Transdermal Patches: What Is Transdermal Technology & How Does It Work?
Transdermal patches have been around since the 1970s, when the first one was developed to treat motion sickness. Today, they’re used by millions all over the world, with a diversity of benefits. Nicotine patches help people stop smoking. Birth control patches offer an option besides the pill or IUD. Antidepressants can even be administered via a patch. There are also tons of over-the-counter transdermal patches available, from B12 energy patches to hangover-cure patches and more.
As we’re seeing the exciting benefits of transdermal technology grow, many of us have questions about how it works and whether patches are effective. If you’re interested in transdermal patches but want more information before taking the plunge, read on to learn everything you need to know.
What Is A Transdermal Patch
Transdermal technology has been around for long before patches were invented. Since the dawn of time, humans have applied salves, ointments, raw herbs, and more to their skin as medicated treatments. As technology progressed, so did our ability to make options that use the power of the skin to absorb ingredients that help our body. Now, we have transdermal patches, the long-awaited evolution of ancient transdermal technology!
Transdermal patches are, simply put, adhesive patches that deliver ingredients to your body through the skin. The skin is very porous, meaning that it can absorb things placed on its surface. By taking advantage of that quality, transdermal patches offer a few significant benefits over other methods of administration.
How Are Transdermal Patches Made
Also known as transdermal delivery systems (TDS), patches are a form of transdermal technology that typically use pressure-sensitive adhesives to adhere to the skin for the recommended wear time.
Most transdermal patches contain four distinct layers that work together to produce the desired results. The first, a transparent backing layer, protects the patch to prevent evaporation during wear. A second layer, usually made with a reservoir or matrix design, holds the ingredients. In most patches, including OnMi transdermal patches, the third layer is a 12-hour extended-release layer, regulating the release of the ingredients. Last, a clear liner ensures the patch sticks to the skin while supplying the nutrients directly.
How Do Transdermal Patches Work?
The science of transdermal patches has been studied since the first one was developed, and it’s a tried and true method of ingredient administration. The four layers of a transdermal patch work in tandem to offer ingredient delivery to the entire body through the skin. As ingredients enter the skin, they permeate into the systemic circulation in the body via the bloodstream and reach their target points throughout.
Among other benefits you’ll read about later, transdermal patches help ingredients avoid the first-pass effect, a phenomenon you might have heard of in reference to pharmaceuticals. The first-pass effect happens when an ingredient hits the liver or gut wall after ingestion by mouth. There, it’s metabolized, causing a large percentage of the product to get lost and excreted as waste, while only a tiny portion makes it to where it can take effect. Because transdermal patches deliver ingredients through the skin, they avoid the first-pass effect, allowing the vitamins, nutrients, or other ingredients to make it to their destination safely and efficiently.
How Fast Do Transdermal Patches Work?
If you’re wondering how long your transdermal patch will take to work, the answer is - it depends on the patch. Some prescription transdermal patches can take up to 3 days to have effects.
However, OnMi patches and other topical patches you can get over the counter start to work within minutes - so you don't have to wait for effects! Most have a suggested wear-time of 12-24 hours, but the ingredient delivery halts immediately when you remove the patch, so you're in complete control.
Some patches also require regular use to have an effect. For example, if you’re deficient in certain vitamins and use transdermal patches to add those nutrients back into your diet, it will take more than just one patch to show effects. More likely, you’ll notice the benefits of the nutrients after longer-term use.
Can a Transdermal Patch be Cut in Half?
We do not recommend cutting OnMi transdermal patches in half for a few reasons. First, patches are designed with a scientifically-calculated strength for each ingredient. There’s a reason we worked with formulation experts, engineers, and licensed pharmacists to develop our patches. Cutting a patch in half would change the amount of ingredients delivered to your body, potentially preventing you from receiving the benefits.
More importantly, if you cut a transdermal patch, you’re also affecting the technology behind the patch. Penetrating or piercing two of the layers (the ingredient layer and the 12-hour release layer) could damage the patch’s ability to control the rate of ingredient release.
If you're looking for a lesser effect from your patches, don't cut them. Instead, just remove the patch! Because OnMi patches halt ingredient delivery immediately after removal, you're in charge of the strength. That also works if you'd like effects to last for a shorter time - just choose how long you want to wear the patch and remove it when you're satisfied.
Where to Put a Transdermal Patch?
Prescription patches should be worn wherever your doctor suggests. Most over-the-counter patches can be worn anywhere on clean, dry skin. The inner wrist, hip, and shoulder are a few recommended spots since they’re comfortable, effective, and hair-free (to help avoid any discomfort on removal).
Are Transdermal Vitamin Patches Effective?
Transdermal vitamin patches are safe and effective. These patches include vitamins and nutrients in the ingredient reservoir to deliver your body the right amount of certain vitamins over time. As you read earlier, they offer effective, sustained delivery of vitamins that can be absorbed through the skin, avoiding the first-pass effect - which means that your body gets access to higher levels of the vitamins than via pill form. That said, the best way to support a healthy lifestyle is by getting all your vitamins and nutrients through your diet.
Along with being safe and effective, transdermal patches also offer some benefits over other routes of administration. Many people prefer patches over pills because they’re convenient, simple, safe, and natural. People who struggle to swallow pills - and those that experience gastrointestinal problems - can choose vitamin patches to avoid those issues. Transdermal vitamin patches are also free from the harmful additives that come with some vitamin pills, like sugars, fillers, and oils. When looking for an effortlessly effective option, transdermal patches are a clear winner.
Interested in trying out a safe and effective transdermal patch?
Head over to our collection of patches for energy, sleep, relaxation, weight loss, hangovers, pain, and more! Each patch is made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients, chosen to aid in your road to wellness, whatever that looks like. And all OnMi products are third-party tested to ensure safety and quality, so you can always trust that you’re getting the best when you go with us.
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