The ceramides are sphingolipids composed of an omega-oxyacid and an amino alcohol (sfingosine). They are normally present in the corneous layer of normal skin (they make up 40-60% of total lipids) and their quantity reduces with time. There are different types of ceramides; the most stable of which is ceramide 3. If these substances are depleted, there is a significant loss of adhesion in the outermost cells, leading to dryness and changes to the skin. Their properties are:
they prevent dryness, dehydration, and the resulting skin desquamation;
they have a structuring and binding function; they fill the space between cells and prevent excessive flaking of the stratum corneum;
they develop protective and restorative actions;
they repair and regulate the natural hydro-lipid balance.
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