Check out this beginner’s guide to ceramides.
If you’re beginning to notice that your skin seems drier than it used to, your skin’s barrier function might be compromised. This disrupts your skin’s ability to retain moisture on its top layers. Pollutants and irritants are also more likely to damage skin when this happens.
The root cause of it all? A deficiency in ceramides at your skin’s lipid barrier. Keep reading to find out the top facts about ceramides, what you need to know to ensure healthy skin, as well as the products to use.
What are ceramides?
Your skin is a waterproof layer that covers and protects your body from external factors thanks to its lipid layer. Ceramides make up a large part of this top layer of the skin – 40 per cent of intercellular lipids are ceramides, 25 per cent are cholesterol and 25 per cent are fatty acids. Hence, ceramides play a crucial role in ensuring that your skin functions optimally.
What causes ceramide depletion?
Like many beneficial compounds in our skin, the level of ceramides found in our skin can decrease due to various reasons, including ageing, drastic climate change, sun damage – people who are often under the sun tend to have drier skin – and the use of overly harsh cleansers.
People dealing with eczema and psoriasis might also be lacking in certain types of ceramides, which is why creams and lotions prescribed for the treatment of such skin conditions often contain this ingredient.
Who needs ceramides?
Everyone will benefit from ceramides because even if your skin is smooth and plump, ceramides can help maintain healthy and supple skin in the long run. Another good time to add ceramides into your skincare is when you’re travelling to a cold climate to alleviate any feeling of dryness and tightness.
Are ceramides different from humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid?
While ceramides and other ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid might seem like they do the same thing, they actually serve very different functions. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are humectants, meaning that when applied on the skin, they draw moisture from their surroundings to keep skin plump and supple. However, ceramides work at a cellular level to replenish skin with lipids (natural oils) required to rebuild and strengthen the skin’s barrier layer so that it is able to hold moisture in and keep irritants out.
What products should I try?
For dry skin, try Curel Moisture Cream ($38.80 for 40g) as it effectively penetrates the skin’s stratum corneum to replenish skin with lost lipids while amplifying skin’s natural ability to produce ceramides. If you’re looking for a toner, Lapothicell Ceramide Hydra Fluid ($48 for 125ml) is formulated with purified ceramide and hyaluronic acid to balance, replenish and hydrate skin instantly and over time.
The Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum ($169 for 90 capsules) is great for travellers because the product is encased in nifty capsules. It delivers skin-compatible ceramides to restore compromised skin barrier to relieve dryness instantly as well as improve skin elasticity.
And if you’re willing to splurge, treat yourself to the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore ($248 for 48ml) that is made with an optimal ratio of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids to reinforce skin’s barrier layer and support its natural self-repair mechanism.