Phytoceramides Skin Rejuvenation From The Inside OutNovember 2014
By Michael Downey
Why You Need To Replace Age-Diminished Ceramides
Because ceramides are bioactive lipids,25 they are involved in much more than the appearance of the skin—and their age-related decline represents more than a mere cosmetic problem. Full functionality of the skin—which requires adequate ceramides and intact barrier function—helps regulate body temperature, synthesize optimum amounts of vitamin D, and provide critical sensory input from the environment.26-28
By contrast, falling ceramide levels expose one to health risks due to greater susceptibility to contact dermatitis from environmental chemicals, infectious microorganisms, and altered permeability to topically administered drugs.4,18,29 As shown in research, the outer layer ( stratum corneum) in aging human skin has decreased moisture content17,30,31 with greater susceptibility to inflammation32 and infection.19
Scientists have also determined that as humans age, their skin’s diminished lipid content—mostly a decreased level of ceramides4—results in reduced structural integrity.10,17,33 This loss of structural integrity exposes the skin to a greater threat from environmental assaults, such as low humidity, solvents, and detergents, and a much lower capacity to recover from them.11
Research suggests that the decline in ceramide content in mature skin4 may stem from a decline in the enzyme activity that normally promotes the delivery of ceramides in a usable form to the skin.34
To inhibit the loss of skin ceramides—and the wrinkling, moisture loss, and multiple health risks that occur as a result—it is essential to boost ceramide levels not just on the surface where lotions sit, but deep inside the skin cells beneath the stratum corneum.
In addition, maintaining youthful levels of ceramides in all layers of the skin promotes more than better appearance and feel—it powerfully blocks skin infections18 and other skin diseases.4,11
Protection Against Skin Infections And Diseases
Lipids at the skin’s surface, including ceramides, comprise a major part of an antimicrobial barrier, the first line of defense against infection. Age-related deterioration of this barrier raises the risk of numerous health conditions.11
For example, atopic dermatitis is characterized by reduced ceramide concentrations in the stratum corneum.12,35 Scientists suggest a correlation between this reduction and higher concentrations and colonization of Staphylococcus aureus in atopic dermatitis.12,36,37 This can be especially concerning because when skin barrier function is disrupted—as it is with diminished ceramide content—S. aureus has an increased potential for causing infections.38 In addition, disruption of skin barrier function is a risk factor for infection with various microorganisms including Streptococcus pyogenes.39
A scientific investigation into the pathogenesis of allergic contact dermatitis and other inflammatory skin conditions found that repairing the breakdown in the ceramide barrier, while continuing topical medications, could greatly alleviate atopic dermatitis.40 This is especially significant, because the topical corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents of mainstream therapy involve toxicity risks.
Ceramides are natural skin-based lipid molecules that have shown critical importance in preserving skin’s youthful appearance and texture, as well as providing strong defenses against skin diseases.
Their essential role is in the maintenance of water-retaining properties of the skin, protecting against water loss of both physical trauma and aging.
With age, the presence of ceramides in the skin decreases. However, topical creams that contain ceramides have shown only modest effectiveness.
When taken orally, phytoceramides are transported deep into the cells of all layers of the skin and work from the inside out.
Rigorous clinical studies show that oral wheat-derived phytoceramides increase skin hydration, smoothness, suppleness, and other measures of youthful skin. Ceramides may also protect against skin-based infections and diseases.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
- Rogers J, Harding C, Mayo A, Banks J, Rawlings A. Stratum corneum lipids: the effect of ageing and the seasons. Arch Dermatol Res. 1996 Nov;288(12):765-70.
- Denda M, Koyama J, Hori J, et al. Age- and sex-dependent change in stratum corneum sphingolipids. Arch Dermatol Res. 1993;285(7):415-7.
- Boireau-Adamezyk E, Baillet-Guffroy A, Stamatas GN. Age-dependent changes in stratum corneum barrier function. Skin Res Technol. 2014 Feb 12.
- Imokawa G, Abe A, Jin K, Higaki Y, Kawashima M, Hidano A. Decreased level of ceramides in stratum corneum of atopic dermatitis: an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin? J Invest Dermatol. 1991 Apr;96(4):523-6.
- Yarosh DB, Both D, Brown D. Liposomal ursolic acid (Merotaine) increases ceramides and collagen in human skin. Horm Res. 2000;54:318-21.
- Motta S, Monti M, Sesana S, Caputo R, Carelli S, Ghidoni R. Ceramide composition of the psoriatic scale. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 Sep 8;1182(2):147-51.
- Kim DS, Kim SY, Chung JH, Kim KH, Eun HC, Park KC. Delayed ERK activation by ceramide reduces melanin synthesis in human melanocytes. Cell Signal. 2002 Sep;14(9):779-85.
- Jeong HS, Choi HR, Yun HY, et al. Ceramide PC102 inhibits melanin synthesis via proteasomal degradation of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor and tyrosinase. Mol Cell Biochem. 2013 Mar;375(1-2):81-7.
- Coderch L, López O, de la Maza A, Parra JL. Ceramides and skin function. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(2):107-29.
- Rabionet M , Gorgas K, Sandhoff R. Ceramide synthesis in the epidermis. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1841(3):422-34.
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- Choi MJ, Maibach HI. Role of ceramides in barrier function of healthy and diseased skin. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(4):215-23.
- Guenther GG, Edinger AL. A new take on ceramide: starving cells by cutting off the nutrient supply. Cell Cycle. 2009 Apr 15;8(8):1122-6.
- Guillou S, Ghabri S, Jannot C, Gaillard E, Lamour I, Boisnic S. The moisturizing effect of a wheat extract food supplement on women’s skin: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Apr;33(2):138-43.
- Boisnic S. Clinical evaluation of a hydrating food supplement: double blind randomized study versus placebo. HITEX. 2005.
- Takagi S, Tojo H, Tomita S, et al. Alteration of the 4-sphingenine scaffolds of ceramides in keratinocyte-specific Arnt-deficient mice affects skin barrier function. J Clin Invest. 2003 Nov;112(9):1372-82.
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- Boisnic S, Beranger JY, Branchet MC. Cutaneous hydration evaluation after a vegetal ceramide-based cream application on normal human skin tissue model maintained alive, submitted to a dehydration model. HITEX;2003.
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