Library Dissertation Showcase

Biopolymer gel preparation and characterisation using antimicrobial additives for the treatment of acne vulgaris

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

Acne is a universal skin condition affecting adolescents through to adulthood. Extensive research provides a thorough understanding of the pathogenesis of acne, yet the development of therapeutics that are both efficacious and patient friendly continue to be a challenge. Topical dosage forms, particularly those of a film-forming composition, display therapeutic modalities of great demand due to their ease of use and patient adherence. Within the cosmetic industry, topicals are widely available to manage acne from creams to ointments. Despite this, it is the ingredients used within these formulations that are becoming of great interest, particularly by the consumer as we move towards greener lifestyles.

Biopolymers, such as HPMC, are naturally occurring materials that provide advantageous opportunities to be formulated within a topical dosage form owing to their shear thinning rheological properties. Incorporation of natural additives, further enhances these properties whilst additionally targeting acne through their apparent antimicrobial nature. The extent to which the addition of additive enhances or in contrast diminishes the formulation is characterised and evaluated using oscillation rheology, a sensitive tool that measures the intermolecular interactions occurring within a polymer network. Exploration of the data demonstrated differing influences of each additive on the dynamic moduli (G’ and G”). Zinc, zinc oxide and copper were the chosen additives investigated, of which zinc and zinc oxide present to be more promising than copper for pharmaceutical purpose, potentially owing to their diamagnetic d-block chemistry and thus reactivities within the polymer network.

Topical applications were prepared successfully during the project. Due to acne being a skin disorder of pleomorphic causes, it is concluded that the formulation components making up the final formulation provide a promising opportunity to prevent acne rather than to treat the disorder. To establish the degree to which the formulation is suitable to treat acne is of great interest in future research.

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