As a beauty editor, there are only so many times you can harp on about the importance of looking after your skin barrier before you send a room to sleep. The truth is, while us beauty eds love geeking out over the sciencey stuff about skincare, the majority of people just want to know the basics. You know, the really necessary information like what ingredients the skin actually needs to maintain its health. Personally, the one beauty ingredient my skin genuinely can’t be without is ceramides.
Sure, I know that these things are different for everyone, but I genuinely believe (and have many experts to back me up) that every single one of us should be using ceramide-based beauty products whenever and wherever we can. And let me be clear, this isn’t beauty fluff, this is the real deal. If you want healthy, plump, glowing skin, ceramides should really be at the very heart of your skincare routine. In fact, since I started incorporating ceramides into basically every product I use, my skin has never looked healthier. And I know what you’re thinking: What exactly are ceramides?! Well, let me explain. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
In short, ceramides are the stuff that hold our skin together. “Ceramides are fats, known as lipids, that make up approximately 50% of the skin’s epidermis. They act as a glue that binds our skin cells together, providing strength to the skin’s barrier against the environment and helping to lock in moisture,” says Bibi Ghalaie, medical aesthetics doctor and founder of British Aesthetics. Essentially, without a high amount of ceramides, not only does the skin look dull and lacklustre, but our skin barrier can become compromised, turning the skin dry, irritated and itchy.
Given the above, we’re still left with the question: If our bodies produce ceramides naturally, why do we need to incorporate them into our skincare too? Well, just like most good things, ceramides deplete with age. “Scientific studies have proven that the level of ceramides in our skin significantly decreases with age. This means that as we get older, the upper layers of the skin become noticeably thinner, causing the development of fine lines and wrinkles,” explains Ghalaie.
But besides the anti-ageing benefits, ceramides are also imperative for maintaining basic skin health. I’ll try not to refer to it too much, but it really does come down to the skin barrier. “Ceramides are integral to our skin’s pliability and structure. In the right formulation they can help improve our barrier function and hydration levels. Remember that our barrier function is our protector, so keeping it healthy and intact is key for healthy skin,” says Pamela Marshall, clinic aesthetician and co-founder of Mortar & Milk. Therefore, although everyone can reap the benefits of ceramides, those that suffer with dry skin, sensitivity or inflammatory conditions such as eczema, acne and rosacea will particularly benefit.
How Should We Incorporate Ceramides Into Our Regimens?
The truth is, ceramides can and should be incorporated into our skincare routines as often as possible. Celebrity facialist and skincare expert, Michaella Bolder explains, “A morning and night application of a ceramide product is ideal seven days a week. Those who need a real boost to their skin condition should look to use both a cleanser and a moisturiser. Use of ceramides in any one product alone will improve the skin’s condition.”
However, for those that just want to keep their skin looking glowing and as healthy as possible, Ghalaie says that you will get the most beneficial results from ceramide-based moisturisers. “Since we need ceramides for strengthening and maintaining the barrier, it is logical that they should be applied as a final step in our routines, as ingredients in moisturisers,” she says. The best way to make sure you’re getting enough? “Ensure that all of your moisturising products include them. That means eye cream, day cream and night cream. This way you know you’re using ceramides twice daily, every day, which will optimise hydration and barrier defense.” Keep scrolling for the best ceramide products out there.