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10 Things You Need to Know About Ceramide in Skincare


The k-beauty world has been buzzing with new ingredients and there is one particular ingredient that has been getting extra attention amongst k-beauty enthusiasts for this year and that is none other than - Ceramides. Ceramides have long been studied in medicine as a disease biomarker, in cell regulation, and even drug delivery, but what about the role of ceramides in skincare? We’ve put together 10 most asked questions about ceramides to help you understand this ingredient before you invest this ingredient in your skincare routine. Let’s dive in!


1. What are Ceramides?

Ceramides are lipids made up of long-chain fatty acids that link with other essential molecules to promote cellular function. In the skin. Ceramides make up the lipid mortar of the skin barrier that helps prevent the loss of moisture via evaporation on the surface of the skin as well as, protecting the skin against the entry of microorganisms.


2. Where are Ceramides found?

Ceramides are found naturally in the skin cells and make up 30% to 40% of the outer skin layer known as the epidermis. Although the human skin is naturally made up of ceramides, these fatty acids decrease with age. Hence, we often see the appearance of dull and dry skin in mature skin.


3. What are the different types of Ceramides?

Ceramides can be differentiated into two categories - Natural and Synthetic. The only truly natural ceramides are ones that are naturally produced in the skin cells. However, one can induce ceramide production through consumption of foods such as sweet potatoes, soy, wheat, rice and corn.


On the other hand, synthetic ceramides also known as pseudoceramides are man-made substances that are chemically more stable and free from contaminants. Some of the commonly known synthetic ceramides in skincare products are Ceramide 1 (Ceramide EOS), Ceramide 2 (Ceramide NS or NG), Ceramide 3, (NP), Ceramide 6-II (Ceramide AP) and Ceramide 9 (Ceramide EOP). You may also find components such as Phytoshingosine and Sphingosine which are components of the ceramide structure.


4. What are the benefits of Ceramides for the skin?

Strengthen and restore the skin barrier

Ceramides are one of the major components of the lipid matrix of the skin barrier. The loss of ceramides can be contributed by overuse of exfoliants or aging. When the skin barrier is compromised, this allows bacteria and pollutants to enter the skin via the tiny cracks and causing irritation to the skin. Therefore, replenishing the ceramide levels will help keep the skin barrier healthy and functioning optimally.


Locks in moisture

Ceramides help support a healthy skin barrier by sealing in moisture and preventing moisture loss through evaporation, leaving your skin feeling smooth and soft.


Protects the skin

Ceramides help strengthen the protective skin barrier to prevent bacteria and environmental aggressors from entering into the skin.


Improve skin firmness

The most common sign of skin aging is the loss of elastin and collagen. As we age, our skin is exposed to UV radiation to a greater extent. The free radicals emitted from the sun cause damage to the elastin and collagen found in our skin cells. The use of ceramides in skincare routines help reduce free radical damage in the skin and reduce the visible signs of aging.


Helps with inflammatory skin issues

Ceramides strengthen the skin barrier and ensure that the skin’s stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin) is working properly. Research has shown that those suffering from inflammatory skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis tend to have lower levels of ceramides in their skin cells and may benefit from ceramides that help reduce inflammation of the skin by reducing transient epidermal water loss (TEWL).


5. Are Ceramides good for acne?

While Ceramides are not a treatment for acne, it is an important ingredient to add to an acne-related skincare routine as it helps strengthen the skin barrier. In acne-affected skin, the skin barrier is often impaired, leading to skin dryness and skin irritation. The decrease in water binding also causes a reduction in skin surface lipids. The incorporation of ceramides in blemish skincare routines help to replenish these ceramide levels in the skin.


6. Are Ceramides safe during pregnancy?

Ceramides are considered safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. There are no known studies to show that ceramides cause birth defects. It is always recommended that you check with your physician regarding the specific products that you are using before incorporating into your skincare routine.


7. What are the best Ceramide combos?

Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid

Ceramides and hyaluronic acid are the perfect combination of moisturizing agents if you are looking for a boost of hydration for your skin. Hyaluronic Acid helps draw in moisture from its surroundings into the skin layer while ceramide helps lock in the moisture to prevent loss of water into the atmosphere.


Ceramide and Peptide

This is a great combination for those who have skin sensitivities. Both ceramides and peptides are naturally found within our bodies and are less likely to be reactive even on the most sensitive skin. Peptide serums such as Vegreen Fragrance-Free Nature Mucin Serum and Mary & May 6 Peptide Serum are great fragrance-free and sensitive skin-friendly products to add to your skincare routine.


Ceramide and Niacinamide

This is a great combination if you are looking to fade hyperpigmentation or manage mild acne. Niacinamide helps brightens and control sebum production while ceramide helps support the skin barrier to retain moisture. The RNW Der. Concentrate Niacinamide Plus and Sollalla Multi-Vitamin B Cream both contain 5% of niacinamide in their formulation to help improve the signs of skin pigmentation.


Ceramide and Retinol

The use of retinol can often result in skin dryness and irritation for many, especially those with sensitive skin. Therefore, when combined with an ingredient like ceramide that helps with strengthening the skin barrier, the likelihood of skin irritation diminishes and helps to bring comfort to the skin while on retinol treatment.


8. What are the side effects of Ceramides?

There are no known adverse side effects when using ceramides on the skin, even on those with sensitive skin. However, just like allergies are unique to each individual, it is always a good idea to do a patch test on your skin if you have reactive skin. Depending on the formulation of the skincare products, you may find that some ceramide creams have a tendency to feel heavier because of the lipid structure of the ingredient.


9. How long does it take for Ceramides to work?

Ceramides start to work on your skin within 5 days of usage. However, just like most skincare products, it will take about 1 to 3 months of consistent use to see visible improvement in skin elasticity and smoothness. Our skin cells require at least 28 days to rejuvenate and this duration increases with age. Therefore patience is required to notice effects on the skin.


10. What to know about Ceramide packaging?

Ceramides can be broken down and rendered ineffective when exposed to sun and light. Therefore, it is important that you choose ceramide skincare products that are packaged in opaque, airtights containers or bottles. The RNW Der. Concentrate Ceramide Plus is a great serum to have as it is not only packaged in an opaque glass bottle, but is also fragrance-free as well.


Disclaimer: The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition.




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