Most of us have a skin condition we’d like to improve: whether it’s damaged, aging or dry skin, we’re often frustrated when our skin health doesn’t improve as well as we’d like when using skin care products. The appearance of our skin is directly related to the lipid molecules known as ceramides. These ubiquitous lipids play a key role in maintaining the structure of your outer layer, the stratum corneum.
The first thing you need to know is how to pronounce them. Some say “cer·uh·mids”, but the correct pronunciation of this word is actually “seh·ruh·midez.”
Ceramides are important for healthy, hydrated skin, acting as a natural moisturizer and forming strong bonds with water molecules, which in turn keeps your outer layer plump and supple, and helps restore a youthful appearance.
When you don’t have enough ceramides in your skin, it leads to dryness and scaling of your outer layer- which can leave your complexion looking dull, flaky, and feeling uncomfortable.
In this blog post we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about these stratum corneum lipids —what they are, what they do for your skin, and what products may be your best choice to minimize the signs of aging, increase hydration, prevent moisture loss, and provide maximum benefit to your skin cells. If you have any questions after reading through then please let us know in the comments below!
What are ceramides?
Ceramides are lipids typically found on the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis. A lipid is a fat molecule that is not soluble in water.
Ceramides are found in the cell membranes of all organisms, including plants and animals.
Ceramides provide a barrier function of the skin, forming a wall of protection between your body and the outside world. This skin barrier helps keep your skin hydrated by holding in moisture and keeping out irritants, bacteria, and other unwanted materials.
Ceramides are made up of two types of fats:
- Fatty acids: These are the building blocks of all fats. There are many different types of fatty acids, but the ones found in ceramides are called sphingolipids.
- Cholesterol: This is a type of lipid that is essential for the structure and function of cell membranes.
Ceramide levels decline as we age, which is one reason why older people have drier skin. This decrease in ceramides can also make skin more susceptible to damage from UV radiation and pollution. They are also believed to play a key role in maintaining water content and structure of your outer layer, the stratum corneum.
They help hydrate your skin by attracting water molecules and creating bonds with them, thus functioning as a natural moisturizer. Ceramides also prevent dryness and scaling, leading to a plump, supple and hydrated appearance of skin.
What do ceramides do for the skin?
Ceramides are essential for healthy, hydrated skin; acting as a natural moisturizer and forming strong bonds with water molecules, keeping your outer layer healthy and soft.
When you don’t have enough, it leads to dryness and scaling of your outer layer which can leave your complexion looking dull, flaky, and uncomfortable.
In addition to their role in the stratum corneum, ceramides also provide protection from outside pathogens via their antimicrobial properties. They’re a key component of the skin’s natural barrier that helps to protect us from infection-causing microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.
How can ceramides be used?
Ceramides can be applied topically or ingested.
You can use them in your skincare routine to help repair dry, damaged skin. This could include the application of a serum that contains ceramides or taking a supplement like Ceramides No-Sulfate Capsules. Clinical studies have shown that oral ceramides improve skin hydration and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Ingestion usually refers to a dose of less than 1 gram per day. However, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements that contain ceramides.
Where can I find ceramides in my diet?
Your body produces ceramides naturally, but they can also be found in some foods and supplements.
The best sources of ceramides are wheat germ, rice bran, soybeans, and eggs.
These lipids can be found in many different foods such as avocados, certain types of nuts and seeds, as well as fish and fish oil supplements.
Just because ceramides may be incredibly healthy doesn’t mean they can’t also be incredibly delicious!
Some popular meals that are naturally high in ceramides are:
Salmon with avocado
Snapper with mango salsa
Halibut with grapefruit salad
Shrimp and scallops with sautéed vegetables
Yogurt or oatmeal with berries and nuts
As mentioned earlier, in addition to eating a healthy diet, many people also find it helpful to supplement with ceramide capsules. Ceramide capsules are available without a prescription and can be found at most health food stores.
How can I keep my ceramide lipid levels up?
It’s clear that ceramides play an important role to protect the skin from dryness and irritation. And though a healthy diet with high levels of ceramides is a great way to supplement your naturally occurring ceramide production, the most impactful thing you can do to keep your ceramide levels up is to use a moisturizer that contains ceramides.
This makes perfect sense, if you think about it.
Since ceramides and skin are so intertwined, it only makes sense to apply topical ceramides directly to the skin layer that the ceramides help.
Read on to find out how to best use creams and moisturizers rich in our favorite epidermal hero, and how to identify the best products on the market to help you regain and maintain healthy skin.
How can I use ceramides skincare products?
As we’ve been discussing, if you’re currently struggling with dry, flaky skin, you might want to consider adding a ceramides cream to your daily routine. Ceramides can help hydrate, restore and protect the skin, making you look more youthful and radiant.
You can apply these products every day or as needed to see results or add them in as part of a skincare regimen.
In addition, some people choose to use ceramides in their hair care routine. Let’s say you have an infrequent dry scalp that only happens when the weather starts to change or after flying in the winter.
You could try applying a ceramide-based product like Head & Shoulders® Dandruff Relief Shampoo and Conditioner before your next shower for a few days and see if it helps clear up any flakes!
Additionally, if you are one of the tens of millions of people who suffer from eczema, you can kill two birds with one dermalogical stone.
A product like Dermeleve® is not only the best anti-itch cream on the market with a single application boasting near instant efficacy (five minutes!) and lasting long enough to get you through a marathon binge watch of Tiger King season 1, but it also happens to be an amazing moisturizer with ceramides!
With Dermeleve®, you can minimize the irritation caused by itchy skin while also minimizing the risk of developing fine lines and wrinkles, water loss and help prevent the breakdown of elastin.
As we’ve seen, healthy skin needs ceramides. Luckily, there are no shortages of ways to supplement the amount that are naturally found in skin cells.
From a wide variety of food containing ingredients naturally made up of ceramides, to using ceramide moisturizers to boost the epidermal barrier on your outermost layer of skin, there are more than a few different options for you, depending on your needs and budget.
For those who prefer not to use any external products, there are ways you can get these benefits naturally by taking actions such as drinking adequate amounts of water, sleeping well, eating foods high in lipids like avocados, olive oil, and eggs, and avoiding sun exposure too much (which leads to dryness).
For those with any kind of itchy skin that needs soothing, such as atopic dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis, it’s exciting to know that there’s a solution like Dermeleve® that provides instant, long lasting itch relief, while also topping up your ceramide content!
All-in-all, there are plenty of options for every type of skin type when it comes to body care!
Visit Dermeleve’s® site to learn more about skin health.