The benefits of ceramides for skin is surely something to be talked about. Because it is one of the agents that is naturally stored in our skin. Today, it is time to find out what precisely ceramides are and most importantly how they gained such popularity. So, let’s dive in!
Let’s start with the fundamental question: What are Ceramides?
Simply put, ceramides are types of lipids. (class of fatty acids) They are the structural elements of the skin’s hydrolipidic layer, which protects the skin against aggressive external factors and prevents moisture loss.
Our skin is naturally made up of ceramides and they account for 50% of our skin barrier. This, in turn, makes their work even more important.
What do Ceramides do and why should you use them?
One of the main functions of ceramides for skin is their role in “skin construction”.
They fill the intercellular space. Think of them as the glue that holds the cells together. Ceramides help form the skin barrier that locks the moisture into the skin. This, consequently, prevents dryness and moisture loss of the skin. There are 12 types of ceramides and they are weirdly (or not weirdly) named with their numbers.
Since skin devoid of moisture tends to age fast, locking the moisture into the skin makes sure that early signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles are less noticeable.
Ceramides protect the skin from the penetration of toxins, heavy metals, exhaust gases, dirt, and bacteria. They are the true knights in shining armor.
In addition to protecting the skin from the “bad environment“, ceramides have another important function – signaling. They essentially signal when it is time for the old cells to die off so that the new ones are born.
As we age, ceramides are lost over time which leads to dry skin, which is again, a sign of fast aging. That’s exactly why it is necessary to add ceramides to your skincare routine.
What are the main benefits of Ceramides for skin?
#1. Restores skin barrier
This is one of the fundamental benefits of ceramides for skin. As mentioned earlier, what the skin barrier does is protect it from external aggressors like bacteria, dirt, and other environmental factors.
Research shows that in order to make sure that daily wear and tear doesn’t get to the skin, it is important to replenish it with extra ceramides. It is especially important for sensitive skin that has a thin lipidic barrier so you can boost it with the help of ceramides.
#2. Hydrates dry skin
The main challenge of dry skin is its inability to produce lipids, meaning ceramides. By applying ceramides, you make sure to not only stimulate hydration but also successfully lock it into your skin.
#3. Has anti-aging properties
As most of you know, the loss of collagen and elastin on the skin leads to aging of the skin in your dermis (beneath the epidermis), as for your epidermis (outer layer of the skin).
By restoring it, ceramides make sure to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. That’s why ceramides for skin hold the key to young-looking skin.
#4. Treats inflammatory skin conditions
Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, contact dermatitis are a direct result of inflamed, dry skin. Therefore, when the skin barrier doesn’t do its work and lacks ceramides to do so, they come to the rescue by “feeding” the skin the hydration it desperately needs.
Ceramides soften and smoothen the skin, giving it a healthy, glowy feel that every skin needs.
#5. They treat acne
Because ceramides improve overall skin condition, they balance your skin’s moisture levels which directly correlates to regulating oil production on the skin.
By doing so, it makes sure that you don’t develop acne breakouts due to excessive oil production.
Using a cleanser with ceramides can be particularly useful for acne-prone skin. You know, only good things all the way!
Skincare products with Ceramides
Skincare products with ceramides are versatile and suitable for all skin types. You can find ceramides in a plethora of products such as toners, moisturizers, cleansers, and serums.
Nine different ceramides are synthesized in the skin, only some of their alternatives are used in beauty products. One of the best-selling cleansers, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid. It is especially great for sensitive, redness-prone skin that needs moisture and a stronger skin barrier.
In these skincare formulas, as a general rule, ceramides are combined with other lipids – cholesterol, fatty acids, amino acids. In such an environment, they tend to work with greater efficiency. You can find ceramides of natural and synthetic origin.
There is a widespread belief that synthetic, so-called “pseudo” ceramides, are much inferior in quality and efficiency to their natural prototype. However, there is still no scientific evidence to back or refute this statement. Natural ceramides refer to ceramides that are already present in your skin.
Ceramides in skincare products are synthetically made and are as effective as natural ceramides.
How to spot skincare products with Ceramides?
Ceramides for skin appear on product labels under different names such as:
- Ceramide AP;
- Ceramide EOS/EOP;
- Ceramide NP/NS;
- Caproyl sphingosine;
- N-stearoyl sphinganine;
- Cetyl-PG Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide;
Among these names, phytosphingosine and sphingosine are considered ceramide predecessors that basically stimulate the skin to produce natural ceramides.
What ceramides should I look for when choosing a skincare product?
The ingredients listed above are your clue when choosing a product next time. Commonly used ceramides are Ceramide 2 and Ceramide 3.
In addition, you can come across Ceramide AP (aka Ceramide 6-II) in some products too.
Should you take ceramide supplements for skin?
There are a number of ceramide supplements for skin out there like ceramide capsules for example. When it comes to comparing skincare products and supplements, unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.
However, it has been proven that taking ceramide supplements orally can improve the quality of the skin. Research shows that after a few weeks, there have been significant improvements in skin barrier function. Taking ceramide supplements for skin boosts the moisture content of the skin.
Can you increase the number of ceramides in your skin naturally?
Obviously, the best way to boost your ceramide count is using topical products like creams, serums, and moisturizers. With that said, if you incorporate healthy fats into your diet, you will encourage ceramide production in the skin.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to healthy eating habits. Foods like salmon, avocados, olive oil, and nuts are your healthy fat buddies. Sweet potatoes also contain a small number of ceramides.
What skin type would benefit most from using ceramides?
Ceramides can be beneficial for all skin types, there is no limit to using them. However, skin types that have weak skin barriers like sensitive, dry skin would probably benefit the most from using skincare products rich with ceramides. (or taking supplements)
If you suffer from skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema ceramides can definitely come to the rescue. Since ceramides enjoy anti-aging properties, mature skin can greatly benefit from ceramides as well.
Are ceramides comedogenic? Meaning, will they clog your pores?
No, ceramides are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. But you should be careful when selecting a product.
Read the product label carefully, as some products with ceramides can also have some ingredients that are prone to clogging pores. Make sure to do thorough research before your purchase.
Can you mix ceramides with other ingredients?
You can also combine them with chemical exfoliants such as AHAs and BHAs. By removing the existing dead skin cells, these exfoliants make sure that ceramides are easily absorbed by the skin.
Are ceramides good for hair?
If you have damaged hair and it lacks moisture, incorporating ceramides into your hair routine would definitely improve and restore its appearance. Ceramides for hair stimulate elasticity and moisture retention and help strengthen the hair. That’s why you can also come across hair products like conditioners and shampoos containing ceramides.
Are there any side effects of Ceramides for skin?
There are no known side effects to using ceramides for skin. However, just to be on the safe side, you can do a patch test to see how your skin will react. Just apply a little amount on the back of your hand or on your forearm, and leave the product for 24 hours.
If you experience any reaction like itching, irritation, or redness, just stop using it. Otherwise, it should be totally safe to continue to use.
How soon can you expect results from using Ceramides for skin?
Just like with any other product, it will take some time to see the real results of this ingredient. It is also up to various factors because everybody’s skin is different.
Generally, it will take from 6 weeks to 12 weeks to see considerable results in terms of anti-aging effects. You will notice that your skin is plumper, and smoother in texture. That’s exactly when you will know you have reaped the benefits of ceramides for skin!
Using products packed with ceramides can definitely help your skin compensate for the lost moisture. By boosting this natural production, you can make sure to give your skin the protection and hydration it needs.
After all, it is a skin-identical ingredient that can work wonders if used regularly. Up your skincare game with ceramides starting today!