What Are Ceramides and How Do They Work?

What Are Ceramides and How Do They Work?

Ceramides, you may have heard the word floating around and have a vague understanding that they are a powerful anti-ageing ingredient. If you don’t however, you’ve come to the right place as we are going to clear a few things up about ceramides and what they actually do for the skin.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides make up about 50% of the skin’s epidermis making them a highly important molecule to the overall appearance of your complexion. They are a class of fatty acids naturally found on the skin, also known as lipids which enable the skin to retain water, keep its appearance firm and plumped whilst keeping the protective barrier fully functioning. In other words, ceramides are vital for keeping you looking youthful and protected from environmental aggressors. The levels of these ceramides found the skin begin to deplete and production significantly drops over the age of 30+ which is why the skincare industry has developed a great fondness of these skin-replenishing powerhouses and you will undoubtedly find ceramides to be hiding in the formulas of your favourite skincare products.

What do ceramides do for the skin?

Ceramides are like the glue, keeping everything connected and able to work properly. By holding the healthy skin cells together the protective barrier remains intact and able to withstand any stresses the skin encounters every single day. From pollution, UV rays and harsh elements, all of which cause damage to the skin allowing free radicals to set up camp on the face creating an assortment of concerns like ageing, with fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin texture, pigmentation and blemishes.

Fast facts about the benefits of using ceramides in your skincare routine:

  • Your skin naturally produces ceramides which deplete as we age or encounter sun damage.
  • Ceramides keep the skin looking young, feeling firm and keep the skin’s protective barrier functioning properly.
  • Ceramide enriched skincare products that are applied topically can help keep the levels of ceramides in the skin high.
  • Pollution, UV rays, weather elements, central heating etc are all environmental aggressors that can cause damage to the skin’s protective barrier

Natural or synthetic, the skin just adores ceramides and will reap the benefits of having them consistently present in your daily routine, be it topically applied in a nourishing moisturiser, or in a diet rich with soybeans, eggs, wheat germ, brown rice and supplements. Just be sure you have a good understanding of oral ceramide supplements to prevent any interference with your cholesterol. Always consult your GP before taking any new supplements.

Do ceramides skin care products really work?

You may be questioning the ability of ceramide skincare products and whether or not they actually work. Seeing as ceramides are naturally produced in the skin you may feel using skincare containing them could potentially be a waste of time, effort and money. What you have to remember is that whilst we age, our skin’s natural levels of ceramides deplete replacing a healthy, plumped complexion that is full of bounce with one that is dry, dull and showing various signs of ageing. This is when ceramide enriched skincare products step in to help keep the glue holding on to skin cells and skin barrier working.

How do you use ceramides?

Applying ceramide products will not only keep the levels up giving you vibrant, glowing skin, you may also like to know that certain types of ceramides formulated into skincare encourage the natural production of your ceramides. So, you will definitely want to add them to your routine and pretty quickly. Though it may be tempting to slather your skin with ceramides throughout every step of your regime, it is best to opt for serums and moisturisers due to the fact you leave them on for a longer amount of time compared to cleansers allowing the ingredients to absorb into the skin. Apply these serums and moisturisers in the morning and evening to get the ceramides busily working away, you can even apply them on your hair, lips and body too.

Are there any side effects to using ceramides?

Seeing as ceramides naturally occur in the skin it generally means they are safe to use with little to no known side effects. You are also able to introduce them to your routine with other skincare ingredients, such as glycerine, to form a powerhouse duo with skin-replenishing benefits. Other ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs are also fine to use with ceramides, mainly due to the fact each of them works on different layers of the skin so there are no signs of power struggles.

Much like every skincare product that you have not used previously it is always advisable to consult your GP or dermatologist and to perform a patch test for 24 hours beforehand. 

So, now you hopefully have a better understanding of what ceramides are and what they do for the skin. Luckily for us all, they are the perfect ingredient to add into our routines, your skin will thank you tremendously for it, you might even say that you’ve discovered the fountain of youth, and to think, it’s been in your skin this entire time!

I know that at times the beauty industry seems like a terribly confusing place, with constant new ingredients to learn about, must-have products to try or buzz words to understand. The thing to remember is, is that everyone’s skin is different and you may find that your friend’s routine does absolutely nothing for your skin. The best thing to do is to get a better understanding of your skin and the rest will make a lot more sense, if you are wanting to know more, you can check out our blog post all about figuring out what your skin type is and the full guide on the 4 most common skin types.


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