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Ceramides: The Secret to beautiful hair and skin

Ceramides are trendy because they bring both beauty and health benefits.

They are already present in virtually all categories of beauty and personal care, gaining prominence as a hero ingredient or added in the formula for a performance boost, improving the perception of the effectiveness of the products.

1: Mintel 2022: Percentage of total launches containing Ceramides in the evaluated period

Ceramides are waxy lipid molecules. Composed of a sphingoid base and a waxy fatty acid that connect by an amide bond. Hence the name CERAMIDE: CERA being the Latin word for wax, because of the waxy part of the molecule, and AMIDE in reference to the amide bond.

Ceramides are lipids present throughout our body, representing 47% of the composition of our body's largest organ, the skin, and 7% of our hair.

On the skin, ceramides are present in the stratum corneum, in the outermost membrane of the skin (epidermis) and is an essential part of the barrier between our body and the environment.

In the hair ceramides compose the cell membrane complex (CMC), an important layer of the strands whose function is to unite the cell membranes of the cuticle and cortex.

When the sphingoid base is applied directly to the skin, it will be used by our body as a material for the natural synthesis of ceramides.

When ceramides are applied to our skin or hair, we have the direct incorporation of the structures in our barrier or hair fiber, performing a faster recovery of these structures.

When we combine the sphingoid bases with ceramides and other ingredients, we will have optimised blends that will bring multiple benefits and high performance in the recovery and maintenance of the structure of the skin and hair.

With three optically active carbon atoms in phytosphingosine, there are theoretically eight different possible structures of the final molecule. In human skin, only one is present – the same produced through Evonik’s biotechnological process.

In a study conducted with Evonik’s biomimetic ceramides and others without this characteristic, it was observed that Evonik ceramides can recover the natural barrier of the skin, while other types of ceramides do not present efficient incorporation and may even further damage the already damaged barrier.

If the skin loses ceramide, the protective barrier becomes more fragile and permeable, allowing the water present in the skin to be lost to the environment, leaving the skin less hydrated and prone to environmental harm.

This loss of ceramides can also accelerate aging.

Because of this, today we have many cases of dull, sensitive and dry skin, which can even evolve into cases of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne among other clinical skin conditions.

For hair, this loss leads to more fragile strands, which break more easily and are less resistant to untangling. Hair can also get more porous and rougher.

In addition, our scalp is also part of our skin, which with the loss of ceramides can present irritation, flaking and itching.

The good news is we can restore the ceramides that we lose at any age.

We can restore them by applying products with ceramides on the skin, making the replacement "from the outside in", recomposing the skin barrier structure, repairing its protective function.

We can also restore ceramides from "inside out" by helping our skin in its production process. We can provide “building blocks” to produce ceramides (with the use of precursors) or use ceramides that signal to the skin that it needs to produce more ceramides, further stimulating its natural production.

As the global, undisputed market leader in the skin-identical ceramide business, Evonik’s objective is to bring innovation and share new findings within the ceramide research field on a regular basis.

As opposed to chemical synthesis, Evonik has developed a patented biotechnological green production process based on the fermentation of a non-conventional yeast extracted from tonka beans.

The ceramide biosynthesis pathway is maintained from yeast to human. Therefore, Evonik ceramides have the same stereochemical conformation as the ceramides in our skin, i.e. they are truly skin-identical.

Time and environment never stop, the secret to keeping hair and skin always beautiful is replenishing the ceramides we lose daily and consumers need to know that!

This was a very brief summary of the power of ceramides. To find out more about Evonik’s solutions, see performance tests, formulation suggestions or ask technical questions, please reach out to Avenir Ingredients, Evonik exclusive distributor in Australia.

You can contact our General Manager Paul Kent at or (02) 9166 2989.

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