Before we can truly attempt to explain how transdermal patches work, we need to inculcate a general understanding of how the skin works. Our skin consists mainly of three layers. The external-most layer is the epidermis, which is water proof. As we move deeper into the skin we encounter the dermis, this performs highly important functions and is occupied by blood vessels.
The third layer is full of subcutaneous tissues and is called the hypodermis. For unicellular organisms like the Amoeba, absorption is simple. It occurs through one of the most simple and important phenomenon called osmosis. However, our skin is much more complicated and absorption needs to happen through the porous walls of our skin. You can get additional information at how a transdermal patch works.
But our porous walls have extremely small pores, which allow only small molecules to pass through. This is why not all substances can be made to transfer ‘trans-dermally’.
How do transdermal patches work?
Transdermal patches attach to the skin and allow our blood vessels to absorb the medication or the substances present at varying doses (depending on the constitution of the patch). Transdermal patches can be particularly effective in withholding and controlling delivery, and thus regulating the bioavailability of the substance.
Think of this in terms of energy supplements or stimulants. If you were to take a caffeine pill, the bioavailability would depend on the dosage you’d take. It would be very difficult or perhaps even impossible to take just the right amount of caffeine, so that you stay energetic and don’t experience the over-stimulated or jittery symptoms. A transdermal patch makes this infinitely easier by controlling the amount of caffeine going into your blood stream.
It self-regulates the amount of the substance released into your blood and in the case of caffeine, can allow you the enhanced effects for a much longer time and alleviate the negative effects. As far as performance enhancing supplements are concerned, transdermal patches have proven to be a significantly more effective and healthy method.
A great example here is Power-Patch, which contains B-vitamins and caffeine. This energy patch uses two stages to constantly keep the user energized. The first stage uses 75 mgs of caffeine to kick-start the system and provides a boost of energy, while the second stage utilizes B-vitamins to help convert body fat along with glucose into energy. This allows the user several additional hours of energy.
Compared to energy drinks and other energy supplements like vitamin water, this is a much more effective and long lasting method.