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Why Include Ceramides In Your Natural Skincare Routine?

June 12, 2023

Why Include Ceramides In Your Natural Skincare Routine?

If you’ve done any shopping for skincare products in the last decade or so, you’ve probably come across products that contain ceramides. In fact, if a product does contain ceramides, it’s probably a front-and-center selling point on the label—so you’ll certainly see it even if you don’t flip the packaging around to read the fine print. 

Many skincare products highlight ceramides in their formulas because ceramides are powerhouses of nourishing health and moisturization. Let’s discuss the role of ceramides in skin care, so you’ll understand what you’re buying next time you need a new moisturizing, anti-aging cream or foundation that will keep you looking your best. And, in case you’re in the market right now, we’ll also highlight a couple of our favorite natural skincare products with ceramides that you can order right away. 

What are the benefits of ceramides?

Ceramides are lipids—also known as fatty acids—naturally found in your skin cells. Ceramides constitute up to 40 percent of the outer layer of your skin, also known as your epidermis. If you look at just the outer layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum, nearly half of it is composed of ceramides. 

Your body’s natural ceramides help your skin retain moisture, which is important. Moist skin is more durable and is able to more easily repair itself, keep germs from penetrating, and resist infection than dry skin. Ceramides shore up your skin’s defenses and ensure that this valuable barrier stays strong against intruders, including toxins, pollution, and other harmful byproducts of living in the modern world. 

Some research has shown that ceramides may prevent damage and enhance skin repair from UV exposure. Early studies primarily focus on ceramide-containing sunscreens—meaning there is a lack of research on using only ceramides, without added sun-blocking agents, for preventing damage—but results were nonetheless promising. Researchers found that  after UV exposure, skin treated with ceramides and sunscreen had better hydration, less hyperpigmentation, and healthier cells than untreated skin. 

Cell damage and death from UV exposure is considered to be a leading cause of skin cancer. Although long-term research has not yet been completed, there seems to be a strong possibility ceramides and sunblock might be able to prevent sun-damage issues. 

In addition to keeping your skin healthy, ceramides also keep you beautiful. After all, well-hydrated skin looks plump and resilient, whereas dehydrated skin is prone to sagging, wrinkling, and irritation. This is why ceramides are often found in anti-aging creams and intense moisturizers. 

Consistently using a moisturizing product with ceramides tends to make your skin look less wrinkled. That’s because dry, irritated skin shows wrinkles much more readily than hydrated, supple skin. By restoring your skin’s moisture with ceramides, you may be able to take a few years off of your face. 

When used long term, ceramides may also help your skin produce more collagen and keratin. Since these are also naturally-occurring compounds your skin uses to heal and stay youthful, boosting all three may enhance your results even more than focusing on just one. 

Additionally, because they improve the skin’s barrier function and can help to repel germs and infections, ceramides are a great option for acne-prone skin. Acne is a series of tiny infections. If you suffer from acne because you use skincare products with pore-blocking ingredients, touch your face frequently, live in a place with air pollution or other external factors, ceramides may boost your skin’s barrier and keep germs away. 

So, if you’ve ever walked down the sidewalk along a busy street, played in the sunshine for too long, or touched your face with dirty, germ-covered hands, you can thank your skin’s natural ceramides for keeping you healthy and resilient with minimal harm. Interestingly, ceramides may also help cells function optimally and perhaps aid in brain development, so their benefits might go far beyond what we understand today. 

How do you know if a product contains ceramides?

If the product doesn’t explicitly mention ceramides as a selling point, you can check the ingredient list instead. Look for ingredients such as sphingosine, phytosphingosine, or ceramide X, where X is a number from one to twelve. 

The ceramides you’ll find in most skincare products are not the naturally occurring ones in your own skin. Natural ceramides are not shelf-stable for long periods of time, and they may contain contaminants, depending on the source. Most commercial skin care product manufacturers use synthetic ceramides in their formulas. 

Why are ceramides important for your skin care routine?

Through the aging process or by exposure to toxins, low humidity, cold weather, and stress, your body’s natural supply of ceramides depletes. This is one of the reasons aged skin loses its resilience and ability to heal and rebound from trauma. Depleted skin can’t repel irritants and fight off infections as well, so you might find that you have rashes and other skin conditions you’ve never had before. 

You can’t stop the aging process, but you can mitigate some of your skin damage by replacing crucial ceramides that have been lost. Replenishing your skin’s ceramides—even with the synthetic forms found in commercial skincare products—may help ward off environmental toxins, avoid irritation and dryness, prevent skin allergies, and reduce the likelihood of developing conditions such as eczema and ichthyosis. 

What are the best natural skincare products that contain ceramides?

Dermatology research shows that choosing a product that can penetrate the skin deeply will help the ceramides reach the cells where they’re needed most. That means you should ideally look for a ceramide-containing product that also has antioxidant properties or one that has ingredients that help with skin penetration. 

A good example is our Radical Creme antioxidant formula. It’s full of ceramides and antioxidants that enter your skin deeply, moisturizing your cells from the inside out. As a skin-boosting bonus, this creme also includes peptides—which are such amazing skincare ingredients, we felt the need to explore their benefits in depth here!

Our Mineral Cream-to-Powder Foundation is also an excellent choice. It offers full coverage that lasts all day, meaning those valuable ceramides are locked in for the long haul. You’ll get the immediate wrinkle-reducing benefits of moisturization, the smooth coverage you want for blemishes and discolorations, and the lasting, healing benefits of ceramides and peptides all in one product. 

Can you use ceramides in other forms?

In the same way that your body produces ceramides naturally, animals and certain plants, such as sweet potatoes, also contain ceramides. Plant-derived ceramides are similar, though not chemically identical, to the ceramides in your skin. 

Some people also take ceramide supplements to increase their intake beyond what they’d get from foods and skincare products. We aren’t authorities on the safety or efficacy of ceramide supplements, but they are an option you should discuss with your medical care provider if you think boosting your ceramides would be beneficial. 

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