What Are Ceramides and Why Your Skin Needs Them

Ceramides are one of those ingredients that you know is important — but you’re not exactly sure what it does or why it’s so hyped up. Think of it as the antidote to dryness, redness, or generally stressed-out skin, which is why we’ve made it the star ingredient in our Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum, which is made up of five — yes, five — different types of ceramides. Why does it deserve to be in the spotlight. We’re glad you asked: Read ahead for the benefits, uses, and why they’re considered the building blocks of the skin. 

What are ceramides? 

Ceramides are fat molecules, or lipids, found in the skin barrier that help to prevent moisture loss and enhance the skin’s protective shield. As Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, puts it: “Think of them like the grout that fill in the cracks between your skin cell tiles. They help maintain a healthy skin barrier to protect the outer layer from the environment.” In the same way that grout helps everything from falling apart, ceramides help to hold the skin barrier together and keeps it smooth and soft.

How do ceramides benefit the skin? 

On top of locking in moisture, ceramides “aid in the prevention of damage from environmental aggressors such as air pollution, microorganisms, and cold, dry air,” says Tampa, FL-based dermatologist Amy Ross, M.D. If your skin barrier is your first line of defense, your ceramides are like the team MVPs.

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Ceramides can also improve inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, which, says Zeichner, are associated with lower-than-normal levels of ceramides. And, thanks to its ability to increase hydration and reinforce the skin’s barrier, ceramides can also help reduce signs of aging.

Really, everyone benefits from ceramides. As we noted earlier, ceramides are native to the skin — so, if that’s the case, why would you need to replenish them via skincare products? According to Ross, when we get older, our body loses its ability to naturally produce ceramides, and our skin’s natural ceramide levels can drop as a result. Plus, she says, “in addition to natural aging, using harsh soaps or exfoliants can reduce naturally produced ceramides.” Without re-upping on the ingredient, skin can become dry, red, and irritated. 

How to use ceramides for your skin

Ceramides are typically most effective in serums and moisturizers — products that remain on the face well after applying — so that your skin can soak up its many benefits. The Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum contains a Ceramide-5 complex, which consists of five types of ceramides that are skin-identical, meaning they’re identical to the natural ceramides found in your skin’s lipid barrier. And why five? The type of ceramides matters, since not all are created equal. The Ceramide-5 offers five different types to carry out a variety of functions — all of which result in stronger, healthier skin. Here’s a look at the lineup:

  • Ceramide EOP & Ceramide EOS: These serve as a glue for lipid bilayers, or the cell barriers (again, think back to that grout comparison).
  • Ceramide NP & Ceramide NS: These help prevent water loss, which strengthens the skin barrier
  • Ceramide AP: This maintains moisture, improving the skin’s recovery process

The Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum also pairs them with other soothing and nourishing ingredients like avocado extract, avocado butter, and rice milk to soothe redness, calm inflammation, and support the skin barrier.

Another advantage: Ceramides get along with most ingredients and skin types, as Dr. Zeichner points out. “Ceramides play very nicely in the sandbox and can be used alongside almost all other skincare ingredients and across all different skin types,” he says. “They are even useful in those with extremely sensitive skin.” No matter how your skin feels or looks on a given day, consider them a safe bet for keeping it healthy and resilient, no matter what else you use.

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For instance, for amping up ceramides’ moisturizing power, it doesn’t get much better than hyaluronic acid, which works like a moisture magnet. This humectant draws moisture into the skin, while ceramides, in replenishing the skin barrier as an emollient, work to keep that moisture in. The end result: Plump, properly hydrated skin.

That’s also why the Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum works as a perfect booster in any routine; you can do the double serum method with Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum for a one-two punch of smoothing and soothing, or Pineapple-C Bright Serum to calm and even out skin.

Ultimately, if you have yet to incorporate the wunderkind ingredient into your skincare routine, there’s no time like ASAP.

Keep reading about the signs of a damaged skin barrier:

SHOP THE LOOK

Glow Recipe

Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum

$42

https://www.glowrecipe.com/products/avocado-ceramide-recovery-serum

Glow Recipe

Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum

$42

https://www.glowrecipe.com/products/plum-plump-hyaluronic-serum

Glow Recipe

Pineapple-C Bright Serum

$49.00

https://www.glowrecipe.com/collections/all/products/glow-recipe-pineapple-c-bright-serum