Why all the hype about Ceramides?

The ESK blog

Why all the hype about Ceramides?

20 September 2021

We’re launching a new product tomorrow and yep, you guessed it. It’s filled with ceramides. But, if you’re feeling confused about what ceramides actually are, you’re not alone. In honour of our product launch, Doctor Ginni has written this blog to unpick the science to demystify ceramides, explain what they are and why you might benefit from having them in your skin care.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are one of the core building blocks of your skin. The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of your skin. It forms a strong barrier protecting the body from potentially harmful bugs or chemicals. Think of the stratum corneum as having a brick and mortar structure, made out of dead skin cells surrounded by a complex layer of proteins and lipids or fats, called the corneocyte envelope and a “lipid matrix”. There are 3 types of lipids in this matrix, with about 50 percent being ceramides, with cholesterol and free fatty acids making up the other 50%. Ceramides are thought to be the most important for maintaining the skin barrier function. That’s because they’re more than just the glue in the skin ‘wall’. They are also “bioactive” substances that we now know are essential to both self-renewal of the skin cells and also immune regulation inside the skin itself.

Different ceramides

At this point we know of 18 classes of ceramides. I won’t list them here! But what you need to know is that ceramides have either short chain, (SC), long chain (LC), very long chain (VLC) through to ultra-long chain (ULC) “acyl chains”. It seems having a decent broad range of these different types and lengths of ceramides is essential for healthy skin and an imbalance causes skin issues.

Dermatitis and eczema

People with eczema have less ceramides in their skin, PLUS a disruption in the ceramides that are there, with lower levels of larger size ceramide and higher levels of smaller ceramides. This disrupts the skin barrier function, contributes to trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) and makes the skin dry and prone to injury and infection. Lots of studies have found that adding ceramides to skin care helps with eczema and dermatitis, making it less dry, inflamed and itchy as well as reducing TEWL, increasing moisture content, and restoring skin barrier function.


In psoriasis, there are certainly some changes to the composition of the ceramides in the skin and in inflamed patches of psoriasis skin, the ceramides are reduced significantly. The science to prove that adding ceramides to skin care for psoriasis have been a bit slower to be published. But small studies have found ceramides in moisturizers to be beneficial for psoriasis skin- with sufferers rating their skin as better after a relatively short time of using them.

Aging skin

As we get older, the skin’s matrix becomes a bit less effective. There are fewer short chain ceramides while another type called Cer[EOS] drop off significantly with age. This happens in both sun-exposed skin and sun-protected skin, so it has something to do with the skin simply aging. There is one small study of putting ceramides into a skincare product. It seemed to help prevent wrinkle formation and reduced trans epidermal water loss or TEWL in aged skin. Further studies need to confirm this.


Think acne skin is all about overproduction of oil? Think again! Interestingly, we now know that dry skin is super common underneath that overproduction of sebum oil in acne prone skin. And the cause is once again disruption of the lipid matrix with a deficiency in ceramides in the skin. We now have several studies showing that ceramides in a moisturizer can not only combat the dryness that results from many of the treatments for acne, but can also directly combat the acne itself!

Rosacea skin

While research in this space is lagging, a panel of 9 eminent dermatologists got together to write a review article on the topic in the April 2021 edition of the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. They concluded that “barrier restoring ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide were considered beneficial.”

Ceramides in skin care

Initially, we had no proof that putting ceramides into skin care would see them delivered into the skin itself. But recent advances in cosmetic chemistry have resulted in the development of bio-identical synthetic ceramides (especially CER-1, CER-3, CER-6 and CER-9) which have been shown to function like natural ceramides in the skin.

And there you have it! Tomorrow morning we'll be dropping our new exciting product jam packed with ceramides and other exciting ingredients with emerging evidence...so don't forget to set your alarm and keep your eyes peeled! 

and jam packed with ceramides:

Repair +

Repair +

Stay hydrated all day with this deeply nourishing cream to repair irritable, dry and moody skin to restore it to its natural radiance.

  • Hydrate dry and sensitive skin.
  • Improve acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema symptoms. 
  • Repair skin's barrier function


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504780/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801391/
  3. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/509019
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167488913001705
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970828/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23757122/ 
  7. https://jcadonline.com/ceramide-july-2019/ 
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2733987/ 
  9. https://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961621P0384X&download=1 
  10. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/6/3/52/htm