“It’s typical, isn’t it? We’ve been working hard every single day to keep women’s skin soft and healthy and no one pays any attention to us. Then, along come stem cells, peptides, and all those fancy new ingredients and they instantly get all the attention. We don’t even know how (or if!) they work yet! So unfair!”
That’s what poor ceramides must think. For way too long, Elizabeth Arden was the only one who paid any attention to them. Now, they’re slowly finding their way into more and more creams and lotions. Make sure you get one of them. Here’s why:
What are ceramides?
Ceramides are unsung skincare heroes. They are an oily wax (the name derives from the Latin word cera, which means wax) that makes up, together with other substances, the glue that holds skin cells together. Like all good things, they deplete with age. It’s part of the reason why our skin becomes thinner, drier, and wrinklier as we get older.
There are nine types of ceramides. They’re all conveniently numbered (ex ceramide 1, ceramide 2, etc) to make our lives easier. Six of them are naturally found in our skin. But, as you’ve probably guessed if you’ve been reading this blog long enough (thank you so much if you are! Welcome to BWB if not 🙂 ), the types used in cosmetics are usually synthetically made in a lab.
Then, there are phytoceramides. They are derived from plants. Actually, phytoceramides in cosmetics are usually derived from yeast, which is a lot less exciting. But they work, so it’s all good.
Why are ceramides so good for the skin?
Ceramides waterproof skin. The barrier they create has two functions:
- It keeps moisture in, preventing skin from becoming dry and cracked. This makes them a must for those of you who have dry skin.
- It keeps bacteria, germs, pollutants, and all sort of nasty stuff out of the body. This prevents infections and irritations. If your skin is sensitive, choose a moisturizer packed with ceramides.
Ceramides don’t just prevent dry and broken skin. They can also help fix it. When the barrier that keeps skin healthy breaks down in places, allowing moisture to evaporate and irritants to attack skin, ceramides fill in the gaps, nursing our skin back to health.
Where’s the catch?
I wish you could just put something on your skin and it worked straight away. Well, sometimes that’s the case. But with ceramides, things work a bit differently .
For best results, you should combine ceramides (50%) with cholesterol (25%) and free fatty acids (15%). They form what scientists call “crystalline lamellar structures,” which have amazing moisture-retaining properties.
That doesn’t mean that ceramides are completely useless on their own. But picking a lotion with only one lonely ceramide won’t do anything more than any other moisturizing lotion would. Ceramides love company.
What are the best products with ceramides?
Finding the best products with ceramides can be tricky. There are so many different types, and they have to be properly formulated (I know, I know, every product should be properly formulated, but that’s not always the case. *sighs*). To help you out, I’ve done the boring work myself. Here are my top picks:
Paula’s Choice Skincare Clinical Ultra-Rich Moisturizer ($30.00)
This is by far my favourite. It’s loaded with ceramides, antioxidants, and soothing ingredients to help keep skin healthy and younger-looking for longer. It’s packaged in a tube, so all those goodies won’t go bad. But it’s very thick and super moisturizing, so it’s suitable only for dry skin. It’s available at Paula’s Choice.
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($12.99)e
This lotion is pretty basic, and doesn’t contain free fatty acids, but it’s loaded with ceramides. And the price is hard to beat. If you’re on a budget, it’s definitely worth a go. Buy it at Amazon.
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Night Cream ($74.00)
Elizabeth Arden deserves credit for being one of the first to recognize the importance of ceramides. She adds them to pretty much anything she creates, including mascara. Sadly, most of her creams come in jars, so the antioxidants in them won’t stay stable and effective for long. This one is no exception. *sighs* But it contains the right amount of ceramides and friends so, if you’re really quick at closing that lid well, it may be worth at try. You can get it at Ulta.
The Bottom Line
Ceramides are those reliable friend wes always take for granted, yet are always there for us. Start showing them more love, and include them in your daily beauty routine. They’ll repay you tenfold.
Are you using products with ceramides?