Experts / scientists
September 6th, 2023
Ceramides: the key to healthy skin
By Florence Masson, dermatologist and aesthetic medicine specialist.
Ceramides are found naturally in the skin. They are members of the wide-reaching lipid family, to which those infamous fatty acids and cholesterol also belong. With more of a low profile than their cousins, they nevertheless make up 50% of the skin’s lipids and are vital for keeping the epidermis healthy and the complexion radiant!
They safeguard the skin and are now used in the composition of many beauty products. They have a variety of benefits, especially when combined with a “repair” routine that is specially tailored to skin in need of comfort. We explain what they do.
How do ceramides work?
Appropriately called “intercellular lipids”, they operate inside the skin’s uppermost layer (the stratum corneum). To understand exactly how they work, just imagine a protective wall. Dead skin cells – corneocytes – are the bricks, and ceramides are the cement that holds them together. This essential cohesion ensures that the protective barrier does its job properly. Because the stronger the cement, the more resistant the wall will be!
What effects do they have on the skin?
They are versatile, protective and repairing active ingredients. They keep the skin barrier in tip-top condition, which means that your skin stays healthy:
- They protect the skin against external aggression and pathogens: cold, sun, wind, pollution, smoke, and so on.
- They help keep it hydrated, both by limiting transepidermal water loss and by regulating the absorption of moisture.
- They keep it feeling soft, looking radiant and visibly more rested. It no longer feels tight. All these signs are evidence that your skin barrier is in great shape!
Why include ceramides in cosmetics?
Even though they are naturally synthesised inside our body, sun exposure and various forms of aggression cause a drop in the production and quality of ceramides. The skin barrier is damaged, the skin dries out, becomes more permeable, and therefore more vulnerable. That’s why skincare products containing ceramides are needed to restore firm and supple skin. This applies to everyone, no matter what their age or skin type. Because ceramides are perfectly tolerated, even by the most sensitive skin, and present no risk to health. They are the Swiss Army knives of skin repair, and as such are particularly recommended if you wish to:
- Improve and maintain your skin’s structure.
- Combat dehydration.
- Rebuild your skin barrier after sun exposure, air travel, cold and dry weather, etc.
- Enhance the effects of an anti-ageing treatment.
4 essential steps for an optimal repair routine
Ceramides fit perfectly into a beauty ritual that is designed to comfort thirsty or irritated skin. Here are our tips to help it regenerate:
- Go for a gentle cleanser that won’t “strip” your skin.
- Use a variety of repair serums that are quickly absorbed into the epidermis. Because they contain lots of ceramides and other lipids, these will boost the repairing effect within the skin barrier.
- Follow your serum with a rich moisturising cream that will reinforce its action by concentrating all the active and moisturising molecules inside the skin.
- During the day, remember to apply broad-spectrum sun protection because the sun’s rays could further damage your skin barrier.
Ceramides are essential for maintaining and strengthening the skin’s barrier function, and increasingly popular in the cosmetics world, with both professionals and consumers. Though consumers are still unfamiliar with their benefits in skincare, they are on their way to becoming essential as they can provide comfort and well-being to all skin types, in complete safety.