I get frequent questions about individual anti-aging ingredients. Can it REALLY reverse aging? Is it natural? Dangerous? Last time, I reviewed idebone, a powerful antioxidant. Today I’m evaluating ceramides. I’ve seen it advertised on a number of products and thought it was finally time to do a little research.
Here’s how it works: The cells of the top layer of the skin are held in place by fatty ceramides, a substance which kind of acts like glue to keep the cells in order. In addition ceramides hold onto water molecules, helping to attract and retain moisture in the skin. And it will probably come as no great surprise that ceramide levels decrease as we get older. By age 60, we have lost so much ceramide that the upper layer of the skin is 30% thinner.
Ceramides are used lotions, creams and cleansers formulated primarily for dry skin, but there is some debate about how effective it actually is. Conventional wisdom holds that it is very difficult for ingredients like ceramide to travel through the layers of the skin. However new research indicates that substances can travel down the hair follicles and pores to reach the growing levels of skin and make a diffference in the health of skin cells.
Loss of ceramides is just one of the age related changes that occur to our skin– so this ingredient can’t do all the heavy lifting in anti-aging skin care. However if dry skin is constant problem a ceramide-rich product can work effectively.
Ceramides are expensive ingrediets and are usually found in higher end lines such as Elizabeth Arden Ultra Cold ( $60) and Elizabeth Plump Perfect Ultra Night Repair ($65). Now they are also used in the very affordable line of CereVe products that includes CereVe Facial Moisturing Lotion PM and CereVe Daily Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 ( $12 for 3 ounces).
Dry skin was not a daily problem for me until I started using Retin A products. Then flaking and redness became a real issue. I was standing in a drugstore looking for something, anything that would help when two separate women asked the sales person for CereVe. Curious, I saw that it was fragrance-free, did not clog pores and contained one of my all time favorite moisturizing ingredients– hyaluronic acid. I didn’t know what ceramides were, but the other ingredients made it worth a try. That night I smoothed CereVe over my Retin A treated skin and by morning, my skin felt better than it had in months. I went back and bought the daytime product with sunscreen and now use both frequently in by day and night routines. I don’t know if its the ceremides or the hyaluronic acid, or maybe the combintion of the two, but CereVe products really delivered for me.
If you have tried other ceramide products, I’d love to hear about your experiences.