From at-home cyrotherapy
to beauty bars—and from micro-dosing glycolic acid to pre-, pro- and post-biotic
products (yes, there’s some alliteration for you)—the world is abuzz with a whole host of new skincare rituals.
Blame, or thank, the pandemic
for the upsurge in interest: WFH and lockdowns—to say nothing of all that fun over on TikTok and YouTube—has led to more and more people dedicating a significant part of their days to elaborate skincare routines.
Within all of this, one skincare ingredient has been experiencing something of a renaissance: Ceramides.
What are ceramides?
Social media maven Skincarebyhyram’s video on the pluses of this skincare superstar went viral. Zendaya touted ceramides’ capacity to shield the fragile skin under her eyes. Gen Z revived the 15-year-old veteran of the skincare industry, CeraVe
—so much so its products, from ceramide-rich facial cleansers to body lotions, have flown off the shelves. Meanwhile, The Whole Foods Trend Council deemed it a trending ingredient of 2022, and Allied Market Research predicts that ceramides will become a $133.8 million market by 2027.
If that doesn’t make you want to run to the right aisle for a ceramide product—in person or on-line—this just might: Dermatologists across the board confirm that ceramides are central to scoring supple skin.
You may be asking, but what are ceramides? And why do I need them?
Ceramides: The C in your ABCs of Skincare
First things first: Ceramides, much like melatonin
and magnesium, naturally occur in the body.
Comprising 50 percent of your skin’s stratum corneum—or the outermost layer of your skin—they operate as a glue, so to speak, binding your cells together and safeguarding your skin from environmental perils such as pollution and bacteria. Ceramides also encourage cognitive health and help sustain cell function.†
What’s more, your protective tier, which is filled not only with ceramides but also cholesterol, proteins, fatty acids and other lipids, urges plump, radiant skin while preventing trans epidermal water loss—dehydration of the skin that can lead to dryness, and with time, fine lines and wrinkles.
And yet (and alas), ceramide production, similar to collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and subcutaneous support, declines with age. Indeed, a whopping 40 percent of your ceramides are exhausted by the age 30. 60 percent of them are depleted by the time you reach 40. In turn, you may experience a variety of issues, from slack skin to perennial parchedness— thereby keeping you from the youthful complexion you desire.
How do I know if I need ceramides in my skincare?
When the top layer of your skin has been compromised, you’ll most likely notice it. Symptoms include:
- Persistent Acne
- Atopic Dermatitis
Further, certain conditions and events can render your skin susceptible to ceramide loss. Seasonal changes, particularly winter and its often-harsh conditions, sun damage, exfoliating excessively, over washing and using skincare products containing abrasive ingredients can all contribute to a ceramide deficiency.
How can I get more ceramides, then?
Given that your skin is your body’s largest organ, you ought to nurture it with utmost care. To this end, lifestyle changes—from quitting smoking (which changes your cellular structure, leads to premature wrinkles and accelerates aging) to prioritizing sleep, hydration and exercise—are imperative. In addition, consider introducing these skin-savvy tactics to your regimen:
1. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen
As noted above, photoaging—or sun damage—can reduce the amount of ceramides in your skin and may not only hasten the signs of aging but also lead to skin cancer. John Hopkins is just one reputable source to suggest, if not insist, on using an SPF of 30 or higher on a daily—yes, daily—basis.
2. Pay attention to what’s on your plate
Ceramides don’t just exist in your body and skincare products. In fact, several nourishing foods can aid your skin in manufacturing more ceramides. Sweet potatoes, eggs, spinach, beet root and brown rice are all terrific options, while studies demonstrate that wheat germ
helps skin retain moisture. Foods plentiful in healthy fats—such as avocados, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds—are also absolute powerhouses in terms of not only health itself but also in obtaining pliable, luminous skin.
3. Save your thirsty skin with supplements†
While more research needs to be done on the efficacy of ceramide supplements, several organically foster healthy ceramide levels. Life Extension’s Skin Restoring Ceramides
, for one, revitalizes skin from within with its gluten-free, non-GMO combo of Ceratiq wheat and phytoceramides (that is, ceramides derived from plants). Youtheory Skin
capsules, meanwhile, pack a one-two punch with their deft blend of two of skin’s most important constituents: Collagen and ceramides. These pills also naturally support hydration and help keep skin firm but soft. Classic vitamins and supplements, such as vitamins D, C and E, omega-3s and biotin, also assist in skin replenishment.†
4. Toss those chemical-laden skincare products
Detailed skincare regimes aren’t just the only things that are on-trend: Socially conscious packaging and products devoid of severe ingredients also top the list. Alcohol, fragrances, phthalates, formaldehyde—all can offset the synthesis of ceramides, strip your skin of its natural moisture, and result in a dry, lackluster complexion. With this in mind, conduct an investigation on the skincare you own and/or regularly purchase, and ditch anything that features these or other deleterious components.
5. Choose ceramide-rich products
Products brimming with ceramides
can do wonders for your skin (and, thus, confidence), from smoothing and soothing to diminishing the signs of aging. While your body naturally makes nine ceramides, which
ceramide stars in your skincare product isn’t critical—ultimately, they more or less do the same thing. Also great? Nearly everyone is a candidate for ceramide-heavy cleansers, moisturizers and serums, as there are no known side effects. Additionally, they work brilliantly with other ingredients. Here are a few of the most promising and valuable brimming-with-ceramides products:
This nourishing cream
is pure, organic beauty at its finest. Boasting 70 natural ingredients, including liposome-protected nutraceuticals, hyaluronic acid and, yes, ceramides, it supports skin structure and renewal.
The thin, delicate skin underneath your eyes is one of the most noticeable—and, let’s face it, disconcerting—places to reveal the effects of aging and dehydration. Mad Hippie’s Eye Cream
endeavors to defy this fact of life with its beneficial mix of pomegranate, peptides, white tea, and ceramides, which work together to bolster’s your body’s natural ability to heal and shield.
This timeless brand isn’t just for the Gen Z set. Economical? Check. Gentle? Check. Fragrance free? Check. Effective? Oh yes. Comprised of three essential ceramides, as well as niacinamide (a type of B vitamin that promotes cell health) and hyaluronic acid, CeraVe’s Facial Moisturizing Lotion
helps repair, strengthen, and smooth your skin, all the while providing broad spectrum 30 SPF protection.
Don’t use a serum? Consider changing your tune: Serums can be a boon for your skin, targeting problematic areas and, when applied in the morning (typically after cleansing and a toner, and before a moisturizer), help defend your skin against pro-aging free radicals. This luscious serum
does just that; it also actively works to combat wrinkles. Blending Orange Plant Stem Cells with Vitamin A (or retinol) and Ceramide 3, it has been shown to reduce fine lines by 42 percent in as little as four weeks.
This has become one of my go-tos whenever I feel my skin becoming tight, itchy, or dry, whether it’s due to unsound sleep or too much time outside. Filled with flower extracts that have historically been sage for the skin, including chamomile and calendula, this lotion
features not only ceramides and that aforementioned niacinamide but also polyglutamic acid, a humectant that supports moisture-retention and reinforces that stratum corneum’s protective barrier. The result? Silky, dewy skin, which, besides a smile, is, in the end, your greatest accessory.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.