The skin contains fatty acids known as ceramides which are the body’s first line of defense against external factors like toxins and infections. Now, how important are ceramides for skin? The human body naturally produces ceramides and they make up about 30% to 40% of the skin’s outer layer. Ceramides help maintain moisture levels and strengthen the skin’s barrier function. Most skin care creams and moisturizers have ceramides as an important part of their composition. Read on to know how ceramides function and how they benefit the skin.
Ceramide for Skin Benefits
Made of long chain fatty acids linking other important molecules to them, ceramides potentially benefit the skin in a variety of aspects.
1. Strengthens the Barrier Function of the Skin
Stratum corneum, the protective barrier of the skin, is damaged due to loss of ceramides occurring because of aging, use of harsh products on the face and excessive exfoliation. This results in tiny cracks on the skin that may allow germs to enter through and cause irritation or inflammation. An adequate amount of ceramides in the skin help keep the barrier protected and functioning well.
2. Reduces Signs of Aging
Loss of collagen, keratin, and elastin are not the only causes of thin and aging skin. A weakened skin barrier also results in premature deterioration of the skin quality. Visible signs of aging like saggy skin, wrinkles, and fine lines appear due to loss of moisture caused by ceramide deficiency. Replenishing the ceramide levels is the key as it maintains a healthy skin barrier ensuring that the skin is protected, maintained, and kept healthy.
3. Protects the Skin by Making It More Tolerable
Besides protecting the skin against aggressive environmental factors, ceramides for skin also help protect it from the harsh agents in the products we tend to apply on our skin.
4. Boosts Skin Hydration
Dehydrated skin tends to become dry, rough and develop cracks. One of the primary benefits of ceramides for skin is that they lock in moisture and boost hydration. Due to a weak skin barrier, the loss of water through the skin’s epidermis is greater. This results in skin inflammation and may trigger issues (eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc) related to it.
5. Protects Against UV Damage from the Sun Rays
Around 90% of the skin’s visible damage – fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles, are caused due to the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. Notably, prolonged exposure to the sun and the damage it causes is a phenomenon described as photoaging by dermatologists. Ceramide-containing sunscreens are the best choice to help prevent the skin from sun damage.
The benefits of ceramides for skin are numerous. The best part is that it does not react with other ingredients, has no side effects, and is safe for use even during pregnancy. If ‘is ceramide good for oily skin?’ is a question you find yourself asking, then you should know that it is especially safe for oily skin as it helps prevent breakouts and inflammation in addition to maintaining a healthy skin barrier. To boost ceramide levels, one can use topical ceramide creams in the form of moisturizers and sunscreen and consume dietary supplements including food items like eggs, brown rice and sweet potatoes.