Hydrogel composite containing azelaic acid and tea tree essential oil as a therapeutic strategy for Propionibacterium and testosterone-induced acne

Alpna Bisht, Chetna Hemrajani, Charul Rathore, Tania Dhiman, Rajan Rolta, Navneet Upadhyay, Prakriti Nidhi, Gaurav Gupta, Kamal Dua, Dinesh Kumar Chellappan, Kamal Dev, Anuradha Sourirajan, Apala Chakraborty, Alaa A. A. Aljabali, Hamid A. Bakshi, Poonam Negi, Murtaza M. Tambuwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Azelaic acid (AzA) is a USFDA bioactive prescribed against acne vulgaris. It possesses delivery challenges like poor aqueous solubility, low skin-penetrability, and dose-dependent side effects, which could be overcome by its synergistic combination with tea tree oil (TTO) as a microemulsion (ME)-based hydrogel composite. AzA-TTO ME was prepared to employ pseudoternary phase diagram construction. The best AzA-TTO ME was of uniform size (polydispersity index < 0.7), nano-range (~357.4 ± 2% nm), transmittance (> 90%), and negative zeta potential (−1.42 ± 0.25% mV) values. ME hydrogel composite with optimum rheological and textural attributes showed better permeation, retention, and skin-compliant characteristics, vis-a-vis marketed formulation (Aziderm™) when evaluated in Wistar rat skin. In vitro antibacterial efficacy in bacterial strains, i.e., Staphylococcus aureus, Propionibacterium acne, and Staphylococcus epidermidis, was evaluated employing agar well plate diffusion and broth dilution assay. ME hydrogel has shown an increase in zone of inhibition by two folds and a decrease in minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) by eightfold against P. acnes vis-a-vis AzA. Finally, ME hydrogel composite exhibited a better reduction in the papule density (93.75 ± 1.64%) in comparison to Aziderm™ 72.69 ± 4.67%) on acne as developed in rats by inducing testosterone. Thus, the developed AzA-TTO ME hydrogel composite promises an efficacious and comparatively safer drug delivery system for the topical therapy of acne vulgaris.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2501-2517
Number of pages17
JournalDrug Delivery and Translational Research
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Shoolini University for providing necessary infrastructure facilities. Animal assistance provided by Mr. Amit Kumar in the in-vivo study is also duly acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Drug delivery
  • hydrogel
  • formulation
  • Broth microdilution assay
  • Skin permeation, Testosterone acne model
  • Agar well diffusion method
  • Rheology
  • P. acne


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