Ceramides

Ceramides is a natural element in the skin - Ceramides are lipids naturally found in high concentrations in the cells of the upper skin layer, and are essential for the proper function of healthy skin [1].

Pros:

+ Ceramides are lipids found naturally in high concentrations in healthy skin
+ In dry skin conditions, ceramides may support skin function

Cons:

- Does not in itself contain any vitamin essentials contributing to skin care

There are different types of ceramides which together with cholesterol and free fatty acids constitute the lipid matrix in which the upper skin cells are embedded. This lipid matrix remains an important barrier. At the same time, the lipid matrix is the only continuous pathway across the upper skin layers [2], and is therefore also important for the penetration of topically applied therapeutics.

Lack of ceramides in psoriasis

In psoriatic skin lesions, the synthesis of ceramides is impaired, which compromises the structure of the skin and leads to skin barrier dysfunction [3].

Skin with insufficient levels of ceramides has an increased loss of water across the surface, and thus becomes dry with increased permeability to irritants and allergens which may worsen the disease symptoms [1] [4].

In a recent study, a ceramide moisturiser that was used as an adjunctive therapy for plaque psoriasis for a period of 8 weeks showed benefits on psoriasis severity and area compared with the group that did not apply the ceramides. Further, with continued use over a year this group also showed less relapse and rebound compared with the control group [5].

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References:

1. Skin Therapy Lett. 2014 Jan-Feb;19(1):5-10
2. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2015;28(1):42-55
3. Eur J Dermatol 2014; 24(2): 194-200
4. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(11):771-88
5. Dermatol Ther. 2015 Nov-Dec;28(6):373-82

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