Like fads that come and go and classics that stay, skincare trends can look similar. In history, skincare was all about the entire product’s overall benefits. But, these days, the audience is shifting focus toward ingredient marketing. Now, what’s that?
It means that instead of looking at a brand or product as a whole, we tend to focus on the ingredients they’re putting into their goodies. There was vitamin C that became really popular. And, then came salicylic acid as the new acne saviour.
Well, these days, the buzz is loud about ceramides. This popular ingredient is fast shooting up the fame ladder as yet another miracle skin transformer. Curious? Let’s take a look into ceramides.
What are ceramides?
Ceramides are fats or lipids present in skin cells that constitute approximately 30 to 40% of the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. They're crucial for keeping your skin moisturised and preventing microbes from entering your body.
Ceramides are similar to the mortar that holds a stack of bricks together. Without them, your skin cells would not be as efficient in protecting you. They are obtained naturally from our skin, but they may also be synthesised and used in skincare products to replace what has been lost.
What do they do?
Ceramides keep the skin together by generating a protective barrier that prevents moisture loss, and, protects the skin from visible damage caused by pollution and other environmental irritants. They're also one of the greatest components for boosting the skin's natural dynamism.
What are the different types of ceramides?
Basically, there are two types of ceramides:
- Natural - These ceramides may be found in your skin's outer layers, as well as in plants like soy and animals like cows.
- Synthetic - Synthetic ceramides are more widely utilised in skincare products than natural ceramides because they are free of impurities and more stable than their natural counterparts.
Wait. If your skin has them, why do you need more?
Ceramides are essential for preserving and increasing the health of your skin. By functioning as a barrier on the top layer, they preserve the skin's immunity and protect it from any injury. They maintain skin elasticity to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and any uncomfortable skin tightness caused by loss of moisture.
Ceramides also defend your skin from allergens and irritants by fighting them on the surface. They help to alleviate the problems associated with very dry skin by rebuilding the skin's barrier, retaining moisture, and keeping the skin supple.
The efficiency of your skin's natural ceramides is reduced with age and sun damage, and they can eventually be depleted, weakening your skin's barrier. Drier, rougher skin with redness, irritation, wrinkles, and apparent evidence of dryness are the end effects of this. As a result, you need to use external products that contain ceramides to give your skin an extra boost.
What are the benefits for your skin?
There are many benefits of ceramides for your skin:
- Repairs your skin’s barrier - A lack of ceramides, whether caused by over-exfoliating, ageing, abuse of harsh soaps that peel the skin, or anything else, compromises the stratum corneum (the skin's protective barrier), allowing germs to penetrate via microscopic fissures and irritate the skin. The barrier will remain healthy and functional if those ceramides are replenished.
- Improves your skin’s hydration level - Ceramides make up about half of the gel-like lipid layer that keeps skin cells in place, so it's no surprise that they can hold water. They provide a barrier between your skin and the outside world, preventing moisture from escaping.
- Makes your skin smooth and soft - Dry, flaking patches on the skin and fine lines from dehydration are all signs of a weakened skin barrier. Replacing lost lipids in the skin may enhance moisture and the overall appearance and feel of the skin.
- Helps with acne and other inflammatory conditions - When the skin's barrier fails, the skin becomes dry, which can contribute to inflammatory skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Ceramides aid in skin health by lowering inflammation and irritation, and their moisture-balancing properties may also help with acne relief by regulating oil and sebum production.
- Protects your skin from premature ageing - Skin thinning and ageing are caused not only by the loss or breakdown of collagen and elastin but also by the skin barrier, which protects and maintains the remainder of the skin. Ceramides make up at least half of the skin barrier and guard the skin against the environment on a regular basis, preventing premature ageing.
How should you incorporate ceramides into your skincare routine?
Ceramides are found naturally in your skin but their levels decline over time, causing your skin to become dry. Ceramide toners, serums, and moisturisers can hydrate and improve your skin's health. These products help your skin produce more ceramide naturally.
Ceramides seal in moisture and keep it from evaporating, leaving your skin smooth, silky, and healthy. They may work best as a moisturiser when used just after a shower to seal in additional hydration.
Ceramides should be used twice daily, however, the sort of skincare product you choose is entirely up to you. Cleansers should be used first, followed by the application of toners and then serums, and moisturiser should be applied last at night or immediately before sunscreen during the day.
Are there any side effects you should be worried about?
Ceramides have no known negative consequences, but a patch test is always recommended when trying out new ingredients. Testing a tiny quantity on your skin first can help you avoid allergic reactions and product sensitivities.