Ceramides: What Are They And How Do They Help Skin?

Ceramides: What Are They And How Do They Help Skin?

Making up over 50% of our skin’s composition, ceramides are fat cells that form a protective barrier, keeping our skin plump and feeling hydrated. Essentially, they are the secret to keeping your complexion healthy and youthful. Not heard of them? Here’s everything you need to know, from how they work to why you need to boost your ceramide levels as you get older.

Dubbed ‘the fountain of youth, what are ceramides?

Essentially, they’re good old-fashioned fat. Think of them as a sealant or barrier – they work to squeeze the skin cells together to prevent hydration leaking out, but they also stop anything getting in. Creating a protective layer, ceramides keep infections, free radicals and even acne at bay – explaining their power to ensure your complexion looks and feels fresh. The best bit? Your skin naturally creates them, but everyone has varying levels.

How to tell if your skin lacks ceramides?

Luckily, it’s easy to tell because your skin shows when the barrier becomes compromised. Experts have proven people with dry skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and even severe acne have much lower levels of ceramides compared to those who don’t suffer. You’ll also notice increased skin sensitivity and tightness if your levels are running low.

Aside from being a protective barrier, how else do they benefit my skin?

They increase your fatty defences which keeps skin supple and smooth (as well as plumping fine lines), and protects you from damaging pollution and dry air. Their aim is to retain as much hydration as possible and prevent TEWL (transepidermal water loss), which affects us all as our skin ages.

Does our natural production of ceramides deplete?

Sadly yes. Similarly to collagen, statistic shows after the age of 20, the body produces fewer ceramides with a loss of one per cent each year. This is partly down to age, but there are other contributing factors such as seasonal changes – hot summers, cold, dry winters – UV rays and central heating. Your ceramides can also be disrupted by overusing soaps or exfoliations which can throw the skin’s pH balance off, so be careful not to over strip your skin of its natural oils.

Is there anything you can do to prevent levels dipping fast?

The good news is yes. There’s now a host of skincare designed to boost your ceramide levels as well as rehydrate thirsty complexions. In fact, several brands now use it as their primary ingredient to provide instant relief to those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis.

We’ve picked a few of our favourites below…


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