Quantitative study of stratum corneum ceramides contents in patients with sensitive skin

J Dermatol. 2012 Mar;39(3):295-300. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2011.01406.x. Epub 2011 Oct 31.


People with sensitive skin (SS) are those who state their skin is more sensitive than that of average persons. The stratum corneum is responsible for maintaining skin barrier function. Ceramides, major constituents of stratum corneum lipids, have been shown to predominantly contribute to the role. It has been suggested that barrier function in SS is decreased. However, we could find very few reports about stratum corneum ceramides in SS. This study was done to find out differences in stratum corneum ceramides between SS and non-SS groups. Fifty individuals (20 with SS and 30 with non-SS) were recruited. Lactic acid sting test (LAST) was performed on the left cheek. On six sites including the right cheek, arm, thigh, leg, back and palm, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and erythema index (EI) were measured. On the above six sites, stratum corneum sheets were obtained by stripping with cyanoacrylate resin and stratum corneum lipids were extracted, then, analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. LAST scores were higher in the SS group, but not statistically significant. There were no differences in TEWL and EI values between the two groups. The mean value of the quantity of stratum corneum ceramides on the face was significantly lower in the SS group. On other sites, mean values were also lower in the SS group, but not statistically significant. The quantity of ceramides was significantly decreased in the face of the SS group compared to that of the non-SS group. These results suggest that the decrease in stratum corneum ceramides on facial skin could be related to SS development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back
  • Ceramides / analysis*
  • Erythema / chemically induced
  • Face
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Thigh
  • Water Loss, Insensible
  • Young Adult


  • Ceramides
  • Lactic Acid