would you like an electric current with your topical ?

Written by on May 14, 2009 in patents with 0 Comments

A couple of recently awarded patents look both interesting and slightly scary for potential rosacea treatments. These patents cover some kind of device that is stuck to the skin. A small electric charge is used to help an active chemical cross the skin barrier. Some kind of carrier (an electrolyte) allows Zinc ions to flow between the electrodes, across the skin, creating a small charge. One electrode is made of Zinc and a typical composition of the second electrode is Silver. Some kind of active agent can be included in the carrier – for eg. anti-inflammatories, anti-microbials etc.

Methods of treating acne and rosacea with electrochemically generated zinc ions:

The present invention features a method of treating acne or rosacea by applying to the skin electrochemically generated zinc ions. In one embodiment, the method includes topically applying a device including an anode containing zinc.

Methods of treating acne and rosacea with galvanic generated electricity

The present invention features a method of treating acne or rosacea on the skin by applying electricity to skin in need of such treatment wherein said electricity is generated by a first conductive electrode in electric communication with a second conductive electrode, wherein both the first conductive electrode and the second conductive electrode are in ionic communication with the skin, wherein the difference of the standard potentials of the first conductive electrode and the second conductive electrode is at least 0.2 V and wherein the electrons that pass between the first conductive electrode and the second conductive electrode are generated as a result of such difference of the standard potentials.

There is also an exhaustive list of possible alternative active agents “retinoids such as tretinoin, isotretinoin, motretinide, adapalene, tazarotene, azelaic acid, and retinol; salicylic acid; benzoyl peroxide; resorcinol; sulfur; sulfacetamide; urea; antibiotics such as tetracycline, metronidazole, and erythromycin; anti- inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids (e.g., hydrocor- tisone), ibuprofen, naproxen, and hetprofen; and imidazoles such as ketoconazole and elubiol; and salts, esters, and other derivatives thereof. Other examples of anti-acne active agents include essential oils, alpha-bisabolol, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, camphor, (3-glucan, allantoin, feverfew, flavonoids such as soy isoflavones, saw palmetto, chelating agents such as EDTA, lipase inhibitors such as silver and copper ions, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, inorganic ions of chloride, iodide, fluoride, and their nonionic derivatives chlorine, iodine, fluorine, and other valences, synthetic phospholipids and natural phospholipids such as Arlasilk phospholipids COM, SV, EFA, PLN, and GLA”.

Continuing, that patent also covers the usage of antifungals, antibiotics, antimicrobials, antispsoriatics, anti-inflammatories etc. A LED might included to illuminate the skin, modulate the current, show it is operating as well as provide some low level light therapy.

The science of using an electric charge to cross the skin barrier is called iontopheresis. For some active ingredients, being unable to cross the skin barrier can restrict its effectiveness or require formulations that use other molecules to assists the active molecules through the outer skin barrier. As part of the research into flushing and emotional responses I was connected to a probe with a small electric current applied, and the blood flow measured. As more current was applied the pain increased, I do hope that this proposed treatment is painless.

doing my bit for rosacea research; Perth wake up !

In the first part of the test a chemical called acetylcholine is put on to the skin underneath the probe. According to wikipedia, acetylcholine is one of the first neurotransmitters discovered. A small electric current is applied in short bursts to help the acetylcholine breach the skin barrier. At various points you are asked to assess to amount of pain and stinging you feel. The worst I felt was unpleasant but not untolerable.

The point is to measure the increased blood flow and also the amount of discomfort felt. If differences between rosacea sufferers and non-rosacea sufferers can be proved then that would be a good result.

The patent mentions a `wearable patch or facial mask type adhesive device’ perhaps giving a clue to what the product might look like. The carrier may be `immobilized within an absorbent material such as gauze or non-woven pad’.

Of course just because something is patented doesn’t mean that it 1) works or 2) will become a product, but may still provide insights into what the future holds.

As the patents are owned by Johnson & Johnson I wonder if we ever might see these sorts of devices available to the mass market ?

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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