Ceramides are wonder molecules, understand them and change lives.
Ceramides are found in high concentrations within the cell membrane of cells. They are one of the component lipids that make up sphingomyelin, one of the major lipids in the lipid bilayer.
It was assumed that Ceramides and other sphingolipids found in the bilayer cell membrane were purely structural elements. It is now known ceramides can actually act as a signalling molecule.
The most well-known functions of ceramides as cellular signals include regulating the differentiation, proliferation, programmed cell death (apoptosis) of cells.
The top layer of the skin is the epidermis, and the top layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum (SC). Even though the SC is very thin – 10-40 micrometres – it is the main barrier of the skin. It keeps chemicals that come in contact with the skin from absorbing into the body, and it keeps water inside the skin from leaching out.
Lipids in the Skin
The Stratum corneum contains three types of lipids – ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids.
These lipids have different chemical compositions and different functions throughout the body.
There are nine different types of ceramides in the SC, conveniently named ceramide 1 through to ceramide 9, and they account for 40 to 50% of the lipids in this outermost layer.
Ceramides and Skin Disease
Eczema sufferers have significantly fewer ceramides in their Stratum Corneum. Replacing Ceramides Improves Eczema. A SkinMed evaluation with our complete ceramide complement plus cholesterols and fatty acids in the ideal proportions when provided to eczema sufferers of all ages and who were on steroid creams but still had symptoms. Within 2 to 6 weeks of use 106 out of 176 were able to stop their steroid cream and remain symptom-free.
Psoriasis sufferers, in contrast, have the same number of ceramides compared to people with normal skin. However, the psoriasis-sufferers have less ceramide 1, 3, 4, and a subset of 5 and 6; and more ceramide 2 and another sub-set of 5.
Recent studies have shown that lipids can be replaced with topical preparations. Interestingly, all three lipids (ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids) have to be replaced at a certain ratio to restore the barrier function of the skin. If the incorrect balance of lipids is applied, it actually takes longer for the skin to heal. The effect of ceramides has been studied in eczema, but not yet for psoriasis although we have a number of amazing responses. This is what we have created in our creams. Other companies have triple ceramide cream and ceramide number this and that cream. No one I know has the research and the formula we have created. We call it Skin Lipid Complex. (SLC).
Trans Epidermal water loss happens in everyone but is usually abnormal and excessive in people with skin issues, ageing skin, sun damaged skin, and many skin conditions ranging from acne, eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis. Ceramides play an important part in controlling cellular water loss and also skin water loss. Water loss leads to dehydration. Dehydration impairs cellular function and can hasten cell death.
Skin can respond by increasing skin lipid content to compensate, but in some, this is impaired and skin can crack and dry. SLC supplementation has amazing results.
In other skin types, oil production is increased and skin cell production increases to thicken the skin. This can lead to the development of acne and also T Zones. SLC supplementation has significantly improved management of acne and is part of our trademarked TripleLock on acne. Control water loss, the skin doesn’t compensate to try and stop water loss by thickening, no thickening, no hair follicle blockage, no spot.