So much of the time, people focus on the negatives of their skin. But, have you ever taken a minute to think about how incredible it actually is? Your skin is a complex organ that does an incredible job of keeping your body safe from harmful irritants, pollution, and the sun — and it looks damn good in the process. A lot of that can be traced back to your skin barrier, a vital layer made up of three important lipids: cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. Together, these three fats act as a type of “glue” that hold skin cells together, hydrate your skin by keeping moisture in, and prevent all the gross stuff floating around in the air from making its way beneath the surface. It’s pretty amazing.
It can’t do everything on its own, though. Over time, your barrier will begin to naturally break down and weaken with age, mostly due to a decrease in ceramides, which make up over half of your skin barrier. Constant exposure to pollution, sun damage, low humidity climates, hormone fluctuations, and using products that are too aggressive on the skin can speed up this ceramide degradation. And, when ceramide levels are low, your skin will pay the price in the form of dryness, redness, irritation, and a rough texture. Low ceramides can also make wrinkles look more pronounced. So, yeah — ceramides are kind of important.
The good news is that you can supplement the loss of your natural ceramides with products that are rich in this essential lipid. Using ceramide products like creams and serums will build up your barrier and instantly moisturize and soften your skin. How is that different from any other moisturizing ingredient, you may ask? When your skin barrier is compromised due lo low ceramide levels, it can’t effectively hold in moisture — your skin is like a dam with holes in it and hydration just leaks out. So you can apply all these wonderful moisturizing ingredients, but they won’t work to their maximum efficacy because your skin will only be holding onto a fraction of that hydrating goodness.
With that in mind, we rounded up a few of our favorite skin-care products featuring ceramides and which skin issues they are best suited for. Check them out below to learn how to add this essential ingredient into your daily routine and help your skin barrier continue being the biological marvel it was born to be.
When ceramide levels are low, wrinkles and fine lines are exacerbated, which can make you look older than you actually are. Since no one is actively going for that look, anti-aging products featuring high levels of ceramides can help instantly iron out wrinkles and build up your barrier to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles over time. Two of our favorite include the Irene Forte Hibiscus Serum Age-Defying Lift and the Bynacht High Moon Firming Decolleté Gel.
Irene Forté’s serum packs all the power of a heavy duty anti-aging cream into the silky, lightweight texture of a serum. In addition to ceramides, it also features plant-derived peptides that give a lifting effect to the skin and high- and low- molecular weight hyaluronic acid to penetrate different layers of the skin for more complete hydration.
Since the skin on your neck is thinner — and, hence, so is your skin barrier there — it tends to show the signs of aging faster, meaning incorporating a neck treatment with ceramides is crucial to keeping it looking youthful. With ceramides, lipids, peptides, vitamins, and hydrators like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, Bynacht’s advanced neck and decolleté gel hydrates, firms, tones, and strengthens that delicate skin to keep it healthy and smooth.
A weakened skin barrier leads to a complexion that is more easily irritated. That’s because there are gaps in that “wall” due to missing ceramides that allows pollution and bacteria to make its way below skin’s surface and agitate the skin. Redness, itchiness, and burning can be a result. Your best bet in this scenario is to grab ceramide products that also have calming properties, like the Pai Instant Kalmer and Alpyn Beauty’s Calming Midnight Mask with Melatonin & Wild Dandelion. Both use ultra-gentle ingredients that won’t cause any further irritation and help not only rebuild your barrier, but soothe the existing sensitivity while also adding a dose of much-needed moisture.
If your skin is feeling rough and flaky, your best bet is to reach for ceramide products that have a healthy mix of moisturizing ingredients and thicker textures that will comfort and soften those scaly top layers. We’re loving Leland Francis The Rich Cream and Furtuna Skin Rinascita Delle Olive Replenishing Balm for how they pamper and swaddle our skin in rich hydration.
Leland Francis’ luxurious cream is a mix of oils, vitamins, ceramides, and the retinol alternative bakuchiol, which helps to gently refine skin texture and get rid of any scaly patches. It also imparts a healthy glow and, despite its extreme moisture content, doesn’t feel heavy or greasy on the skin.
Furtuna gets high marks in our books for its decadent balm texture which melts onto the skin in an absolutely heavenly cocoon of hydration. It’s made with phytoceramides, which are plant-based ceramides, plus moisturizing oils and wild-foraged medicinal botanicals. Smooth it on skin and massage gently for maximum moisture and to rejuvenate stressed skin in need of a glow up.