Benefits of ceramides include providing a barrier for the very top layer of the skin, or the stratum corneum, according to Heather Brannon for About.com. This barrier keeps out toxins, keeps in moisture and supports the health of the skin. Ceramides also play a role in telling cells when to die, a mechanism known as apoptosis.
Ceramides may also be connected to inflammation, cancer, diabetes and obesity, explains Benjamin T. Bikman and Scott A. Summers for the Journal of Clinical Investigation. They help the body resist leptin and insulin by stimulating the production of a certain type of protein.
Scientists have discovered that people who suffer from eczema have lower levels of ceramides in their stratum corneum, and treatment with ceramides improves the condition, notes Brannon. People with psoriasis have lower levels of certain types of ceramides and higher levels of other types of ceramides. This has taught scientists that people who suffer from skin disorders need to be treated with ceramides and other lipids in the proper proportions to find relief. The other lipids that work with ceramides are cholesterol and free fatty acids. There are nine different kinds of ceramides, and they constitute about 40 percent of the stratum corneum, states SkinStore.com.