Basic information about liposomes

Liposomes are minute vesicles with membranes comprised of a double layer of molecules called phospholipids. These phospholipids possess a spherical hydrophilic (water soluble) component and a tail-shaped lipophilic (fat soluble) component. At Dr. Baumann SkinIdent these natural phospholipids are extracted from soya. Under certain inputs they group themselves together in a watery medium into spherical structures, the liposomes. This is achieved as the lipophilic ends of the phospholipids fit together to form a double membrane, the outer layer of which is hydrophilic and the inner layer lipophilic. Therefore the inside and the outside of a liposome are hydrophilic and the inside of the liposome membrane is lipophilic. Consequently, liposomes can absorb both water soluble active ingredients (E. g. water soluble vitamins, chemical preservatives) within the liposome, and fat soluble substances (E. g. fat soluble vitamins, perfume) in the liposome membrane, and transport these into the skin. For substances which have a positive effect on the skin, this transport function is desired and welcomed. But for substances which commonly trigger allergies (perfume, chemical preservatives) and are foreign substances which cause a defensive reaction in the immune system, this is considered extremely risky. Therefore, the use of liposomes demands from the manufacturer as well as cosmeticians a particular sense of responsibility and knowledge of the physiological factors involved, otherwise damage could be inflicted on the user. On this account Dr. Baumann SkinIdent produces only liposome products without perfume and without chemical preservatives.

Exactly the same phospholipids which comprise the liposome membrane form the walls of skin cells. Similarly, the intercellular substance which is found between the skin cells is composed of phospholipids, ceramides, triglyceride, free fatty acids, cholesterol and water. If skin cells are slightly damaged or if the intercellular substance is lost through aggressive cleansing methods, liposomes are able to perfectly replenish the missing lipids. Therefore the combination of phospholipids, ceramides and other skin-endemic lipids which can be found in many DR. BAUMANN and SkinIdent products is ideal. It is easy to recognise that liposomes represent ideal skincare. Due to the fact that their composition of phospholipids is identical to that of the cell walls, an exceptional compatibility is guaranteed. When one puts the same substances onto and into the skin of which the skin is actually comprised, under normal circumstances no allergic reaction will occur. Therefore, cases of allergies related to liposome products are not attributable to the exceptionally compatible liposomes themselves, but to the transference by liposomes of allergenic substances, which in all rights should not be in the skin such as perfumes and chemical preservatives. 

Multilamellar liposomes Image under an electron microscope

Dr. Baumann SkinIdent uses multilamellar liposomes, which according to our research are more effective than ordinary liposomes. Multilamellar liposomes have several different sized liposomes interlaced with one another in a way where next to a small liposome lies a larger one, and next to these an even larger one, so that in the end approximately 5–7, sometimes even 12, various sized liposomes are interlinked with one another. The size of the various liposomes is between 20 and 300 nm. Since the depth of penetration is directly related to their size – the smaller the liposome, the deeper they are able to penetrate – multilamellar liposomes have been found to be particularly good at penetrating the various skin layers. However the depth of penetration of a liposome also depends on whether the liposome’s phospholipids are built of saturated or unsaturated fatty acids. Many scientific studies have shown that liposomes consisting of unsaturated fatty acids/phospholipids can penetrate well into the skin and transport active substances. Liposomes with saturated (hydrogenated) fatty acids cannot do this. Multilamellar liposomes with unsaturated phospholipids have the ability to actively supply the skin with more moisture than any other active ingredient used in cosmetics. Studies show that multilamellar liposomes comprised of unsaturated fatty acids can boost the skin’s moisture content by almost 100 % within only 7 days, whereas liposomes with hydrophilic phospholipids do not cause an increase in moisture and according to one study, can even cause dryness in the skin.

Conclusion: Not all liposomes are equal. There are many different liposomes with various characteristics and qualities. The effectiveness of a liposome is therefore always dependant on the quality of the phospholipids and the concentration of the liposomes in a product.

According to our scientific findings, multilamellar liposomes with unsaturated phospholipids present the ideal in skincare, together with other skin-endemic lipids and vitamins.