Posted on March 27, 2019

Ceramides 101: The Unassuming, Must-Have Skincare Ingredient for Healthy Skin

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Peptides, EGF, stem cells — all the sexy, science-y sounding ingredients that everyone is drawn to for anti-aging. But really, what you need for healthy, glowy skin is as simple as ceramide. What this often ignored ingredient does and why it’s a non-negotiable in every skincare routine.


 

Gimme a C. E. R. A. M. I. D. E. S.

 

What does that spell?

 

It spells the name of the super important yet often overlooked skincare ingredient: ceramides.

 

I had no idea just how important ceramides are until very recently. I have ridiculously dry skin on my body that is eczema-prone, so I use a lot of body lotion and body wash that tout ceramides as one of the important ingredients, but I never knew what they did until now. And when I found out, I was like, “OH FOR REAL!?” Everything made sense.

 

ceramides
istock/jacoblund

 

What are ceramides?

 

Ceramides are the lipids (or fats) that are found in the uppermost layer of skin. They make up at least 40 to 50% of the skin’s composition and act as the “glue” that holds your skin cells together. Think of ceramides like the caulk between the tiles in your bathroom — without them, the tiles would just be a crumbling mess in your bathroom. So your skin is basically a hot dry-ass disaster without ceramides.

 

Ceramides are super important for protecting against environmental damage, keeping your moisture barrier intact, and making sure that your hydration levels stay high. They are also an anti-aging juggernaut, providing the necessary support to protect your skin. So yeah, ceramides are that girl, OK!

 

Why are they important?

 

Well, when your moisture barrier is compromised (or you have a lack of ceramides), your skin is susceptible to all sorts of problems: environmental damage; dry, patchy, skin; wrinkles; “deflated” skin. Those who have eczema and psoriasis have a lack of ceramides in their skin, which causes the extra dry and oftentimes itchy and flaky skin, so it’s imperative that they replenish their skin with them properly. As we age, use drying skincare products, get sun damage, or have been in areas with tons of environmental pollution, the ceramide levels in our skin decrease. This is why people notice their skin gets drier the older they get. If you want plump, firm, hydrated, and balanced skin, it’s important to make sure that you include ceramides in your skincare routine.

 

ceramides
istock/narith_2527

 

OOH girl, I’m in. So are they good for all skin types?

 

Of course! Ceramides are naturally made in your skin, so all skin types can benefit, no matter how oily, dry, sensitive, or acne-prone. But if you’re skin is especially dry, flaky, or irritated, you can really benefit from adding products with ceramides.

 

So what’s next? What can I use?

 

Thankfully, products touting ceramides as an ingredient are pretty easy to find — they will say it right on the label. And thanks to the newfound popularity (and some clever marketing), you can find ceramide products everywhere! A few of my picks are:

 

1. Skinfood Boosting Juice 2-Step Sheet Mask in the Ceramide flavor: OOOH GIRL. THIS MASK. I’m not the biggest fan of Skinfood, but this mask is a mood. It has two steps: Step one is a hydrating boosting ampoule, chock full of ceramide. Pat the ampoule in, and then apply the sheet mask. It has a noticeable hydrating and plumping effect without being oily, perfect for my oily skinned gals.

 

ceramides

 

2. Innisfree Derma Formula Skin Barrier Cream: This cream is made with green tea ceramide, which mimics the skin’s own moisture barrier. It has a super rich texture, but don’t worry, it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. It just delivers that good ol’ ceramide goodness.

 

3. The entire Dr.Jart Ceramidin line: Dr.Jart made an entire skincare line based on ceramides! There’s an oil balm, a tinted moisturizer, a face cream, AND a body cream (goals!), as well as lip balms and a sheet mask. If your skin is in need of some repair and TLC, then this line is for you.

 

Do you love ceramides? How do you incorporate them into your routine? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Discussion

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I love ceramides! The first skincare products that really worked well for me were from CeraVe, which I chose since it's easy to find in US stores. I'm now using a Japanese toner called Ceracolla Moisture Lotion (the "Extra Moisture" version with the pink label), which is really nourishing, gentle, and affordable. I like having ceramides in a hydrating toner since it can be layered so easily with other products.

One question I've always had: What's the difference between all the various types of ceramides, and why do most products only have one or a few types? CeraVe and Ceracolla use... Read more

I recently bought that Innisfree Derma Formula Skin Barrier Cream, and I am so excited about working it into my routine. I'm flummoxed by how much difficulty my barrier has (it doesn't make sense! I'm otherwise mighty!)-- ceramides are great news for skin like mine.

Ahhhh, you'd be surprised at the toll years of alcohol-laden toners and high ph cleansers and lack of sunscreen take on your skin. (I'm talking to myself.) I certainly was! Thankfully, it didn't take long for a gentle, pampering, hydration-filled skincare routine to turn my skin around. My skin is far from perfect, but I take pride in it considering all the abuse I put it through!

I'd love to know what you think of the cream. I tend to focus more on serums and ampoules than creams, but a good cream is really game-changing.

I will let you know. :) It definitely doesn't work for me as an occlusive, but then, nothing does. (I have high hopes for some products I haven't tried yet that are mostly petrolatum.) The ceramide cream feels good, though-- I'm hoping continued use will strengthen my barrier itself so I don't *need* occlusives so badly.

Have you ever tried the Banila Co Miss Flower and Mr. Honey Cream? It's got petrolaum but also tons of honey extract and it's soooo good. I use it in the winter at night when my skin gets super dry. It's got a balm-like texture that just melts into the skin. And it smells like real raw honey. It's a big cult fave.

No, I never have, but I've heard great things about it. It's definitely on my list.