There are many terms thrown around a lot in the beauty and skin industries. With that said, it can be very difficult to know which of these words are actually important. “Ceramide” is one of the many industry buzzwords that constantly leaves people guessing. This is a relevant ingredient in the skincare world and it is extremely important to know what it means and what ceramides can do for you. The following paragraphs will explain what a ceramide is and how it can be helpful if included in the treatment of your skin.
What is a ceramide?
Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules found naturally in the skin and are present in all four layers of the epidermis. They’re a type of oily wax that holds skin cells together, creating a protective barrier in the top layer of skin. Although your skin naturally generates its own ceramides, environmental factors and aging may lower this natural production. Boosting your skin’s levels with a topical ceramide cream is beneficial for the repair and maintenance of a healthy epidermis. When skin is low in ceramides, it’s prone to redness and dryness.
Phytoceramides are the plant-derived equivalent of ceramides, a lipid that keeps your skin hydrated and plump. Ceramides are found naturally in many foods, especially wheat flour. Sphingolipids, which contain ceramides, are present in large amounts in dairy products, eggs and soybeans. So you can get ceramides from food and don’t really need to take dietary supplements.
When should I use ceramides?
When your complexion seems to stay irritated no matter what products you are using, the problem could lie within your skin’s barrier. The barrier is the outermost layer of your skin, which comes in contact with all of the elements. It prevents moisture from escaping and toxins and bacteria from entering. Depending on the environment and how aggressive you are with exfoliating treatments, it can be exposed to a lot of external aggressors. However, by incorporating more ceramides into your regimen, you simultaneously moisturize and repair that barrier. By adding ceramides, you can reduce inflammation in the skin which causes redness and irritation.
Ceramide creams are usually hydrating enough to replace your daily moisturizer, but aren’t so heavy that they’ll clog the pores of those with oilier skin types. In fact, they actually perform a balancing act and can help reduce oil production. This is especially true if products targeting the issue have caused you to become even oilier. Ceramides can also be used over dry areas on the body, and are available in every form from a toner or essence to a cream or serum. Keep in mind, however, not all ceramide products are created equally.
When you are choosing a product that contains ceramides, be sure to choose a formula that contains a high concentration of ceramides. You can find this information in the top half of the ingredient list. If ceramides are listed at the bottom of the ingredient list, then the product is going to have a very small concentration of them. If ceramides are listed at the top of the ingredient list, then the product will contain a higher concentration of them.
Age and ceramides
It is suspected that ceramide levels in the skin decline with age. This is one reason skin becomes drier as a person grows older. Harsh cleansers used over time will disrupt ceramide function, contributing to dry skin. Medications like cholesterol-lowering drugs, commonly prescribed to older people, can also alter ceramide and lipid levels in the outer layer of the epidermis.
Diet and ceramides
Diet plays a role too. Eating a diet that lacks essential fatty acids can disrupt skin’s natural barrier against moisture loss. A certain amount of dietary fat is important for healthy skin. Not surprisingly, people on very low fat diets often have dry, flaky skin due to loss of ceramides and other lipids that help skin retain water. Dietary fatty acids can be found in nuts, seeds, oily fish such as salmon and avocados.
How ceramides help the under-eye area
There have been a large number of studies of ceramides and how they help the skin. Primarily, these studies focus on how ceramides improve the barrier and water-holding functions of the skin. In a Japanese study on the use of ceramides on the under eye area it was found that after four weeks, participants’ eyelid skin was much more hydrated than before treatment. Another study showed that topical ceramide creams improved the skin barrier.
MDSUN is a leading brand in skincare treatments and products. Their Med-Eye Complex Cream is infused with over a dozen ceramides. This is a powerful eye cream that is able to visibly promote firmness and increase blood circulation. It will deeply hydrate the eye area to reduce the signs of aging. You can use this cream once during the morning or daytime and once at night to gain a youthful appearance and glow. A sample of this product is available on the MDSUN website.