Do you take care of your skin consistently and conscientiously, perhaps even using expensive skin care products, and yet find that your skin is sensitive and has dry patches? This could be because your skin lacks ceramides. Learn everything you need to know about this skincare ingredient here.
What are ceramides?
Ceramides are lipids or fats that occur naturally in the skin and make up about 50 percent of the skin’s composition. "They are mainly found in the horny layer, the uppermost layer of the skin. There they form so-called double lipid layers, which have the function of a natural protective barrier of the skin with the main task of binding moisture in the skin," dermatologist Dr. Stefanie Derendorf knows. Thus, they play an elementary role in protecting your skin from environmental damage and maintaining a youthful skin appearance.
Why are ceramides important in skin care?
The fewer ceramides present in the skin, the more sensitive it is to negative environmental influences and the more likely it is that the skin barrier will be damaged. "A damaged skin barrier can lead to irritation and inflammation, dryness, tightness and itching, which makes optimal, consistent skin care essential," advises Derendorf. A healthy, functioning skin protection barrier is essential for radiantly beautiful skin. An optimal skin care routine provides the skin with moisture, for example through hyaluron, but also contains active ingredients to bind moisture in the skin, such as ceramides. Thus, these are also a must-have active ingredient when it comes to anti-aging.
Who needs ceramides in particular?
Ceramides, like hyaluronic acid, are a skin-identical cosmetic ingredient and therefore suitable for virtually every skin type. Even for sensitive skin, they do not disturb its balance. Although they are a natural skin ingredient, it is important to pay attention to the formulation of the products. Thus, a light serum is recommended for light skin, while a rich cream is recommended for very dry skin. "Every skin care product must suit your skin type and your individual care needs", says Stefanie Derendorf. "Especially for problematic and acne-prone skin, a visit to the dermatologist is recommended."
1. dry skin
Ceramides are particularly important for people who suffer from skin problems such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, dryness or a weakened protective barrier due to sun damage or excessive use of active ingredients. This is where the benefits of ceramides are most noticeable.
2. Ölige skin
A damaged skin barrier can store less fluid. This is a possible reason for the overproduction of sebum, which in turn can lead to impurities, pimples and oily skin. Ceramides can support the regulation.
The problem with ceramides
Although our body constantly forms new ceramides to maintain the protective function, the natural ceramide level of the skin decreases significantly over time. In our early 30s, about 40 percent of the ceramides in our skin have degraded, and by the time we reach our early 40s, it’s already around 60 percent,” says skin expert Derendorf. Due to this loss, the skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity, which leads to lines and wrinkles.
A decreasing ceramide level is a natural side effect of aging that cannot be completely stopped. Nevertheless, we have an influence on some stress factors that affect the ceramide level.
Tips to protect the skin barrier
1. avoid strong temperature fluctuations and übermäßige sun exposure.
2. use sufficient sunscreen every day.
3. be careful with the increased use of peelings and aggressive cleansing products that contain fragrances, ätheric Öle and alcohol and thereby disturb the pH balance of the skin. Use skin-identical cosmetic products whenever possible.
4. if you have irritated skin, be sure to completely avoid peelings and products containing alcohol.
5. take care of yourself! Psychological stress as well as an unhealthy or too unbalanced diet can also affect the health of our skin and throw it out of balance.
With expert advice from Dr. Stefanie Derendorf and Dr. Alexandra Michaelis, specialists in dermatology and venereology, dermatology practice at St. Anna Platz in Munich.