Ceramides are a type of lipid (naturally-occurring oil) found throughout the skin. Your body produces ceramides in the stratum corneum, the top layer of your epidermis, also known as your moisture barrier.
Your skin’s moisture barrier has a brick-and-mortar structure, with skin cells called corneocytes forming the bricks and a waxy mixture made of 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% fatty acids gluing the cells together. This lipid mixture helps keep your skin strong, waterproof, healthy, and resilient. A lack of ceramides in the moisture barrier has been associated with a number of skin ailments.
Topically-applied ceramides have been heavily studied for their benefits in increasing skin health, reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and soothing irritated skin. Beyond their role in the moisture barrier, ceramides also play an important role in regulating the life cycle of healthy skin cells.
Skincare products featuring ceramides are great for all skin types, but are especially critical for those with sensitive or compromised skin.
- Baumann, L. (2015). Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic ingredients (First Edition, pp. 57-63). McGraw-Hill Education/Medical.