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Improvements in skin and nail drug delivery using nano formulations

It might be easy to dismiss non-life-threatening diseases of the skin or nail as trivial, but their impact on physical and mental wellbeing can be significant. Such diseases are obvious targets for topical treatments, but the lack of effective formulations means patients are often faced with the prospect of oral medication – sometimes with troubling side effects. New developments in the field of nanomedicines could hold the key to improving patient wellbeing worldwide. Here, Dave Edwards and Dave Cook discuss the challenges of treating skin and nail diseases, and how nanotechnology could be the future of dermal drug delivery.

3D illustration of a bacteria being destroyed by nanoparticles - idea of nanoparticles for use in drug delivery

WE WILL ALL have encountered someone dealing with or who has previously experienced a common ailment of the skin or nails, such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), acne or a fungal nail infection. For people suffering with these everyday conditions, managing them can have a significant impact on their life – not just because of the physical symptoms, which can be painful, but because they affect the ‘physical self’ we present to the world, impacting patients’ confidence, self‑esteem and even mental health.

Our skin and nails have evolved as effective protective barriers to the world at large, but this also makes them challenging targets when it comes to formulating effective topical treatments for these everyday illnesses. Now nanomedicine – the application of nanotechnology to pharmaceutical formulations – is offering new opportunities for topical drug development, formulation and delivery, which may limit the need for oral treatments and provide a light at the end of the tunnel for patients.












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