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This work evaluates the effect of different bicellar systems on the percutaneous absorption of diclofenac diethylamine (DDEA) using two different approaches. In the first case, the drug was included in bicellar systems, which were applied on the skin and, in the second case, the skin was treated by applying bicellar systems without drug before to the application of a DDEA aqueous solution. The characterization of bicellar systems showed that the particle size decreased when DDEA was encapsulated. Percutaneous absorption studies demonstrated a lower penetration of DDEA when the drug was included in bicellar systems than when the drug was applied in an aqueous solution. This effect was possibly due to a certain rigidity of the bicellar systems caused by the incorporation of DDEA. The absorption of DDEA on skin pretreated with bicelles increased compared to the absorption of DDEA on intact skin. Bicelles without DDEA could cause certain disorganization of the SC barrier function, thereby facilitating the percutaneous penetration of DDEA subsequently applied. Thus, depending on their physicochemical parameters and on the application conditions, these systems have potential enhancement or retardant effects on percutaneous absorption that result in an interesting strategy, which may be used in future drug delivery applications.