New skin-healing chemicals
Researchers have made synthetic lipids called pseudoceramides that are involved in skin cell growth and could be used in treating skin diseases in which skin cells grow abnormally. Ceramides are lipids found in the outermost skin layer called the stratum corneum, which is made of dead skin cells and mainly serves as a physical barrier. Ceramides’ main biological function is to control how skin cells grow and differentiate – a process through which skin cells become specialized. Scientists have created in the laboratory synthetic ceramides, called pseudoceramides, to treat skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema characterized by red, flaky and very itchy skin; psoriasis, a disease that causes red scaly patches on the skin; and glucocorticoid-induced epidermal atrophy, in which the skin shrinks due to skin cell loss.
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