Ceramides for the skin: what is it, benefits and how to use

Skin care is a layered process that uses multiple products ranging from cleansers, exfoliators, moisturizers, serums and more. While it is necessary to choose skin care products for your skin type, it also helps you to know the ingredients in your skin care. One of those key beauty ingredients is ceramides that can boost your moisture levels and help soothe your skin. A 2008 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine showed that using skin care products containing ceramides can help soothe skin irritation and control dry skin. Let’s see what an expert has to say about ceramides for skin care.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are a type of lipid (fat molecule) that naturally occurs in the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of your skin, says Bengaluru-based dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Kisalay Saurav. They play a key role in maintaining your skin’s barrier function and overall health. Our skin is made up of ceramides, but these are lost over time, leading to dull and dry skin.

A 2017 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggested that people with skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema have lower levels of ceramides in their skin. But don’t worry, you can apply them topically to repair your dry skin. You’ll find them in skin care products such as moisturizers, cleansers and serums.

Ceramides are important for skin health. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the benefits of ceramides for the skin?

Ceramides are beneficial for your skin because they aid in several processes that keep your skin looking and feeling younger.

1. Ceramides maintain the skin barrier

Ceramides are a fundamental part of the skin barrier, which prevents water loss and protects against external irritants.

2. Keep the skin hydrated

They help retain moisture, reduce the chance of dry skin and prevent your skin from becoming flaky or rough, the expert tells Health Shots.

3. Protect the skin

Ceramides act as a shield against environmental factors such as pollution, UV radiation and harsh weather conditions. As soon as your skin receives protection, the chance of skin damage decreases.

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4. Fight skin aging

There are many anti-aging products for your skin. You should look for ceramides as they can also contribute to a more youthful appearance by maintaining skin integrity and moisture balance.

Do ceramides help with inflammation and soften the skin?

Ceramides have anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe sensitive or irritated skin, says Dr. Saurav. They can soothe the skin by helping to restore the skin barrier. When the skin barrier is compromised, it can lead to irritation, redness and sensitivity. Ceramides replenish the lipid layer, reduce inflammation and promote healthier skin.

Skin care
Ceramides can help soothe the skin. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How do you combine the right skin care ingredients with ceramides?

It’s not just ceramides that you need for healthy skin. Hyaluronic acid is an excellent ingredient to combine with ceramides. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, while ceramides help retain that moisture and maintain the skin barrier. This combination can provide intense hydration and skin barrier support, leaving your skin looking and feeling healthier and more radiant, says the expert.

Ceramides are generally safe and beneficial for all skin types, including dry, sensitive, oily and combination skin. They are especially helpful for those with dry and sensitive skin as they can provide much-needed hydration and relief from irritation. However, if you have a known allergy or sensitivity to specific ceramide-containing ingredients or products, you should avoid them. It is best to perform a patch test before incorporating skin care products containing ceramides into your daily ritual.

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