Ceramides for skin: what they are, benefits and how to use them

Skincare is a multi-step process involving the use of multiple products ranging from cleansers, exfoliants, moisturizers, serums and much more. While it is necessary to choose skincare products suited to your skin type, it also helps you to know the ingredients of your skincare products. Ceramides are one of those important beauty ingredients, which can increase your hydration 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 could help soothe skin irritations and manage dry skin. Let’s find out what an expert has to say about ceramides for skin care.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are a type of lipid (fat molecule) naturally found in the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of your skin, explains Bangalore-based dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Kisalay Saurav. They play a vital role in maintaining the barrier function of your skin as well as overall health. Our skin is made up of ceramides, but they tend to get lost over time, leading to dull, dry skin.

A 2017 study published in the US National Library of Medicine suggests that people with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema have fewer ceramides in their skin. But don’t worry, you can apply them topically to repair your dry skin. You can find them in skin care products like 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 to your skin because they contribute to various processes that help your skin look and feel younger.

1. Ceramides maintain the skin barrier

Ceramides are a fundamental component of the skin barrier, which guarantees the absence of water loss and protects against external irritants.

2. Keep skin hydrated

They help retain moisture, reducing the chances of dry skin and preventing your skin from becoming flaky or rough, the expert tells Health Shots.

3. Protect the skin

Ceramides act as a shield against environmental factors like pollution, UV rays and harsh weather conditions. Once your skin is protected, the risk 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 the skin’s integrity and moisture balance.

Do ceramides help inflammation and soothe 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 repair the skin barrier. When the skin barrier is compromised, it can lead to irritation, redness and sensitivity. Ceramides replenish the lipid layer, reducing inflammation and promoting healthier skin.

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

How to combine the right skincare ingredients with ceramides?

It’s not just ceramides you need to have healthy skin. Hyaluronic acid proves to be an excellent ingredient to combine with ceramides. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, while ceramides help seal in that moisture and maintain the skin barrier. This combination can provide intense hydration and skin barrier support, leaving your skin 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 useful for 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 ingredients or products containing ceramides, you should avoid them. It’s best to do a patch test before including skin care products containing ceramides in your daily routine.

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