This is what ceramides do for the skin
Ceramides should be your new best friend when it comes to your skincare regimen. Why? Because ceramides are lipids, i.e., fat molecules, that are a component of the skin barrier. They help the skin retain moisture and enable it to function correctly. Ceramides are also the body's natural moisturizer and the barrier that prevents dehydration. When your body has ample ceramides, your skin appears soft, smooth, and plump.
What causes ceramide depletion?
If your body naturally produces ceramides, then why would you also need a skincare product that contains the ingredient? Simply because the body's ability to produce and maintain the same level of ceramides decreases with age. Ceramide depletion also occurs with seasonal changes and overuse of soaps and exfoliants that can throw off the skin's pH balance. Another factor that affects ceramide levels is your diet. To maintain adequate ceramides, you should eat a diet rich in leafy greens, lean protein, and healthy fats, like avocado and coconut oils. Without the proper amount of ceramides, the natural skin barrier won't be able to function optimally. You might develop acne, dry skin, and eczema.
How can you prevent ceramide loss?
Aside from natural aging, your body can lose its ceramides if you don't care for it properly. Ceramide loss occurs when your skin is overextended, or you expose it to extreme environments. Over-scrubbing, using the wrong soaps, and hanging out in the sun or snow for too long are all examples of how you can deplete your body's natural ceramides. To avoid stripping the skin of its ceramides, you should:
- Keep showers short and use lukewarm water along with gentle soaps and mild cleansers.
- After showering, pat skin dry rather than rubbing it since doing so can physically irritate the skin.
- Apply a moisturizer right after showering when your skin is still a little damp to lock in moisture.
- Turn on a humidifier or two in your house during the winter to combat dry air, which can dry out the skin and make it feel itchy.
- Use ceramide-containing skincare products, such as LA Beauty's Drenched, to help prevent too much water from evaporating from the skin. Drenched contains a special ceramide complex that replenishes and protects the skin's natural lipid barrier.
Are there any differences between natural ceramides and those found in skincare products?
There is really no significant difference structurally. Many synthetic ceramides found in skincare products are "bioidentical" to natural ones. This means that the ceramides found in over-the-counter body cream are very similar to the ones that a healthy body would naturally produce. Using moisturizers that are rich in ceramides will not only help to restore moisture levels, resulting in smoother, softer skin but will also help with conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
In addition to using ceramides found in skincare products, you should also eat a healthy diet filled with natural ceramides, such as eggs, dairy, soybeans, brown rice, sweet potatoes, spinach, and wheat germ.