Theranostics 2022; 12(7):3372-3406. doi:10.7150/thno.69999 This issue


Advanced nanocarrier- and microneedle-based transdermal drug delivery strategies for skin diseases treatment

Fei Qu#, Rui Geng#, Yijing Liu, Jintao Zhu

Hubei Key Laboratory of Bioinorganic Chemistry and Materia Medica; Hubei Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials and Medical Protective Materials; School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China.
# These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Qu F, Geng R, Liu Y, Zhu J. Advanced nanocarrier- and microneedle-based transdermal drug delivery strategies for skin diseases treatment. Theranostics 2022; 12(7):3372-3406. doi:10.7150/thno.69999. Available from

File import instruction


Graphic abstract

Skin diseases are the fourth leading cause of nonfatal and chronic skin diseases, acting as a global burden and affecting the world economy. Skin diseases severely impact the patients' quality of life and have influenced their physical and mental state. Treatment of these skin disorders with conventional methods shows a lack of therapeutic efficacy, long treatment duration, recurrence of the condition, and systemic side effects due to improper drug delivery. However, these pitfalls can be overcome with the applications of advanced nanocarrier- and microneedle (MN)-based transdermal drug delivery strategies that provide efficient site-specific drug delivery at the target site. These advanced transdermal drug delivery strategies can be more effective than other drug administration routes by avoiding first-pass metabolism, enhancing the drug concentration in local skin lesions, and reducing systemic toxicity. Compared with traditional transdermal delivery methods, nanocarrier- or MN-based drug delivery systems are painless, noninvasive, or minimum-invasive and require no expensive equipment. More importantly, they can introduce more advanced functions, including increased skin penetration efficiency, controlled drug release rates, enhanced targeting abilities, and theranostic functions. Here, the emergence of versatile advanced transdermal drug delivery systems for the transdermal delivery of various drugs is reviewed, focusing on the design principles, advantages, and considerations of nanocarrier- and MN-based transdermal drug delivery strategies and their applications in treating diverse skin diseases, including psoriasis, dermatitis, melanoma, and other skin diseases. Moreover, the prospects and challenges of advanced transdermal delivery strategies for treating dermatological disorders are summarized.

Keywords: Microneedles, Nanocarriers, Skin diseases, Stratum corneum, Transdermal drug delivery