What Are Ceramides And What’s Their Role in Skincare

Your complete guide on ceramides in skincare.
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Barrier-strengthening. Emollient. Moisture-locking. Ceramides are your BFF when it comes to maintaining resilient skin and holding on to that soft look and feel. With age and seasonal changes, the skin moisture starts to deplete, and you may experience breakouts, dull, flaky, dry skin — the story sounds familiar. This happens because your skin barrier has been compromised. But thankfully, you don’t need to fret too much. With the right skincare ingredients, you can still rescue your skin and get back what it’s yours, aka the glowing and healthy look. Case on point: ceramides.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are lipids naturally found in the skin, along with fatty acids and cholesterol, needed for proper barrier function. Making up 50% of skin’s structure, ceramides have a pivotal role in maintaining the barrier strong and preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), while also shielding the skin against external damage. But once with age and other damaging factors (sun exposure, cold weather), ceramides level in the skin depletes, so the need to replenish it becomes a priority. Otherwise, the skin barrier weakens, skin becomes dry, rough, wrinkled, and prone to irritations.

How to prevent ceramides loss?

To induce more production of natural ceramides, you can consider adding healthy fats to your meals, such as avocados. Also, wheat, soy, and eggs contain vast amounts of sphingolipids, which can help boost ceramides production in the body.

On the other hand, to preserve your ceramides in the body, you want to skip long hot baths, and always slather your skin in a ceramide-infused moisturizer after bathing. Besides, over-exfoliation and even using the wrong type of soap or exposing the skin to extreme temperatures can lead to rapid loss of ceramides from the skin. Habits that lead to ceramides depletion are smoking, excessive alcohol, and sleep deprivation, FYI.

Ceramide’s role in skincare

When topically applied, ceramide creates a protective veil that prevents moisture loss and keeps the barrier integer, offsetting dryness, and irritation while protecting the skin from external foes. In plus, besides maintaining the skin hydrated by hindering TEWL, ceramides in skincare have the role of keeping the complexion plump, firm, and smooth — great for diminishing fine lines and wrinkles look.

How to use ceramide for skin?

As a versatile ingredient ceramides yield great results when used with skin-replenishing ingredients like fatty acids, hyaluronic acid, and cholesterol. To reap the best benefits, you can also combine ceramide products with antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients like peptides and adenosine. P.S.: Along with retinolniacinamide, and peptides, ceramides are the piece of the puzzle that supports skin firmness and elasticity. 

What’s more, since they’re found naturally in the skin, ceramides suit all skin types, including the most sensitive ones and acne-prone folks alike. As they work by sitting on top of the skin, it’s best when you use ceramide creams, to lock in what you have previously applied and keep the complexion defended against external damage. And yes, ceramides can be used on the eye area too; actually, ceramides are one of the must-have ingredients to look for in your eye cream.

Are ceramides safe for skin?

Although ceramides are generally safe for everyone, you should err on the side of caution and make a patch test before going all in.

To remember: products in opaque and airtight bottles or tubes are better for ceramides. Containers like jars may expose the product to sunlight and air, which may damage the product over time. 

Who wrote this?
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder and editor-in-chief of Women's Concepts. She has over 5 years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and dermatological research and was an acne sufferer for over a decade. Ana is now an IAO and CPD-accredited skincare consultant keen to teach others about the importance of a consistent routine. She covers a wide range of topics in skincare—from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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