Background: With the increasing diffusion of tattooing, the photolability of tattoo inks has become a critical issue, as available data indicated that several tattoo colorants are unstable under sunlight, generating potentially toxic photodegradation products. Therefore, it is desirable to enhance the photostability of coloring agents contained in tattoo inks. Aims: Lipid microparticles (LMs) highly loaded with Acid Red 87 (C.I. 45380), a colorant used in tattoo inks, were evaluated for their effect on the colorant photoinstability. In addition, the capacity of the LMs to retain the incorporated C.I. 45380 colorant after their intradermal administration in excised porcine skin was investigated. Methods: LMs loaded with C.I. 45380 were prepared using glyceryl tristearate as the lipidic material and phosphatidylcholine as the surfactant. Non-encapsulated C.I. 45380 or the colorant-loaded LMs were irradiated with a solar simulator for photodecomposition studies or introduced in the excised porcine skin mounted in Franz diffusion cells for stability evaluation in the dermal tissue. Results and Conclusion: The colorant content of the microparticles was 17.7%, and their size ranged from 25 to 170 μm. The light-induced degradation of C.I. 45380 was significantly decreased by its incorporation in the LMs from 20.2 ± 5.8% to 1.9 ± 2.1%. Moreover, after intradermal injection of free or microencapsulated C.I. 45380 in the excised pig skin, the LMs reduced by 93.7% (from 24.6 to 1.5%) the quantity of the colorant diffused and hence lost in the Franz cell receptor fluid. Hence, the LM carrier efficiently retained the entrapped C.I. 45380 following incubation in the dermal region of the isolated porcine skin, which is in favor of a long-lasting tattoo. Based on these data, the incorporation of C.I. 45380 in the LMs could represent a potentially useful strategy to reduce the photodecomposition of the tattoo colorant and its harmful interactions with the skin tissue.

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