Current insights into skin lipids and their roles in cutaneous health and disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review: The unique and complex array of cutaneous lipids include essential components of the skin structure and signalling molecules mediating homeostasis and inflammation. Understanding skin lipid biology and metabolism can support our comprehension of health and disease, including systemic conditions with cutaneous involvement.

Recent findings: Lipids found on the skin surface, produced by both the host and resident microbes, maintain and regulate the skin microbiome and the epidermal barrier, whilst altered contributions from either source can be detrimental to skin health. The unique lipid composition of the epidermal barrier is essential for its function, and recent studies have expanded our understanding of epidermal ceramide production. This has been supported by improved models available for skin research, including organotypic skin models enabling in vitro production of complex acylceramides for the first time, and model systems facilitating in silico exploration of the lipid profile changes observed in clinical samples. Studies have revealed further involvement of lipid mediators such as eicosanoids in
cutaneous inflammation, as well as immune regulation in both healthy and diseased skin.

Summary: Skin lipids offer exciting opportunities as therapeutic targets for many conditions, whether through topical interventions or nutritional supplementation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Dec 2022


  • Sebum
  • stratum corneum
  • ceramides
  • eicosanoids


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