What are ceramides and which phytoceramides and ceramide boosters are available?

  • May 7, 2021
  • 4 minutes of read time

What are ceramides and which phytoceramides and ceramide boosters are available?

Bettina Barlog

Ceramides are among the best-known cosmetic active ingredients. And for good reason: they make up 50% of the skin before they decline with age and are essential for a healthy skin barrier.

So what are ceramides?

The lipids of the extracellular matrix of the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis) consist of about 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol (hydrophobic molecule with a lower molecular weight and belonging to the sterol family) and 10 to 20% free fatty acids (long linear and saturated C16 to C36 carbon chains).

Ceramides form a family of structurally heterogeneous lipids that belong to the group of sphingolipids (complex lipids derived from a sphingosine molecule). Similar structures are found in many living organisms, e.g. in plants and animals. 

They are obtained by combining a fatty acid with a sphingosine base via an amide bond. They are amphiphilic structures consisting of a polar head (hydrophilic) and a non-polar tail (hydrophobic)

Ceramide and Sphingosine chemical structure

What are the functions of ceramides in the skin?

The primary function of the epidermis is to protect the body from external aggressions and maintain homeostasis (balance) in terms of water loss, temperature regulation and blood pressure. Ceramides are essential to firm the skin and protect it from dehydration, sensitivity and environmental influences and to make its overall structure firm and supple. 1

Scientific studies demonstrate the importance of ceramides in the stratum corneum (compared to other lipids), which are necessary for the maintenance of healthy skin. Thus, decreases in the quantity and/or quality of ceramides are associated with dry skin problems and other skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, etc. 2


Function of Ceramide in skin

As the barrier function is altered, water loss is increased, the skin is weakened and becomes more sensitive to external aggressions. In the long term, a change in ceramide content leads to premature skin ageing and the appearance of wrinkles. It is therefore important to maintain ceramides for healthy skin.

Which ceramide active ingredients or ceramide boosters do we have in our portfolio?

Ceramides are applied topically or orally to maintain supple, nourished and hydrated skin that protects against dryness, irritation and ageing.

We have the following cosmetic ingredients in our portfolio that address this target:

  • Ceramides from plant origin, phytoceramides: CERAMOSIDES™ HP
  • Active ingredients that stimulate the production of natural ceramides in the skin,  Ceramide Boosters: AQUAXYL™, HETEROSIDES, NATIVE ESSENCE™ & BLUE SEAKALE SC.


CERAMOSIDES™ HP (COSMOS certified, preservative and gluten free) is a natural, biomimetic and patented complex with phytoceramides for perfect skin. It acts as a powerful anti-ageing shield. Ceramides are rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9, which moisturize the skin and protect it from losing its elasticity and firmness. The pores are tightened and the skin texture is visibly refined.

Beauty from within is where cosmetics and nutrition meet. It is the new way to care for the skin from the inside out and nourish the whole body. Oral intake of phytoceramides helps restore the ceramide content of the skin. CERAMOSIDES™ have been developed to be the most efficient source of oral phytoceramides for skin hydration and anti-ageing proven by clinical studies.

Find more info here

AQUAXYL™ (COSMOS certified and preservative-free) is a patented sugar complex that offers the universal solution for dry skin and hair with a 3D hydration hydra concept. Aquaxyl™ also provides an "anti-dehydration shield": It enhances the synthesis of essential lipids, such as ceramides 1 and 2 (+139%), which are involved in the organisation of the stratum corneum.


HETEROSIDES (preservative-free) is a highly purified water-soluble extract from Centella asiatica (Cica) to improve skin barrier function. Heterosides is a multi-targeting skin barrier booster for mature skin, stimulating, among other things, ceramide-2 synthesis by +44%.


NATIVE ESSENCE™ (COSMOS certified and preservative-free) is an oil-soluble marine plant extract based on Crithmum maritimum, also known as sea fennel. Known as the architect of keratogenesis, Native Essence™ improves the skin's barrier function by protecting its epidermal lipids (stimulating ceramide synthesis by +43%), promoting cellular respiration and restoring water balance.

BLUE SEAKALE SC (COSMOS certified and preservative-free) is an oil-soluble marine plant extract derived from Crambe maritime, also known as sea kale. Blue Seakale SC shows skin-soothing properties that stimulate cell renewal and protects epidermal stem cells as well as important parts of the epidermis from external influences such as UV rays. In addition, Blue Seakale SC shows collagen and ceramide II boosting properties.


Ceramides are important lipids in the stratum corneum and contribute to a healthy and functioning skin barrier. In cosmetic products, phytoceramides and ceramide boosters help to protect the skin from external aggressions and strengthen the skin surface to keep it healthier and younger.

 1 https://www.pharmazeutische-zeitung.de/ausgabe-172007/stratum-corneum-s…

Choi M.J and Maibach H.I., 2005. Role of ceramides in barrier function of healthy and diseased skin. Am J Clin Dermatol. 6(4):215-23.