Ceramide AP



Ceramide AP at a glance

  • Naturally occurring, long chains of lipids (fats) that make up 16% of skin’s composition
  • Known to improve barrier strength, hydration, and suppleness when used as a skin care ingredient
  • Works optimally when combined with other ceramides + fatty acids and cholesterol
  • Deemed a safe cosmetic ingredient by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel

Ceramide AP description

Ceramide AP (AP stands for α-hydroxy-N-stearoylphytosphingosine) belongs to a larger group of ceramides that are naturally occurring, long chains of lipids (fats) in skin. To put it into perspective, skin’s general composition of ceramides is around 50% and of that, 16% of those ceramides are of the AP variety. Decreased levels of ceramides have been shown to weaken the barrier, making skin more vulnerable to external stressors. More specifically, a decline in ceramide AP has been linked to skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Topical application of ceramide AP via skin care formulas can step in to help fill this gap and strengthen skin’s barrier against external stimuli. In general, ceramides work best when they’re combined with other replenishing ingredients like fatty acids and cholesterol. These lipid mixtures work in multiple ways to improve skin’s hydration, texture, and suppleness. Ceramides within skin also play a vital role in maintaining skin health since they signal other processes that keep things orderly. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel’s 2020 assessment concluded that ceramide ingredients are safe in cosmetics in the present practises of use. Their survey data looked at personal care products containing concentrations between 0.00005-0.2% of ceramide AP. Ceramides used in skin care are typically created synthetically but can also be sourced naturally from plants.

Ceramide AP references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2020, pages 5S-25S  
  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences, August 2019, pages 1-15
  • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, October 2014, pages 2473-2483 
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, July 2014, pages 177-184 
  • Pharmaceutical Research, November 2012, pages 538-551
  • Journal of Lipid Research, July 2008, pages 1,466-1,476 
  • Journal of Lipid Research, September 2007, pages 1936-1943 
  • American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 107-129 
  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology, November 2001, pages 1,126-1,136 
  • Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, September-October 2001, pages 261-271

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated