Your Trusted Brand for Over 35 Years

Life Extension Magazine

<< Back to March 2017

Skin ceramides, Cortisol, Tobacco, and Oral health

March 2017

Skin ceramides

The moisturizing effect of a wheat extract food supplement on women’s skin: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial.

Ceramides, specific lipid components of the skin, represent 35-40% of the intercellular cement binding cells together and contributing to skin hydration. A wheat extract rich in ceramides and digalactosyl-diglycerides was developed by Hitex in two forms: wheat extract oil (WEO) and wheat extract powder (WEP). In vitro tests and two clinical studies demonstrated promising efficacy results with WEP on skin hydration. To confirm these early results, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was carried out on 51 women aged 20-63 years with dry to very dry skin who received either 350 mg of WEO or placebo for 3 months. Evaluation of skin hydration on legs, arms and face, assessed at baseline (D0) and at study end (D84) was performed by the dermatologist using dermatological scores (dryness, roughness, erythema), skin hydration measurement (corneometry) and self-assessment scores (Visual Analogue Scale: VAS). Perceived efficacy was noted by participants throughout the study; tolerability and overall acceptability of the study products were evaluated by the dermatologist and the participants at the end of study. Skin hydration was significantly increased between D0 and D84 on the arms (P < 0.001) and legs (P = 0.012) in the WEO group compared with placebo. Even if no significant statistical differences between groups were observed for the dermatological evaluation, skin dryness and redness tended to be reduced in the WEO group. Moreover, from D0 to D84, the VAS index had a tendency to increase in favour of WEO for the overall skin hydration (P = 0.084) indicating that participants perceived an improvement. The WEO capsules were perceived by participants as being more effective than placebo on all skin dryness signs. In conclusion, WEO capsules were well tolerated and appreciated. After 3 months’ treatment, a significant increase in skin hydration and an improvement in associated clinical signs were observed in women with dry skin.

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Apr;33(2):138-43

Evaluation of skin-moisturizing effects of oral or percutaneous use of plant ceramides.

This study was undertaken to evaluate the assay performance of two methods for measuring the water-holding capacity of the skin: Skicon-200 and Tewameter which determine the water content in the stratum corneum and transepidermal water loss, respectively. Based on these findings, we studied the effects of newly developed skin moisturizers made of plant ceramides. The within-run as well as day-to-day reproducibility of the methods were both satisfactory. When rice-derived NIPPN ceramide RC was used topically for 3 weeks by 23 healthy volunteers, the water content in the stratum corneum of the leg was significantly increased to 141% of the baseline value in comparison with that after placebo use (111%) (p < 0.05), and the transepidermal water-loss was significantly suppressed to 23% of the baseline in comparison with that after placebo use (39%) (p < 0.01). When 20 mg or 40 mg/day of corn-derived NIPPN ceramide CP was given orally for 3 weeks, the water content in the stratum corneum of the leg was significantly increased to 290% and 394% of the baseline value, respectively, in comparison with that after placebo administration (141%) (p <0.05), and the transepidermal water loss was suppressed to 33 and 14% (p < 0.05) of the baseline values, respectively, in comparison with that after placebo administration (69%). These data by Skicon-200 and Tewameter suggest that the two plant ceramides are promising as skin-moisturizing agents not only for topical use but also for oral use.

Rinsho Byori. 2007 Mar;55(3):209-15

Effect of lipid-containing, positively charged nanoemulsions on skin hydration, elasticity and erythema--an in vivo study.

Dry skin and other skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis are characterized by impaired stratum corneum (SC) barrier function and by an increase in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) leading to a decrease in skin hydration. The possibility that dermatological and cosmetic products containing SC lipids could play a part in the restoration of disturbed skin barrier function is of great interest in the field of dermatology and cosmetics. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of positively charged oil/water nanoemulsions (PN) containing ceramide 3B and naturally found SC lipids (PNSC) such as ceramide 3, cholesterol, and palmitic acid on skin hydration, elasticity, and erythema. Creams of PNSC were compared to PN creams, to creams with negatively charged o/w nanoemulsion and SC lipids (NNSC) and to Physiogel cream, a SC lipid containing formulation, which is already on the market. The formulations (PN, PNSC, and NNSC) were prepared by high-pressure homogenization. After adding Carbopol 940 as thickener, particle size and stability of the creams were not significantly changed compared to the nanoemulsions. The studies were carried out on three groups, each with 14 healthy female test subjects between 25 and 50 years of age, using Corneometer 825, Cutometer SEM 575 and Mexameter 18 for measurements of skin hydration, elasticity, and erythema of the skin, respectively. The creams were applied regularly and well tolerated throughout the study. All formulations increased skin hydration and elasticity. There was no significant difference between PNSC and Physiogel. However, PNSC was significantly more effective in increasing skin hydration and elasticity than PN and NNSC indicating that phytosphingosine inducing the positive charge, SC lipids and ceramide 3B are crucial for the enhanced effect on skin hydration and viscoelasticity.

Int J Pharm. 2006 Jan 13;307(2):232-8

Stratum corneum lipids: the effect of ageing and the seasons.

Stratum corneum lipids play a predominant role in maintaining the water barrier of the skin. In order to understand the biological variation in the levels and composition of ceramides, ceramide 1 subtypes, cholesterol and fatty acids, stratum corneum lipids collected from tape strippings from three body sites (face, hand, leg) of female Caucasians of different age groups were analysed. In addition, we studied the influence of seasonal variation on the lipid composition of stratum corneum from the same body sites. The main lipid species were quantified using high-performance thin-layer chromatography and individual fatty acids using gas chromatography. Our findings demonstrated significantly decreased levels of all major lipid species, in particular ceramides, with increasing age. Similarly, the stratum corneum lipid levels of all the body sites examined were dramatically depleted in winter compared with spring and summer. The relative levels of ceramide 1 linoleate were also depleted in winter and in aged skin whereas ceramide 1 oleate levels increased. The other fatty acid levels remained fairly constant with both season and age, apart from lignoceric and heptadecanoic acid which showed a decrease in winter compared with summer. The decrease in the mass levels of intercellular lipids and the altered ratios of fatty acids esterified to ceramide 1, are likely to contribute to the increased susceptibility of aged skin to perturbation of barrier function and xerosis, particularly during the winter months.

Arch Dermatol Res. 1996 Nov;288(12):765-70

Ceramides and skin function.

Ceramides are the major lipid constituent of lamellar sheets present in the intercellular spaces of the stratum corneum. These lamellar sheets are thought to provide the barrier property of the epidermis. It is generally accepted that the intercellular lipid domain is composed of approximately equimolar concentrations of free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides. Ceramides are a structurally heterogeneous and complex group of sphingolipids containing derivatives of sphingosine bases in amide linkage with a variety of fatty acids. Differences in chain length, type and extent of hydroxylation, saturation etc. are responsible for the heterogeneity of the epidermal sphingolipids. It is well known that ceramides play an essential role in structuring and maintaining the water permeability barrier function of the skin. In conjunction with the other stratum corneum lipids, they form ordered structures. An essential factor is the physical state of the lipid chains in the nonpolar regions of the bilayers. The stratum corneum intercellular lipid lamellae, the aliphatic chains in the ceramides and the fatty acids are mostly straight long-chain saturated compounds with a high melting point and a small polar head group. This means that at physiological temperatures, the lipid chains are mostly in a solid crystalline or gel state, which exhibits low lateral diffusional properties and is less permeable than the state of liquid crystalline membranes, which are present at higher temperatures. The link between skin disorders and changes in barrier lipid composition, especially in ceramides, is difficult to prove because of the many variables involved. However, most skin disorders that have a diminished barrier function present a decrease in total ceramide content with some differences in the ceramide pattern. Formulations containing lipids identical to those in skin and, in particular, some ceramide supplementation could improve disturbed skin conditions. Incomplete lipid mixtures yield abnormal lamellar body contents, and disorder intercellular lamellae, whereas complete lipid mixtures result in normal lamellar bodies and intercellular bilayers. The utilization of physiological lipids according to these parameters have potential as new forms of topical therapy for dermatoses. An alternative strategy to improving barrier function by topical application of the various mature lipid species is to enhance the natural lipid-synthetic capability of the epidermis through the topical delivery of lipid precursors.

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(2):107-29

Ceramide synthesis in the epidermis.

The epidermis and in particular its outermost layer the stratum corneum provides terrestrial vertebrates with a pivotal defensive barrier against water loss, xenobiotics and harmful pathogens. A vital demand for this epidermal permeability barrier is the lipid-enriched lamellar matrix that embeds the enucleated corneocytes. Ceramides are the major components of these highly ordered intercellular lamellar structures, in which linoleic acid- and protein-esterified ceramides are crucial for structuring and maintaining skin barrier integrity. In this review, we describe the fascinating diversity of epidermal ceramides including 1-O-acylceramides. We focus on epidermal ceramide biosynthesis emphasizing its metabolic and topological requirements and discuss enzymes that may be involved in a- and w-hydroxylation. Finally, we turn to epidermal ceramide regulation, highlighting transcription factors and liposensors recently described to play crucial roles in modulating skin lipid metabolism and epidermal barrier homeostasis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled The Important Role of Lipids in the Epidermis and their Role in the Formation and Maintenance of the Cutaneous Barrier.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1841(3):422-34

Decreased level of ceramides in stratum corneum of atopic dermatitis: an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin?

Stratum corneum lipids are an important determinant for both water-retention function and permeability-barrier function in the stratum corneum. However, their major constituent, ceramides, have not been analyzed in detail in skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis that show defective water-retention and permeability-barrier function. In an attempt to assess the quantity of ceramides per unit mass of the stratum corneum in atopic dermatitis, stratum corneum sheet was removed from the forearm skin by stripping with cyanoacrylate resin and placed in hexane/ethanol extraction to yield stratum corneum lipids. The stratum corneum was dispersed by solubilization of cyanoacrylate resin with dimethylformamide, and after membrane filtration, the weight of the stratum corneum mass was measured. The ceramides were quantified by thin-layer chromatography and evaluated as microgram/mg stratum corneum. In the forearm skin of healthy individuals (n = 65), the total ceramide content significantly declined with increasing age. In atopic dermatitis (n = 32-35), there was a marked reduction in the amount of ceramides in the lesional forearm skin compared with those of healthy individuals of the same age. Interestingly, the non-lesional skin also exhibited a similar and significant decrease of ceramides. Among six ceramide fractions, ceramide 1 was most significantly reduced in both lesional and non-lesional skin. These findings suggest that an insufficiency of ceramides in the stratum corneum is an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin.

J Invest Dermatol. 1991 Apr;96(4):523-6