Topical cholesterol and ceramides - need to use penetration enhancers?

Wondering if topical cholesterol and ceramides, which help the skin reduce TEWL in the stratum corneum among other things, need any help to penetrate the skin and not just stay on top of it?

Say using 1% cholesterol and .5% ceramide 3. Any knowledge around this?


  • @Zink there were a couple of threads here discussing ceramides. There’s no proof that they work unfortunately (I am saying it literally one hour after ordering my third bottle of ceramides). But logically (assuming that they do work) you want them on the top your skin.
  • I try to be as scientific and skeptical as it is possible but I cannot help it when it comes to ceramides. It’s the only ingredient that I use based on the anecdotal evidence :)
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Everyone needs a signature ingredient.  :wink:

  • Thank you Perry :) I feel less silly now. 
  • 2018 Imaging the distribution of skin lipids and topically applied compounds in human skin using mass spectrometry

    tl;dr Topically applied ceramides do go into the Stratum Corneum. Wondering what the case is for cholesterol..
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 - I don't have a signature ingredient but I do have a "signature" in my formulations.  Whenever I make a formula I like to include some ingredient at a level of 0.44% 

    The 44 is my signature & a lot of VO5 and Tresemme formulas that I left behind had ingredients with a 44 somewhere in the formula. I'm sure they've all been changed now, but you could always tell a Romanowski formula.  ;)
  • @Perry, I know about your signature, as you mentioned .44% in one of your podcasts, which I listen to every week :)
    The beauty brains podcasts motivated me to start making my own skincare. Specifically the one on Vitamin C derivatives (an old one with Randy). I got disappointed on the Vitamin C since then (after trying everything from freshly made stored in fridge 20% LLA to 10% tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate) but I discovered many other amazing ingredients and stopped buying all personal care products except for toothpaste and deodorant (because I am just not interested in making them). Thank you for being a real influencer and a populariser of formulating.
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