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Ceramides Skin Benefits: Dermatologists Swear by This Ingredient to Hydrate, Soothe and More

This naturally-occurring lipid depletes with age but is easy to restore with some changes to your skin care routine

Have you wondered what exactly keeps your skin looking plump, dewy, and youthful? It’s not just about genetics or expensive creams — though let’s be real, those help. The secret? A powerful ingredient called ceramides. They make up a whopping 30-40% of your skin’s outer layer, acting like tiny bricks that hold your skin cells together. But as we age, ceramide production naturally declines, leading to dryness, wrinkles, and a dull complexion. But, by incorporating ceramides into your skin care routine, you can unlock a myriad of benefits. From restoring hydration to boosting elasticity, ceramides can be your skin’s best friend. Here, we’ll cover the ceramides skin benefits, how to add them to your skin care regimen and more.

What are ceramides?

According to Ryan Turner, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City and co-founder of TRNR Skin, ceramides are fatty acids that naturally occur in the skin. “Our skin’s ceramide levels deplete as we get older, which is just one reason skin gets drier with age,” he says. “Incorporating lipids like ceramides into your skincare routine is key to healthy skin.”

Dermatologist Hannah Kopelman, MD, adds that ceramides are naturally found in high concentrations within the outermost layer of the skin. “They make up about 50% of the skin’s composition, essential for maintaining the skin’s barrier and retaining moisture,” she says.

Ceramides skin benefits

By replenishing the skin’s ceramide levels, you can improve hydration, reduce signs of aging and enhance overall skin health, says Dr. Kopelman. “Think of your skin as a brick wall,” notes Dr. Turner. “To keep a brick wall strong and sturdy, you need mortar between the bricks. Without it, your wall isn’t very effective. Ceramides act like the mortar between your skin cells’ ‘bricks,’ working to both prevent water from escaping your skin and irritants from penetrating it,” he explains.

Illustrations of a healthy and damaged skin barrier for comparrison

So, when your skin has the ceramides it needs, it’s hydrated and nourished, less prone to dryness, redness, and irritation, and looks healthier and more radiant, he Dr. Turner. “Because all skin needs ceramides to function optimally, people of all skin types can benefit from adding ceramides into their skincare routine, including those with oily skin.”

How to add ceramides to your skin care routine

Look for skin care products that feature ceramides on the ingredient list, says Dr. Turner. “Unlike some ingredients, which might be hard to find on product packaging (for example, some ingredients go by their Latin name), ceramides stand out — you’ll see ceramides listed by name,” he says.

“You’ll most frequently find them in moisturizers, though they’re also formulated into other nourishing products, like moisturizing essences, and cleansers,” says Dr. Turner. “Ceramides can also be found in plant-based sources such as jojoba oil.”

The best skin care products with ceramides

Keep scrolling to see the products infused with the ingredient that help you achieve all the ceramides skin benefits listed above.

Best ceramides treatment

Snow Fox Multi-Ceramide Lavender & Coconut Essence, a product that makes it easy to get the ceramides skin benefits
Snow Fox

Snow Fox Multi-Ceramide Lavender & Coconut Essence

Spritzing skin with this ceramide-infused mist is our go-to for prepping skin for the skin care that follows. It moisturizes and revitalizes instantly while imparting long-lasting hydration.

Best ceramides serum

Naturopathica Marshmallow Ceramide Sensitivity Soothing Serum

Naturopathica Marshmallow Ceramide Sensitivity Soothing Serum

This serum is a splurge, but we love its skin-calming formula and luxurious texture. It works especially well for nighttime before applying moisturizer.

Best ceramides moisturizers

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, a product to help you get the ceramides skin benefits

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

“All CeraVe products contain ceramides (the “Cera” in the brand name stands for ceramides); this one in particular is a classic,” says Dr. Turner. “It’s deeply nourishing, but doesn’t feel greasy on the skin, and can be used by many different people, even those who are prone to very sensitive skin — it’s accepted by the National Eczema Association. It can also be used on both the face and body.”

Dr. Kopelman says she likes this product because of its combination of ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which provides intense hydration and helps restore the skin’s protective barrier.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
Dr. Jart+/Sephora

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

Dr. Kopelman recommends this ceramides-packed formula. Why? “Because of its rich, nourishing formula, it helps to strengthen the skin barrier and retain moisture, making it ideal for dry and sensitive skin.”

Paula's Choice Ceramide-Enriched Firming Moisturizer, a product that makes it easy to get the ceramides skin benefits
Paula's Choice

Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming Moisturizer

“Retinol is the gold standard in anti-aging, but can cause some irritation and dryness when not paired with moisturizing ingredients,” says Dr. Turner. That’s why using it with ceramides can be so beneficial. “This formula has five ceramides as well as other lipids (like squalane and cholesterol) to keep the skin nourished, plus skin brighteners vitamin C and licorice,” he explains. “Overall, you can expect this formula to promote smoother, firmer, and healthier-looking skin with a more even texture and tone.”

Best ceramides cleanser

Skinfix barrier+ Ceramide + Ectoin Gentle Gel Cleanser

Skinfix barrier+ Ceramide + Ectoin Gentle Gel Cleanser

For a cleanser that we love and contains ceramides, look to this Skinfix option. It’s a pH-balanced gel-to-foam cleanser that works to dissolve sunscreen, makeup and debris while keeping your skin’s barrier intact.

Best ceramides facial spray

Curel Deep Moisture Spray

Curel Deep Moisture Spray

This spray is ideal for refreshing skin throughout the day or to use in the morning instead of a full-on cleanse.

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