Why Your Skin Needs Ceramides In Its Life
When it comes to skincare heroes, ceramides have to be up there with the very best. Here’s why…
It goes without saying that skincare ingredients are everything to us. From the classic stalwarts like retinol and vitamin C to some of the most exciting discoveries in decades (bakuchiol for the win!), they make up the absolute foundation of every one of our TruSkin formulations.
The truth is, ingredients can make or break a skincare product. Apply a moisturizer that’s packed with synthetic fragrance, for example, and it could cause your skin to feel even more dry than it did beforehand. Similarly, if you wash your face with a super-strong formulation that’s packed to the brim with kick-ass sulfates, your skin could end up feeling dehydrated, irritated or inflamed. Not cool.
Now, we know you’re well versed in some of the best ingredients out there, but what do you know about ceramides? They might be less hyped than retinol and less glamorous than hyaluronic acid, but ceramides are an integral part of any healthy skincare regime, helping to improve the quality of your complexion – no matter your skin type. In fact ceramides are pretty much all pros, zero cons.
Read on for the lowdown on these unassuming but very important skincare powerhouses.
What Are Ceramides?
Contrary to popular belief, ceramides are not just fancy-sounding ingredients that you hear about in skincare commercials. In fact, they’re important lipids found naturally in your skin’s structure. And they’re not just there to make up the numbers either. They take up somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of your skin’s composition. That’s kind of a big deal.
Your skin contains many different types of ceramide and each one plays a major role in the efficiency of your barrier function. Not only do they bind the cells together – kind of like the mortar to your skin’s brick wall – but they maintain strength and stability to its whole structure. They also help prevent water loss and protect your skin from environmental pollution, offering vital support to your skin’s entire functionality. As we said, big deal.
In a perfect world, your level and quality of ceramides would remain at their optimum best for your entire life. Ha, if only. Unfortunately the aging process, as well as things like stress and environmental damage, completely screw with your skin’s ceramides, causing them to progressively drop after you hit your mid-20s. Just like your collagen! This compromises the integrity of your important barrier function (bad news) and can result in all manner of issues including dryness, redness, irritation, rough skin and dehydration (more bad news).
The Benefits Of Ceramides In Skincare
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom because ceramides can also be found in your skincare products – synthetically produced to mimic the natural stuff that works hard within your skin’s structure. Even better, topical ceramides are extremely well tolerated by all skin types (dry, oily, sensitive, the works) and they offer some extremely important benefits as your skin matures…
1. Ceramides Boost Moisture In Your Skin
The main job of ceramides is to lock moisture into your skin by sealing and preserving your skin’s barrier function – its natural protective, top layer. By keeping this barrier function in shape, ceramides work hard to reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL) which is all the moisture that evaporates from your skin’s surface on a daily basis. Research shows that the average amount of water lost is around 300-400 ml per day but if your barrier function starts to fail then this can increase like nobody’s business. And that’s when dehydration and dryness can kick in.
Upping the number of ceramides through your skincare routine helps replace those lost by aging and environmental issues like sun damage. And this, in turn, helps keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.
2. Ceramides Help Strengthen Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is thanks, in part, to a weakened barrier function that's failing at its job of keeping moisture in and irritants out. Your barrier function is the uppermost layer of your skin, AKA the stratum corneum, and its integrity is vital when it comes to how your skin reacts to external stressors like harsh skincare products, sunlight, pollution and so on. It makes sense, therefore, that anything you can do to fortify this barrier function is going to help manage sensitivities and improve irritation.
Various studies show that many people who suffer with chronic skin conditions like eczema have fewer ceramides in their skin, yet they show a marked improvement when topical ceramides are added to their skincare routine. This drives us to put ceramides up there at the very top of the list of must-haves for sensitive skin types.
3. Ceramides Are Great For Aging Skin
Dry and/or dehydrated skin highlight any fine lines and wrinkles you may have much more than normal or oily skin. It makes sense, therefore, that in order to keep those tell-tale signs of aging on a back burner you need to keep your skin well hydrated and moisturized. Moisturized skin = plumper, firmer, smoother skin. It’s simple science.
By fortifying your barrier function ceramides also hit aging from another angle. How so? Well, all that extra protection helps to minimize free radical damage which often results from things like smoking, UV radiation and a poor diet. As you know, free radicals are the main cause of external skin aging, killing your skin’s collagen and elastin supplies. Seriously, they're not something your skin wants to have to deal with. However, the stronger your barrier function, the better protected your skin will be as a result. And that, coupled with topical antioxidants and daily sunscreen is the key to gorgeous, healthy-looking skin.
How To Include Ceramides In Your Skincare Routine
Ceramides can be formulated into all sorts of skincare products, from eye treatments and cleansers to lotions and night creams. The fact that they’re super gentle on your skin and work well with other active ingredients also gives them major kudos.
We believe the most effective way to incorporate ceramides into your skincare routine is through leave-on products like facial serums and moisturizers. That’s why we’ve packed three essential ceramides (NP, AP and EOP in case it comes up at your next trivia night!) into our NEW Firming Collagen Day Lotion and Smoothing Collagen Serum. The ideal combination for protecting, repairing and hydrating your skin, this duo helps encourage healthy aging by not only caring for your vital collagen and elastin supplies but by boosting ceramides at a surface level.
That’s what we call a win-win situation right there.