Cyclodextrins - “world’s smallest beauty cases”

Mohi Darakshan*, Nisar Ahmad Khan


In today’s beauty conscious world especially showbiz where people are disposed to pay any hefty amount for beautification and body care, cyclodextrins have carved a niche for them in cosmetic industry. The most common application of cyclodextrins in the formulation development is to enhance the solubility, stability, safety and bioavailability of drug molecules, besides key importance in cosmetic industry. In cosmetic industry the Cyclodextrins (CD’s) are known as “world’s smallest beauty cases” because an anti-ageing active ingredient RETINOL only in 0.1% in anti-wrinkle creams can cause skin irritations, but when formulated with CDs as an inclusion complex much higher concentrations of active ingredient can be added to cosmetics without causing skin irritation and the retinol is released gradually. Since the CD molecule encases the RETINOL, CDs are therefore termed as WORLD”S SMALLEST BEAUTY CASES [1,2,15]. Cyclodextrins are non-toxic polysaccharides which belong to the family of cyclic oligosaccharides composed of α-(1, 4) linked glucopyranose subunits and are useful molecular chelating agents. CD’s possess cage like or toroidal structure which can entrap molecules having poor solubility and thereby enhances their solubility besides masking the obnoxious taste and odour. These compounds having supramolecular structures carry out chemical reactions that involve intramolecular interactions where covalent bonds are not formed. As they form inclusion complexes, the properties of guest molecules can be altered to a large extent. Their importance in cosmetology ranges from fairness creams to anti-wrinkle preparations and never ending list of cosmetics and toiletries up to the latest Glutathione injections used for enhancing fairness. The slow release of fragrances in Talcum powders and Perfumes is achieved by the use of cyclodextrins. Apart from stabilising a sensitive drug molecule against light or oxygen, CD’S can modify the chemical reactivity of guest molecules. This article highlights the potential use of cyclodextrins in cosmetic formulations with more emphasis on recent developments.


Cyclodextrin; Supramolecular structures; Bioavailability; Polysaccharides; Glutathione; Retinol.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2013 International Journal of Bioassays

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Bioassays is a member of the Publishers International Linking Association, Inc. (PILA), CROSSREF and CROSSMARK (USA). Digital Object Identifier (DOI) will be assigned to all its published content.