Abstract:Drug penetration through the skin is significant for both transdermal and dermal delivery. One mechanism that has attracted attention over the last two decades is the transport pathway of nanoparticles via hair follicle, through the epidermis, directly to the pilosebaceous unit and blood vessels. Studies demonstrate that particle size is an important factor for drug penetration. However, in order to gain more information for the purpose of improving this mode of drug delivery, a thorough understanding of the optimal physical particle properties is needed. In this study, we fabricated fluorescently labeled gold nanoparticles (GNP) with a tight control over the size and shape. The effect of the particles' physical parameters on follicular penetration was evaluated histologically. We used horizontal human skin sections and found that the optimal size for polymeric particles is 0.25 $μ$m. In addition, shape penetration experiments revealed gold nanostars' superiority over spherical particles. Our findings suggest the importance of the particles' physical properties in the design of nanocarriers delivered to the pilosebaceous unit.