Investigations into the penetration pathways of topically applied substances through the skin play an important role in dermatological science. Recently, the hair follicles have increasingly been recognized as an important pathway for percutaneous penetration, although the role of the follicles has still not been clarified in detail. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to develop an in vivo method for the analysis of the follicular rate of penetration processes. In order to reach this goal, the follicles were excluded from the penetration process of topically applied substances. Different study designs were evaluated, and we were able to show that the application of nail varnish to each follicular orifice represents an effective method of blocking the follicles selectively against the penetration of topically applied substances. In dermatological science, there is new information on the physiology of skin penetration processes, thus allowing examination of the follicular rate of penetration and improvement of the pharmacokinetics of topically applied substances.

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