You’ve likely seen lots of skincare companies marketing them, and maybe even used them in your routine. But what are ceramides and how can they help your skin?
If you’re on the quest for happy, healthy, and hydrated skin, ceramides are a powerful ingredient that can help you to achieve a smoother, glowing complexion. While they’re particularly effective for those with dry and sensitive skin, they should be an essential part of everyone’s routine.
Ceramides: What are they?
Ceramides are a family of fatty acids, also known as lipids. They occur naturally in your body, and especially in your skin, accounting for up to 50% of your epidermis (the outer layers of your skin). Their main function is to help provide a natural barrier, preventing moisture loss and dryness. They also play a part in protecting your skin from environmental stressors, such as pollution and harmful microbes.
You can think of ceramides as natural sealants or mortar – they prevent too much moisture getting in, and prevent too much from getting out. They help to seal the gaps between your skin cells making them stronger and more resilient.
Without the right amount of ceramides, your skin will become dry, itchy, and irritated. Some of us are more prone to this than others – research has found that those with dry skin and eczema have fewer ceramides in their skin. As we age, our natural ceramide levels begin to deplete. This often leads to fine lines developing, as well as an overall loss of plumpness and a dull complexion.
Some people take nutritional ceramide supplements as a way of boosting the natural supply in their body. However, topical ceramides can provide fast relief from irritation and dryness by instantly replenishing your skin’s ceramide levels.
As opposed to standard moisturizers that simply hydrate the surface of your skin, ceramide based products work by supporting and repairing your skin’s natural barrier. This allows your skin to retain moisture, keeping it plumped and hydrated for up to 24 hours after application.
Where can I find topical ceramides?
You’ll find ceramides in a variety of skincare products, including moisturizers, masks, eye creams, and lotions.
Ceramides are often extracted from natural sources, including soy, rice, and corn. When added to creams, these plant-based ceramides will provide the same benefits as those that are naturally produced by your body.
The ceramides in our Overnight Replenishing Mask are extracted from purified, fermented soy lees. This means that they’re completely natural and plant-based, as well as being a vegan-friendly option.
What does the research say?
Don’t just take our word for it – there’s plenty of research to support the benefits of ceramides. A recent study found that applying a ceramide-rich cream just once a day will significantly improve moisture levels in your skin.
Ceramides have also been clinically proven to reduce and ease the symptoms of eczema, by supporting and repairing the skin’s natural barrier. These effects were observed just three weeks after starting the treatment.
When should I use ceramides?
Ceramides are usually found in creams, masks, and moisturizers, which means you should use them as one of the last steps in your daily skincare routine. For a deeply nourishing effect on your skin, apply a ceramide-based product just before you go to bed. This will allow it to sink in effectively and work its magic while you drift off to sleep.
You should aim to use ceramides on a daily basis, all throughout the year. Interestingly, one study found that our natural ceramide levels significantly drop during the fall and winter months – so you may need to adjust your routine and apply creams more frequently during these cooler seasons.
What packaging should I look for?
The type of packaging used for ceramide-based products can have a huge impact on their efficacy. Ceramides are typically unstable ingredients, which means they break down from repeated exposure to sunlight and air. Over time, this reduces the effectiveness of the product.
To prevent this from occurring, ceramide-based creams should be packaged in airtight containers, particularly with a pump to avoid contact with air.
We love ceramides and think you should too. If you haven’t already, it’s time to incorporate these super helpful lipids into your routine. Not only are they effective in keeping your skin moisturized, but they will also leave it feeling smoother and looking brighter. They’re particularly effective in treating dry and eczema-prone skin, by helping to lock-in moisture, reduce skin roughness, and protecting from further damage and irritation.