Spotlight on ceramides


What are ceramides and what are their role?

Ceramides are a family of non-comedogenic lipids that play a vital role in the barrier function and are found naturally in the skin. Lipids in the stratum corneum (the skin’s outer layer) are composed of 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% free fatty acids, with smaller quantities of phospholipids and cholesterol sulphate.

Ceramides act as a glue that holds skin cells together to create a semi-permeable barrier. Some skincare products may contain ceramide precursors which are ingredients that have the ability to stimulate the skin to create natural ceramides. Common ceramide precursors are phytosphingosine and sphingosine.

Why do you need ceramides in your skincare regimen if your body already contains them?

As the skin matures, there is a reduction of ceramides naturally present in the skin, resulting in a compromised barrier function that weakens the skin’s moisture-retaining properties. In our 30s, our skin’s naturally produced ceramides are reduced by up to 40%, and in our 40s this loss can increase up to 60%.



Exposure to hot water, soaps, certain chemicals and other environmental factors may also reduce the effectiveness of your skin’s natural ceramides and can eventually deplete them. Therefore, dry, irritated and sensitive skin also often lack ceramides, making it more vulnerable to environmental elements, seasonal changes and airborne pollutants.

This affects the skin’s ability to hold in moisture, as transepidermal water loss increases, leaving skin feeling dehydrated and exhibiting an increase in fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. It is, therefore, important to provide the skin with ceramides to supplement this loss and reduce dehydration, premature ageing, and possible sensitivity.


What are the types of ceramides?

The skin counts several types of naturally occurring ceramides. However, ceramides found in skincare products are primarily synthetic or derived from plants, such as isolated wheat germ oil. They can also be extracted from rice, sweet potatoes, and yeast. The most common ceramides will be identified on your product labels as:

  • Ceramide 1 (ceramide EO): Binds the upper layers of the stratum corneum, accounts for approximately 6.5% of the total ceramides in the stratum corneum.

  • Ceramide 3 (ceramide NP): Accounts for approximately 22.1% of the total ceramide group in the stratum corneum and works synergistically with Ceramide 1 to prevent dehydration and the penetration of airborne pollutants and irritants in the skin.

  • Ceramide 6-II (ceramide AP): Accounts for approximately 8.8% of the total ceramide group in the stratum corneum.

  • Ceramide 9 (ceramide EOP): Accounts for approximately 1.1% of the total ceramide group in the stratum corneum.



What are the benefits of ceramides?

Ceramides have a moisture-retention function in the stratum corneum, as they reinforce the skin’s barrier. They also prevent the penetration of airborne substances, thereby reducing external irritation.

Although ceramides are a type of lipid; they are also able to bind water molecules together, effectively locking moisture in the skin. However, when the skin is ceramide-deficient, water molecules cannot be held together and escape easily, causing moisture in the skin to decrease. Skin is then likely to become dry.


Ceramides can retain water or lipids in skin cells of the stratum corneum to form a lamella structure (water + ceramides + lipid + water). Because of this sandwich-like structure, ceramides create a wall of water and lipids among the skin cells, strengthening the skin’s barrier function. Ceramides can also create a tight bond between cells to enhance the skin’s barrier function and maintain healthy skin balance.




Created to visibly reduce the signs of aging, this daily supplement improves skin comfort. Its encapsulated form retains the full integrity and effectiveness of this unique formula.

CERAMIDE COMFORT SERUM can be used morning and/or evening, before or after the application of skincare cream, depending on the skin’s type and conditions. Simply apply the entire content of a capsule on the skin with gentle effleurage movements and allow the serum to penetrate.



Source: “Ceramides: Everything You Need To Know – What Do Ceramides Do?, How Do Ceramides Work?And Are Ceramides Safe?” The Derm Review, August 30, 2021,