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Hydrating the Stratum Corneum With Ceremides

By: Christine Heathman
Posted: September 24, 2010, from the October 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 3 of 5

A drop in the level of ceramides results in the skin becoming dry and hard, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. In skin care, ceramides are used for replenishing natural moisture levels due to their water-binding capacity. Formulations containing lipids identical to those in skin and, in particular, ceramide supplementation used twice daily, improves acne, rosacea, and photoaged, dehydrated, irritated skin. In addition to other imbalanced skin conditions, it is important to note that many facial cleansers contain a comedogenic ingredient named sodium lauryl sulfate that can lead to severely irritated skin. Serums that contain ceramide 1, ceramide 3, or both, can replace the transepidermal water loss and reduce the irritation brought on by this ingredient.

“Scientists have also learned that people who suffer from eczema have significantly fewer ceramides in their SC. On the other hand, individuals who suffer from psoriasis have the same number of ceramides compared to people with normal skin. However, the psoriasis-sufferers have less ceramide 1, 3, 4 and a subset of 5 and 6; and more ceramide 2 and another subset of 5,” according to Heather Brannon, MD, in the article “Ceramides: Skin Lipids That Keep Skin Moisturized.”9 Ceramide serums containing human-identical ceramide 1 and ceramide 3 could offer potential relief as part of a skin care protocol for psoriasis-sufferers.

An essential lipid

Ceramides are a principal indigenous material of the skin needed to maintain the health and proper balance of the SC. Science has proven ceramides are an essential part of daily skin lipid supplementation because they originate in the SC’s natural ecosystem and when lost through aging, trauma, cleansing or other causes, they require continued replenishment to maintain the necessary balance, energy, health and hydration of the skin.


1. PM Elias, Stratum Corneum Defense Functions: An Integrated View, J of Inv Derm 125 183–200 (2005)

2. E Proksch, et al, Barrier function regulates epidermal lipid and DNA synthesis, Br J Dermatol 128 (5) 473–82 (May 1993)