Ceramides: Guardians of Skin

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Ever wonder why your skin is still dry, rough, wrinkly, red or irritated after using all those expensive moisturizers?  Perhaps, you have missed a key ingredient, ceramide, which can save your skin from aging well before its years

Now, what are ceramides and why are they important for supple and plump skin?

Ceramides are fats (lipids) found in the outermost layer of skin and make up as much as 50 % of the molecules within the space between the cells of skin.  We will call this space, “the gap”, and it is vital in preventing loss of water from our bodies while also keeping out bacteria and environmental toxins from entering through skin.

There are many types of ceramides such as Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide NG, Ceramide NP, and Ceramide NS, however pro-ceramide phytosphingosine and sphingolipids, are even more important because they help to make other ceramides.   Other inhabitants of the gap include cholesterol and fatty acids, which along with ceramides, prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) that can cause skin to dry, flake, wrinkle, and thus become irritated and prone to skin diseases.

Ratios are important in skin care products

Our skin has a 1:2:1 ratio of fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol so it is ideal that cosmetic products closely match this naturally occurring ratio.  Ceramides, as powerhouse of the gap, contribute to this ratio and maintain the barrier function of skin to keep environment toxins, harmful chemicals in cosmetics, soap, hot water, and pollutants from penetrating our skin.

How to use ceramides to your skin’s advantage?

Ceramides deplete with age, and it is recommended that individuals over the age of 30 apply moisturizers with ceramides twice a day to prevent signs of aging.  However, not all ceramide-containing products are equal, and so look for products that are vacuum-sealed, such as airtight containers and opaque bottles with pumps.  Such dispensers help to ensure that ceramides within them are stable and effective.

Ceramides are ideal for all types of skin, but they are especially important for sensitive skins and people with skin conditions since ceramides minimize water loss from skin, hydrating it and guarding against irritants, such as fragrance and preservatives.  This increased hydration and protective function of ceramides reduces redness, inflammation, and appearance of wrinkles.

 

 

 

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