Ceramides, Explained: Why Your Skin Needs Ceramides (Especially as You Age)

16 Jun.,2022

Secure your skin's barrier to keep moisture in and everything else out.

 

Konjac Ceramide

You have probably head of ceramides if you have a baseline awareness of skin care ingredients—or if you've ever read the ingredients list of a good moisturizing product while bored in the shower. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you know what ceramides do—beyond the fact that they do something good for your skin. Maybe they make it firmer? Brighter? Smoother?

It's really all three. In the simplest sense, ceramides help the skin’s outermost layer stay strong. They fortify its defenses so that you can enjoy things like a more buoyant, firm, smooth, bright, clear complexion. And on a certain level that's all you need to know. 

But to go a little deeper: Ceramides are fatty acids, and your body already has them—they’re naturally occurring. Your skin in particular is naturally loaded with ceramides; these are the lipids that comprise about half of the outermost layer of skin (along with natural oils, amino acids, and cholesterol). This layer thins over time, leading to a greater need for topical, barrier-bolstering products. These products can prevent ongoing wear and help rebuild what’s been lost.

It all starts with the moisture barrier. When your skin's barrier fails to function properly, it leads to moisture loss within all of the skin’s layers. This leaves you with a rough, dry, and often dull complexion. (It can also cause irritation and acne in sensitive and blemish-prone folks.) If this compromised barrier persists, it leads to a loss of firmness and fullness over the years. The problems won’t be treatable overnight, either; this includes significant wear around the eyes—defined wrinkles and fine lines, saggy and puffy under eyes, exaggerated dark circles. 

These problems can be caused by more than just long-term dehydration, though. Without a strong protective barrier, your skin also allows more toxins and other environmental pollutants to enter the body. These oxidants further “age” the skin, resulting in dark spots, wrinkles, rough or dull texture, and more.

In short, skin needs ceramides for a strong barrier, to trap moisture in and to keep everything else out out.

How do you get ceramides?

 You can also ingest products rich in good fat, like walnuts and fish, all of which help fortify the skin’s barrier functions similar to topical ceramides. And, of course, you can re-up your supply of ceramides with all kinds of skin care products. We picked out our very favorites. 

The Best Skin Care Products with Ceramides

The Best Moisturizer with Ceramides

CeraVe oil-free facial moisturizing lotion with SPF 30

$15

Amazon

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CeraVe powers its entire skincare assortment with a trio of ceramides, and that's a big part of what makes the easy-to-find, affordable brand one of our very favorites. Considering the price, this lightweight, oil-free daytime moisturizer with SPF 30 is one of the single best products in skin care.

The Best Eye Cream with Ceramides

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin eye cream

$39

Sephora

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Dr. Jart+'s Ceramidin line is another outstanding source of skin-firming ceramides. Their eye cream will keep the delicate eye skin taut and nourished, thus preventing any sagging and dark circles. It's also packed with niacinamide to help smooth surface texture in the area.

The Best Night Cream with Ceramides

The INKEY List ceramide night treatment

$15

Sephora

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Apply this lightweight cream before bed for a serious ceramide 1-up while you slumber. It's also rich in hyaluronic acid to keep skin buoyant and hydrated.

The Best Body Moisturizer with Ceramides

Cetaphil body lotion

$20

$17

Amazon

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Dry skin stands no chance against Cetaphil's intense ceramide- and amino-rich body lotion. It restores moisture overnight and prevents ongoing moisture loss until your next shower. 

The Best Serum with Ceramides

Paula's Choice hyaluronic acid + ceramide booster serum

$37

Amazon

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Designed to be added to (or applied before) your face moisturizer, this lightweight serum contains moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, along with—yep, you guessed it—firming and fortifying ceramides. 

The 10 Best Products from CeraVe 

The products worth buying from the drugstore skincare heavyweight.