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Ceramides: How Do They Work In Skincare?


Ceramides make up around 50% of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. They are naturally found in our skin cells and belongs to a class of fatty acids called lipids. Ceramides are more commonly known for their central role in the development of the nervous system and the brain, but recently, they have been gaining popularity in the world of skincare due to their potential to promote skin health. Nowadays, you can find all kinds of skincare and cosmetic products containing ceramides. In this article, we’ll see what science says about the role of ceramides in skincare.

Ceramides and Skincare 

Made up of long-chain fatty acids, ceramides promote cellular function as they bind with other important molecules. Ceramides prevent permeability by creating a barrier on the skin and locking the moisture in the skin. As a result, it helps prevents irritation and dryness. Our skin is susceptible to environmental damage and according to a review by the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, ceramides may protect the epidermis from environmental damage. Wrinkles and fine lines become more noticeable when the skin is dry, so by locking in moisture, ceramides may minimize their appearance and exert anti-aging effects.  

As mentioned earlier, ceramides are found naturally in our skin, but over time, our skin loses these fatty acids. This can result in dry and dull skin. By adding ceramides to your skincare regimen, you may be able to minimize these effects and promote skin health with additional ceramides. If your skin cells are bricks, then the ceramides in your skin are the mortar between the bricks. Ceramides form a protective layer in the skin and prevent the moisture from escaping; as a result, they protect against environmental damage and help hold the skin together. Additionally, ceramides are considered to be anti-aging powerhouses and are considered to be as supportive of skin’s dynamic nature as peptides, retinol, and niacinamide. Sphingolipids and phytosphingosine are two precursors of ceramide and can help our skin to produce more ceramides. 

As of yet, we don’t know for sure if ceramide levels can reduce or increase the risk of developing underlying skin disorders; however, studies have noted that psoriasis and eczema patients have lower levels of ceramides in their skin. People with mature skin may also benefit from ceramides. 

We also don’t know if ceramide skincare products are more beneficial than ceramide supplements or food. According to the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, ceramide treats underlying skin conditions from inside out, so people with certain skin problems are more likely to benefit from ceramide supplements. On the other hand, ceramide topicals are more suitable for dealing with dry skin or aging symptoms. 


We certainly more conclusive evidence to be sure about the skin health benefits of ceramides, but the data suggests that skincare products containing ceramide may form an additional barrier to certain dry skin cases and help soothe dry-skin related irritation. 

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