Ceramide is the main component of the stratum corneum of the epidermis layer of human skin. Together with cholesterol and saturated fatty acids, ceramide creates a water-impermeable, protective organ to prevent excessive water loss due to evaporation as well as a barrier against the entry of microorganisms.
Ceramide is the main component of the stratum corneum of the epidermis layer of human skin. ceramide can participate in a variety of cellular signaling: examples include regulating differentiation, proliferation, and programmed cell death (PCD) of cells.
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Ceramides are a class of fatty acids called lipids. They’re naturally found in skin cells and makeup about 50 percent of the outer layer of skin (epidermis).
The word ceramide comes from the Latin era (wax) and amide. Ceramide is a component of vernix caseosa, the waxy or cheese-like white substance found coating the skin of newborn human infants.
In the hyperplastic disorder psoriasis, the water permeability barrier is compromised. Ceramide VI is the most abundant ceramide of the skin, along with ceramide II, and has been exploited to model the organization of the stratum corneum lipidic network.
The stratum corneum is composed of 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% free fatty acids. Key components of the extracellular lipid lamellae of the stratum corneum are ultra long-chain (C28-C36) ceramides. With aging, there is a decline in ceramide and cholesterol in the stratum corneum of humans. A clinical trial using ceramide-rich wheat extract showed increased skin hydration in those taking the extract rather than the placebo.
Ceramides help hold the skin together by forming a protective layer that limits moisture loss and protects against visible damage from pollution and other environmental stressors. In addition, ceramides—even more than antioxidants, retinol, niacinamide, and peptides—are one of the anti-aging “powerhouses” responsible for supporting skin’s dynamic nature. Two particular ceramide precursors—phytosphingosine and sphingolipids—actually help skin make more ceramides.
As far as anti-aging ingredients go, ceramides have a proven record, but are often overlooked, and rarely explained.
- Protect the skin
- Lock in moisture
Well-formulated (and properly packaged) skincare products containing ceramides will help reinforce your skin’s barrier and increase hydration—giving you plumper, smoother, firmer-feeling skin with fewer visible lines and wrinkles, as well as fewer signs of sensitivity.
Ceramides are most effective when combined with other skin-replenishing ingredients like fatty acids, glycerin, and cholesterol. Lipid mixtures like these are ideal for improving skin tone, skin texture, and relieving signs of sensitivity. But, because no single ingredient can do everything to combat the visible signs of aging, be sure your ceramide-enriched product also contains antioxidants and what we refer to as “skin-restoring” ingredients; for example, retinol, niacinamide, linoleic acid, and peptides.
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