Cholesterol is one of three noteworthy lipid classes found in the skin that serve crucial capacities as far as great skin well being as well as the strength of the whole body. One of the skin’s most critical employments is to give a porous hindrance through which water passes, serving to keep up the best possible dampness level in the body.
Unfortunately, cholesterol levels decline with age. That’s one reason skin becomes drier as a person grows older. Harsh cleansers can disrupt cholesterol and lipids, leading to dry skin, and some medications like cholesterol-lowering drugs alter cholesterol and lipid levels in the outer layer of the epidermis. Topical cholesterol based skin care products are used to help mitigate the effects of such drugs and maintain the skin balance.
Obviously, cholesterol and other lipids are important for locking in moisture and preventing dry skin. That’s why some makers of skin care products and cosmetics add cholesterol to their topical products, skin moisturizers, eye creams, facial cleansers, sunscreens, lip gloss, lipsticks, foundations and hair care products as a way to replenish cholesterol lost due to aging and disruption of skin’s lipid barrier. Cholesterol helps prevent the separation of the oil and liquid components in cosmetics and personal care products. It is also a skin-conditioning agent and viscosity increasing agent in cosmetics and personal care products.
Cholesterol may be useful for treating some skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis. People who have eczema have less cholesterol in the outer layer of their skin compared to people with normal skin. Therefore, using products that contain cholesterol may improve these conditions.
Cholesterol and fatty acids all play a role in maintaining skin’s ability to retain moisture. That’s why it’s important to replenish cholesterol and fatty acids along with cholesterol to use appropriate amounts of each to maintain a ratio that resembles skin’s natural, lipid barrier. Effective products contain proper ratios of these lipids.
Excess levels of cholesterol in the skin can produce disfiguring flaps of yellow plaques that tend to accumulate around the eyes. This disorder is known as xanthogranulomatosis. The underlying cause is a disturbance of lipid metabolism so treatment aims to correct the underlying disorder. However, topical cholesterol based treatments are often employed to remove the plaques.
The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetics Database classifies cholesterol as low hazard cosmetic ingredients. They are usually non-irritating to skin and actually soothe irritation and itching caused by dry skin. All in all, products that contain cholesterol are beneficial for people with dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. Plus, they’re safe to use and don’t normally cause skin irritation.
The barrier function of skin depends on the stratum corneum extracellular lipid matrix, which includes ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids. Smaller amounts of cholesterol sulfate and cholesteryl oleate may be present. Cholesterol in cosmetics can help maintain the skin’s normal function. It is also a stabilizer, emollient, and water-binding agent (Source: Journal of Structural Biology, June 2007, pages 386–400).