This study investigated the physicochemical characteristics of cationic vesicles that were prepared from two phosphatidylcholines and three dialkyldimethylammonium bromides (DXDAB) with differing in dialkyl chain lengths, ranging from 2-C(14) to 2-C(18), by measuring particle size and zeta potential. The dependence of particle size, zeta potential and short-storage stability of mixed phosphatidylcholine/DXDAB vesicles on the chain length and composition were also elucidated. Transmission electron microscopy analysis verified that vesicles were formed as a phosphatidylcholine film to which DXDAB was added in a phosphate buffer saline (PBS, pH 7.4). Furthermore, the toxicity to the human keratinocytes (HaCaT) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC25) cells that were incubated with these vesicles, evaluated by a cell viability assay, increased with the percentage of DXDAB that was incorporated and was inversely proportional to the chain length of DXDAB. The morphological features (round shape, chromatin condensation and apoptosis bodies) and results of flow cytometry analysis (increased sub-G(1) fraction) confirmed the induction of apoptosis in HaCaT and SCC25 cells by cationic vesicles. Apoptosis caused by cationic vesicles without the addition of any drugs was observed for the first time in HaCaT and SCC25 cells. The results of this investigation suggest that cytotoxicity is related to the zeta potential of the cationic vesicles.