Ceramides are a big buzzword in skincare. But do you know why they’re important?
Well, that’s because these are vital to healthy skin.
Why are Ceramides important?
Your skin’s epidermis - the bit that faces the world, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out - is a highly complex structure that bears a resemblance to a wall - with the dead skin cells being the bricks and the fatty lipid bilayer being the mortar that seals the bricks in place, maintaining the integrity of the wall.
Without it, the bricks would just crumble and fall away - so too, with skin.
What are the effects of a weakened skin barrier?
So Ceramides are the major ingredient in this mortar. But their levels decline as we age, which is thought to be the basis of why skin becomes drier and more eczema-prone as we get older. They are also lowered and considered a contributing factor in many inflammatory skin conditions, like acne and rosacea.
In acne, the lowered levels of ceramides are associated with hyperkeratosis and clogging of pores, a prelude to loathsome breakouts. And perhaps surprisingly, this makes winter a time of particular concern - if skin is low on ceramides, the effect of central heating and low humidity will mean water evaporates readily for the skin leaving skin dehydrated, irritable and prone to bumps.
What are the benefits of Ceramides?
So in skincare, we can boost ceramides in the barrier, thus repairing sensitive irritated skin. AND we can improve rosacea + acne. They’re best combined with replacement of free fatty acids and cholesterol, the other 2 constituents in the lipid bilayer. The good news is that they’re an excellent ingredient for all skin types, oily and combination included as they don’t add heaviness to a product, unlike rich emollients.
They can be used day or night and work well alongside other ingredients like Niacinamide which boost the ceramide assembly line within our skin. They’re well-tolerated and will make a meaningful difference to your skin, whatever your skin concerns.