INGREDIENT GLOSSARY • Barrier Strengthener




A naturally-occuring lipid that makes up 25% of the skin’s moisture barrier.

Type of Ingredient

Barrier Strengthener

Why we use it

Cholesterol is a lipid molecule found naturally throughout our bodies. In the skin, it serves two important functions: it maintains the health and integrity of the moisture barrier, and it helps skin cells grow and mature in a healthy way. When added to skincare products alongside cholesterol and fatty acids, it can significantly speed up skin barrier repair.

What it’s in

Liquid Gold, Night Shift

Your skin naturally synthesizes its own cholesterol, where it plays a crucial role in skin barrier health and healthy skin cell growth. As we age, our bodies become less proficient at making lipids like cholesterol, so it becomes even more important to use cholesterol-containing skincare products on mature skin.

Even on young skin, moisture barrier damage is a concern. Your moisture barrier is responsible for locking in moisture and keeping out pathogens; it can become damaged via strong exfoliants, harsh cleansers, friction, sun damage, and more. Studies have shown that skincare products containing ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids can significantly speed up your body’s ability to repair its moisture barrier. (Interestingly, using cholesterol alone can actually slow down the repair; it’s important to only use products containing all three ingredients.)

In addition, cholesterol is a vital part of keratinization, which is the growth process and differentiation of skin cells. Supplementing your skin’s natural cholesterol can aid this process, resulting in stronger, healthier, more moisturized skin.


This article is reviewed by Alli Reed, PhD on 4/25/2023.

Shop This Ingredient

Liquid Gold

skin-strengthening moisturizer

Night Shift

age-defying retinol night cream