A tiny vesicle (bubble-like sac), similar in construction to a cell membrane, used to encapsulate ingredients and enhance penetration into the skin; an effective delivery system. A liposome is a small artificial vesicle, spherical in shape, having at least one lipid bilayer. Due to their hydrophobicity and/or hydrophilicity, biocompatibility, particle size and many other properties, liposomes can be used as drug delivery vehicles for administration of pharmaceutical drugs and nutrients, such as lipid nanoparticles in mRNA vaccines, and DNA vaccines. Liposomes can be prepared by disrupting biological membranes (such as by sonication).

Liposomes are most often composed of phospholipids, especially phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol, but may also include other lipids, such as egg, phosphatidylethanolamine, as long as they are compatible with lipid bilayer structure. A liposome design may employ surface ligands for attaching to unhealthy tissue.

The major types of liposomes are the multilamellar vesicle (MLV, with several lamellar phase lipid bilayers), the small unilamellar liposome vesicle (SUV, with one lipid bilayer), the large unilamellar vesicle (LUV), and the cochleate vesicle. A less desirable form are multivesicular liposomes in which one vesicle contains one or more smaller vesicles.

Liposomes should not be confused with lysosomes, or with micelles and reverse micelles composed of monolayers.

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