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Sphingolipids are naturally occurring glycolipids. They are the layer of natural protective fats that cover a newborn baby’s skin. They are diminished by sun exposure and time, and by extensive exfoliation. I recommend replacing them with a product that contains them.
Lipids can keep skin hydrated, and looking younger. But they are not absorbed into the dermis; instead, they sit on the top layer of the stratum corneum and protect it. Many factors are responsible for depleting our natural lipids. All methods of exfoliation, where we are accelerating the loss of the dead cell layer, result in less skin lipids. A drier climate, or even just the dryness caused by a dehumidifier or air-conditioning, will also lessen skin’s natural lipid compliment. As we age we our lipids lessen. Many of my patients complain that certain drugs also make their skin noticeably drier and rougher. These can be topical medications, like prescription retinoids or pills, like the cholesterol lowering pills. Since many women aren’t familiar with this ingredient, I can give some easy direction to find products on the shelf.