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Skin Science

What Are Ceramides & What Do They Do For Your Skin?

by Neutrogena
May 31, 2024

Your skin is fairly good at knowing what it needs — such as moisture and protection — as well as how to signal that it's not getting it — aka redness and irritation. This is why it comes armed with its own natural lipids and other means of shielding itself from damage. Most skincare formulations work by introducing what your skin can't produce itself: Think salicylic acid to fight acne, niacinamide to reduce inflammation, and retinol to exfoliate.

Not many of these ingredients are found naturally in your skin the way ceramides are. So, what are ceramides, and why are they such a useful part of your daily regimen if they're something your skin creates naturally anyway?


What Are Ceramides & What Do They Do for the Skin?

Ceramides are fats and lipids found in skin cells that make up your skin barrier, the outermost layer of skin called the epidermis. They protect the skin, blocking bacteria from entering your skin as well as helping to prevent moisture loss. Over time, your skin produces fewer ceramide lipids — skincare products with ceramides can supplement those lost ceramides so you can maintain bouncy, plump skin.


Benefits of Ceramides

Ceramides help establish a solid foundation for the overall health of your skin. Forming an additional barrier against the skin helps prevent moisture loss, in turn quenching dry patches, irritated areas, inflammation and flaking. Your skin barrier is your skin's first line of defense, and a weakened or compromised barrier can result in rashes, inflammation, or skin disorders.

As you age, your skin loses elasticity and the ability to retain moisture. With consistent use, ceramide-based products help substitute those lost ceramides to make skin appear more hydrated, supple, softer, even, and vibrant.


What Ingredients Work Well With Ceramides?

Since your body naturally produces ceramides in your skin, you're less likely to have an adverse reaction to ceramides in skincare, although it's always a good idea to back it up with ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide.

The Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Water Cream utilizes hyaluronic acid to revitalize and keep dry skin hydrated all day long.

Because ceramides are so soothing to the skin, these products can work well after using targeted products like the Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum and the AHA-rich Neutrogena® Stubborn Blackheads Daily Acne Facial Serum. These serums work to exfoliate and clear your pores, so ceramides follow them up with a dose of moisture to protect your skin barrier.


Which Skincare Products Contain Ceramides?

The great thing about ceramides is that you can find them in several steps on your skincare routine. They're featured in moisturizers, serums, and even facial cleansers, which makes including them in your routine easy. Typically, the word "ceramide" will appear in ingredient lists, or you may need to look for phytosphingosine, sphingosine or dihydrosphingosine. These ingredients work like ceramides to protect the skin lipid barrier from moisture loss and damage, giving you bright, glowing skin.



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