Seasonal influences on stratum corneum ceramide 1 fatty acids and the influence of topical essential fatty acids.
Synopsis Ceramide 1 is the main repository of stratum corneum linoleic acid, and changes in the levels of ceramide 1 linoleate are associated with cutaneous abnormalities: essential fatty acid deficiency, atopic dermatitis and acne. We have previously reported seasonal variation in stratum corneum lipids where lipids, particularly ceramides, are very much reduced in winter which probably influences the appearance of skin xerosis in this season. However, investigations into the seasonal variation in ceramide 1 fatty acid levels and the effects of topical essential fatty acids on the composition of these lipid species have not been conducted in healthy subjects. We determined the composition of stratum corneum ceramide 1 esterified fatty acids in leg skin from Caucasian women in winter and summer and also investigated the effects of topical triglycerides rich in linoleic acid on stratum corneum ceramide 1 fatty acid levels in winter. A dramatic seasonal variation was observed. Whereas decreased levels of linoleic acid and some saturated fatty acids (C-15 and C-24) were observed in the winter months, increased levels of oleic acid were found. Nevertheless, it was possible to normalize the levels of stratum corneum ceramide 1 linoleate following topical application of formulations containing linoleic acid-rich triglycerides for 4 weeks. The reduction in ceramide 1 linoleate may lead to impaired stratum corneum function and increased susceptibility to skin xerosis in winter. However, by using formulations containing linoleic acid esters it is possible to correct these changes and possibly improve barrier resilience.
Int J Cosmet Sci. 1996 Feb;18(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.1996.tb00131.x.