Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) are well-known systems that show effectiveness to improve skin hydration, being suggested for cosmetic and dermatological use. Nonetheless, NLC dispersions present low viscosity, which is non-attractive for cutaneous application. To circumvent this drawback, the dispersions can be gelled or incorporated in semisolid systems, increasing the final formulation consistency.
In this study, we prepared a hydrogel based on NLC containing vitamin E (HG-NLCVE) and evaluated its suitability for cutaneous application. The experiments started with the HG-NLCVE characterization (organoleptic analysis, accelerated stability, particle size, morphology, pH, texture and rheology). Afterwards, in vitro experiments were carried out, evaluating the formulation biocompatibility (MTT and Neutral Red) and irritant potential (Hen’s egg test on the chorioallantoic membrane, HET-CAM) for cutaneous application. The results showed that the HG-NLCVE has adequate features for skin application, is biocompatible and non-irritant. From this study, it was predicted the in vivo irritant potential of the developed formulation, avoiding the need to perform a high number of tests on human volunteers. Regarding vitamin E and NLC potential to improve skin hydration, we suggest that the HG-NLCVE could be used in cosmetic (e.g. moisturizers and anti-aging) or dermatologic (e.g. xerosis and other skin disorders) products.