Ceramide 1 and ceramide 3 act synergistically on skin hydration and the transepidermal water loss of sodium lauryl sulfate-irritated skin

Int J Dermatol. 2008 Aug;47(8):812-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2008.03687.x.


Background: Stratum corneum intercellular lipids, such as ceramides, play an important role in the regulation of skin water barrier homeostasis and water-holding capacity. Aim To evaluate the potential water retention capacity of control emulsion and three oil-in-water (o/w) emulsions containing ceramide 1, ceramide 3, or both.

Methods: Fifteen healthy Asian women (age, 20-30 years) with healthy skin, pretreated with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), applied the tested emulsions twice daily over a period of 28 days. Skin hydration and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) values were measured on the indicated days with a Corneometer(R)825 and a TEWAMETER TM210, respectively.

Results: The maximum increase in skin humidity was reached after 4 weeks, with values of 21.9 +/- 1.8% and 8.9 +/- 0.9% for emulsion C and control emulsion, respectively. The maximum decrease in TEWL was also reached after 4 weeks, with values of 36.7 +/- 4.7% and 5.1 +/- 0.8% for the same emulsions.

Conclusions: It can be concluded that all the tested ceramide-containing emulsions improved skin barrier function when compared with untreated skin. There was some indication that ceramides 1 and 3 contained in emulsion C might exert a beneficial synergistic effect on skin biochemical properties, such as skin hydration and TEWL, and play a key role in the protection mechanism against SLS irritation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Water / drug effects
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Ceramides / administration & dosage*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / drug therapy*
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / etiology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Emulsions / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Glycosphingolipids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Absorption / physiology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects*


  • Ceramides
  • Emulsions
  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • ceramide 3