aside from its use to purify water, the technique is applied for our purification process with our Green Clay.”

You can also use a device that offers ionic technology to help improve product penetration of water based products. MYSKINBUDDY is an example of a device that uses the ionic technology to work with water based serums to help improve the penetration of those serums with a transcelluar delivery system. It’s also featured in our Spring Guide To Skin Care Science due to its multiple technologies in a single unit!

professional skin care


A patented intercellular delivery system from Sesha Skin Therapy. The Permeation Enhancement Technology is FDA approved in pharmaceuticals.  Biodegradable polymeric matrices that deliver cosmetic molecules through the stratum corneum for deeper penetration. It works well with the larger weight molecules such as peptides, amino acids, hormones, lipids and vitamins. You can learn more about P.E.T® in the Sesha Skin Therapy webisode of L+A Now


Interfuse Technology

SkinBetter Science,  They use Interfuse Technology,  a patented intercellular delivery system that delivers actives to the skin via the lipid matrix.  Interfuse relaxes surface tension to allow penetration and utilizes a double trans-lipid system. The larger molecules (like peptides) are encased with a lipophilic coating made from essential fatty acids and have two pathways to travel.

Phospholipid Delivery System

“Phospholipids have the exceptional biocompatibility and remarkable amphiphilicity characteristics that make phospholipids the major and suitable agent or excipient for the formulation and to achieve better therapeutic applications in drug delivery system.” ScienceDirect.com

Blue Lagoon Skincare from Iceland offers, “the serum” with BL+ COMPLEX.  A high-performance formula designed to target signs of skin aging and optimize skin health over time. BL+ COMPLEX has a natural phospholipid structure that emulates the composition of the cell membrane, allowing it to reach the deepest layers of the epidermis and release our patented bioactive ingredients.

Leave a Comment