Ceramides occur naturally within the body and are one of nine lipids that are present in the epidermis of the skin, the uppermost layers of the skin. Lipids are a group of substances which naturally occur in your skin that sometimes become deficient and need to be replaced.
Ceramides are actually part of a subgroup of lipids called sphingolipids. Ceramides act similarly to mortar between bricks, they help to seal in moisture in the uppermost layers of the skin. This is incredibly important to the health of the skin as they are part of the complex of substances in the skin’s natural barrier. The skin's natural barrier includes a number of oils, amino acids, fatty acids and cholesterol. This barrier helps to protect the skin from damage, inflammation, bacteria, and allergens as well as reducing water loss from the skin called trans-epidermal water loss. Trans-epidermal water loss or TEWL refers to the process where water is lost to the air from the skin. Although it most often occurs in dry and aging skin types, it is also manifested in damaged or compromised skin.
While ceramides are known for their role in skin health, they have gained a lot of interest in brain and nervous system health and development as well. As a part of the skin’s natural barrier, ceramides help to prevent the epidermis (top layer of the skin), from losing water. When people experience dry skin, it is often because of a loss of ceramides in the skin, which can also cause itching, flaking, peeling, and scaling.
Using ceramides skincare products may help replace lipids that have been lost due to chronic dryness, environmental factors, aging, and inflammatory damage caused by certain skin conditions.
Who Should Use Ceramides?
Most skin types can benefit from the use of ceramides, however dry skin, damaged skin or aging skin may benefit most.
Studies indicate by your 30's you are likely to have lost 40% of your skin’s naturally occurring ceramides. You lose 60% of your ceramides by age 40, and the loss continues even more as you age. This is part of the reason why many experience a shift in the dryness of their skin around these ages. A reduction in the number of naturally-produced ceramides can reduce the ability of the skin to hold water and maintain healthy functioning.
Damaged or Compromised
One of the other main reasons you may find yourself in need of a little extra help from ceramides is that your skin may be damaged or compromised. Damaged or compromised skin generally refers to damage of the skin’s natural barrier. This can occur through overexfoliating, overuse of active ingredients, sensitivities or skin conditions such as eczema. and rosacea. The damage to the skin’s natural barrier can make the skin extra sensitive and dry. If the barrier continues to be compromised, serious problems can occur.
Dry skin - Lacking Oil
Dry skin can come in many forms and have many different causes. You can have dry skin that is prone to acne, or dry skin that is worsened due to aging. Ceramides may help to support dry skin and prevent further water loss and damage.
What Do Ceramides Do For The Skin?
Many studies have shown that people who suffer from eczema, which causes redness, peeling, and flaking of the skin, and those who suffer from psoriasis, which presents with dry, itchy, thick scales on the skin, have a significant reduction of ceramides in their skin.
Restores the Skin’s Natural Barrier
A reduction in the naturally-produced number of ceramides may impact the functioning of the skin’s natural barrier and its ability to protect the skin and keep the skin hydrated. Using ceramide products may help to support the health of the skin’s natural barrier, improving moisture, resilience and preventing flakiness.
Ceramides help to support the health of the skin's barrier. When the skin has a healthy skin barrier is healthy and intact, it helps to keep the skin hydrated and prevent water loss. It looks and feels smooth and is more supple, and has visibly less fine lines. Water loss or transepidermal water loss is the main cause of dehydration in the skin. Dehydrated skin looks sallow, absorbs light, looks lacklustre, has more fine lines, and feels tight and dehydrated. Ceramides are made up of long-chain fatty acids that link with other important molecules to promote cellular function.
While harsh active ingredients like acids or retinoids can cause damage to the skin’s natural barrier when overused, ceramides may help the skin to tolerate active ingredients better. By supporting the skin's natural barrier, ceramides may help to reduce the sensitivity or irritation that may be caused by the use of active ingredients.
Ceramides may help to reduce the visible signs of aging on the skin. They may help to reduce water loss, reduce dryness and protect the skin from damage.
Inflammation is often associated with skin conditions that are linked with transepidermal water loss. Conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis and rosacea can increase the inflammatory reaction in the skin. Studies have suggested that reducing dehydration in the skin and supporting the skin’s natural barrier, may help to soothe angry or irritated skin.
How To Increase Ceramides In The Skin?
The best way to increase the levels of ceramides in the skin is to apply them topically by using a ceramide-based serum or product. However, it may also be beneficial to increase your intake of healthy fats in your diet. Studies have suggested that the quality of the oils that your skin produces is often dependent on your diet. Skin needs a healthy ratio of cholesterol: ceramides: fatty acids & lipids to maintain optimal barrier health. Occasional saturated fat from organic beef and chicken help improve the skin. Along with healthy plant oils such as olive and avocado.
Along with topical Ceramide serum, Skinplicity carries a variety of skin-restoring supplements and oral ceramide supplements.
Are Ceramides Comedogenic?
Ceramides are non-comedogenic ingredients, so they won’t clog your pores.
Are Ceramides Good For Sensitive Skin?
Ceramides are considered to be great for sensitive skin types as they help to support the skin’s natural barrier. A healthy natural barrier may help to reduce the symptoms of sensitivity such as irritation, stinging and tightness.
Are Ceramides Good For Acne?
Ceramides can be a good option for acne-prone skin, especially if you are using harsh substances such as acids, retinols, or benzoyl peroxide. Ceramides may help to soothe irritated skin and help reduce the inflammation, redness, and stinging while it supports the skin’s natural healing process. However, it is always best to speak with your esthetician to determine which ceramides may help to support the treatment of your acne.
Are Ceramides Natural?
Ceramides are naturally occurring in the skin and are a normal part of the skin’s healthy functioning. Most ceramides are synthetically produced for use in skincare. This allows for the skin to replenish or top up on the ceramides it naturally produces.
Ceramides are vegan ingredients produced without the use of animal or animal byproduct ingredients. Skinplicity ceramide products have no animal byproducts in them, and are not tested on animals.
Are Ceramides Safe?
Ceramides are considered to be safe for use. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for the independent review of skincare and cosmetic ingredients has reviewed their safety. The Expert Panel determined that they are safe for their current uses and in their currently used concentrations.
Are Ceramides Safe During Pregnancy?
Ceramides are generally considered to be safe to use during pregnancy. However, it is always best to consult with your doctor to determine if they are best for your situation.
What Should You Consider When Choosing A Ceramide-based Product?
There are several things to consider when choosing which ceramide product. The best way to choose a product like this is to work closely with your esthetician. They will be able to ensure your skin concerns are evaluated and a treatment product or products is implemented that best suits your needs. Don't buy OTC products that contain drying or irritating ingredients such as alcohols or acids or strong active ingredients. They're counter-productive.
What Are The Different Ceramides?
There are a number of different ceramides and they all have different names. Here is a breakdown of the different types of ceramides:
Ceramide types - The Science-y Stuff
There are 9 different types of ceramides that are produced by the skin. The type and structure of the different ceramides determine their function. On your skincare product ingredient list you’ll find ceramides listed as ceramide AP, ceramide EOP, ceramide NG, ceramide NP, ceramide NS, phytosphingosine and sphingosine.
Ceramide 1 was the first ceramide to be discovered back in 1982. It has a unique structure in that it is composed of a sphingosine base and linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid with significant roles in the epidermal lipid barrier.
Ceramide 1 accounts for approximately 6.5% of the total ceramide pool in the stratum corneum. Ceramide 1 may also be referred to as Ceramide EOS on a product’s ingredient label. The “E” indicates that the structure of this ceramide is an Ester linked fatty acid. The “O” stands for the type of amide-linked fatty acid, which in this case is Omega hydroxy fatty acid. The “S” indicates that this ceramide has a Sphingosine base.
Ceramide 1 is thought to play a binding role in the lipid layers of the stratum corneum. Its unique structure enables it to function as a molecular rivet, binding the multiple bilayers of the top layers of the skin.
Furthermore, Ceramides 1, 4, and 7 play a vital role in the integrity of the epidermis by serving as the primary storage areas for linoleic acid.
Ceramide 1 and Ceramide 3 work synergistically to improve the skin barrier function, which helps to keep harmful environmental irritants out and also prevents skin dehydration. Ceramide 1 can be found in skin care products that are intended to moisturize and replenish skin.
Ceramide 3 is composed of a phytosphingosine base and stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid. It accounts for approximately 22.1% of the total ceramide pool in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin).
Ceramide 3 may also be referred to as Ceramide NP, or N-stearoyl phytosphingosine.
Ceramide 3 and ceramide 1 work synergistically to improve the skin barrier function, which helps to keep harmful environmental irritants out and also prevents skin dehydration.
Ceramide AP, also known as α-hydroxy-N-stearoylphytosphingosine, accounts for approximately 8.8% of the total ceramide pool in the stratum corneum.
Ceramide AP may also be referred to as ceramide 6 on a product’s ingredient label, which is based on the original INCI nomenclature.
Ceramide EOP is a type of ceramide that is naturally found in the skin, accounting for approximately 1.1% of the total ceramide pool in the stratum corneum.
The “EOP” in the ingredient name is based on the structure of this ceramide. The “E” indicates that there is an Ester linked fatty acid. The “O” stands for the type of amide-linked fatty acid, which in this case is Omega hydroxy fatty acid. The “P” refers to the Phytosphingosine base.
Ceramide EOP may also be referred to as ceramide 9 on a product’s ingredient label, which is based on the original INCI nomenclature.
Ceramide 6-II is a type of ceramide that is naturally found in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin). It accounts for approximately 8.8% of the total ceramide pool in the stratum corneum.
Ceramide 6-II may also be referred to as Ceramide AP on a product’s ingredient label, which represents the new INCI nomenclature for this ingredient.
The “A” stands for Alpha-hydroxy fatty acid and the “P” refers to the Phytosphingosine base.
Ceramides are EXCELLENT to add to your homecare protocol.
Try Skinplicity's C-C-C Serum.
C-C-C Serum contains:
- Ceramides (4 types) to protect, heal and nourish.
- CBD (broad-spectrum) to heal and reduce inflammation.
- (Vitamin) C to scavenge free radicals, promote the growth of collagen/elastin/filaggrin, and brighten dark spots.
Only 2-3 drops of this organic oil-based and a few drops of water are needed! Great as a nighttime treatment.