Ceramide NP

AKA: Ceramide 3
Also known as ceramide 3, it is the most common ceramide in our skin. It helps to restore the skin’s lipid barrier and alleviate the symptoms of dry and cracked skin. Research has shown that skin suffering from conditions such as AD lacks ceramides.
Ceramide 3
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Ceramide NP


Ceramide NP, also known as Ceramide 3, is one of the most important skin lipids. It is the most common ceramide and appears naturally in our skin, accounting for 23% of all skin ceramides.

The topmost layer of our skin is called the stratum corneum and it is made up of layers of dead skin cells called corneocytes which are interconnected by a protein network.

The space in between is filled with an oily mixture called the lipid matrix, consisting of 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 10-20% fatty acids. These molecules arrange themselves into lamelles and, when combined with the other structures, create a water-resistant skin barrier that prevents transdermal water loss.

Dry and flaky patches of skin are almost certainly missing Ceramide NP in their lipid matrix. Research has shown a serious lack of ceramides, specifically Ceramide NP, in skin suffering from conditions such as dish soap and winter-induced dry hands, cracked lips, dandruff, ichthyosis, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.

If you are suffering from these unpleasant skin problems, then creams and lotions with Ceramide NP may help to alleviate the symptoms, especially when combined with other ceramides and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This is because such mixtures mimic the natural composition of the stratum corneum lipid matrix.

Because Ceramide NP is the most plentiful ceramide in our skin, it is usually the first one that appears on the ingredients list, meaning that it is used more often and in the biggest portions.

Our skin naturally has fewer ceramides in the winter season, and some body parts like the hands, face, and lips tend to lose the lipid matrix with aging.

Replenishing the building blocks of the lipid matrix in the form of creams and lotions is a good idea for everyone, not just for people with dry and cracked skin.

If you want to learn more about ceramides and how they are named and classified, then read the longer article here.


Schmitt, T., & Neubert, R. H. H. (2018). State of the Art in Stratum Corneum Research: The Biophysical Properties of Ceramides. Chemistry and Physics of Lipids.
Moore, D. J., & Rawlings, A. V. (2017). The chemistry, function and (patho)physiology of stratum corneum barrier ceramides. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 39(4), 366–372.
Van Smeden, J., Janssens, M., Gooris, G. S., & Bouwstra, J. A. (2014). The important role of stratum corneum lipids for the cutaneous barrier function. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, 1841(3), 295–313.
Fujiwara, A., et al. (2018). Age-related and seasonal changes in covalently bound ceramide content in forearm stratum corneum of Japanese subjects: determination of molecular species of ceramides. Archives of Dermatological Research.
Tessema, E. N., Gebre-Mariam, T., Neubert, R. H. H., & Wohlrab, J. (2017). Potential Applications of Phyto-Derived Ceramides in Improving Epidermal Barrier Function. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 30(3), 115–138.
Blaess, M., & Deigner, H.-P. (2019). Derailed Ceramide Metabolism in Atopic Dermatitis (AD): A Causal Starting Point for a Personalized (Basic) Therapy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(16), 3967.