Skin care shown to alter endogenous stratum corneum ceramide profile

Kao Corporation scientists demonstrate that daily treatment with pseudo ceramides can help those with atopic dermatitis

Researchers have discovered that the stratum corneum endogenous ceramides profile of atopic skin can be improved with daily application of a skin care lotion containing synthetic pseudo ceramides.

Atopic dermatitis is characterised by symptoms of severe skin inflammation and dryness, and impaired function of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin.

It is known that stratum corneum ceramide levels in the (non-lesional) skin of atopic dermatitis sufferers are lower than in healthy skin and have a different profile. But less is known about the relationship between the stratum corneum ceramide profile and stratum corneum function in people with atopic dermatitis.

This was the impetus behind Kao Corporation’s recent research, the results of which have been published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

The study saw volunteers with atopic dermatitis treat their skin twice a day with a test lotion for four weeks; stratum corneum samples were collected using the tape-stripping method before and after the four weeks, and the levels of both synthetic pseudo ceramides and endogenous ceramides were examined. Stratum corneum water content was also measured via skin conductance measurements.

After four weeks of treatment, the endogenous stratum corneum ceramide profile showed a shift: ceramide NH and NP levels increased, while ceramide NS and AS levels decreased. Moreover, lengthening of the ceramide NS carbon chain was also observed.

The results indicated that the endogenous ceramide profile characteristic of atopic skin had changed to that seen in healthy skin.

Meanwhile, the level of synthetic pseudo ceramide in the stratum corneum significantly correlated with stratum corneum water content.

The level of synthetic pseudo ceramide, conversely, negatively correlated with the amount of endogenous ceramide NS, but positively correlated with the average carbon chain length of ceramide NS.

Kao concluded that daily treatment with a skin care lotion containing synthetic pseudo ceramide can change the endogenous ceramide profile of individuals with atopic dermatitis to that of healthy skin, as well as penetrate synthetic pseudo ceramides into the stratum corneum.

Kao says it plans to use the results of this study for future skin research investigations.

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