The role of ceramides in skin homeostasis and inflammatory skin diseases

J Dermatol Sci. 2020 Jan;97(1):2-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2019.12.002. Epub 2019 Dec 5.


Ceramides, members of sphingolipid family, are not only the building blocks of epidermal barrier structure, but also bioactive metabolites involved in epidermal self-renewal and immune regulation. Hence, abnormal ceramide expression profile is recognized to defect extracellular lipid organization, disturb epidermal self-renewal, exacerbate skin immune response and actively participate in progression of several inflammatory dermatoses, exemplifying by psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Here, we discuss recent advances in understanding skin ceramides and their regulatory roles in skin homeostasis and pathogenic roles of altered ceramide metabolism in inflammatory skin diseases. These insights provide new opportunities for therapeutic intervention in inflammatory dermatoses.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Ceramides; Epidermal barrier; Inflammatory dermatoses; Psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Ceramides / administration & dosage
  • Ceramides / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Epidermis / immunology
  • Epidermis / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects
  • Water Loss, Insensible / immunology


  • Ceramides