What are ceramides?
Ceramides are fats (“lipids”) that are found in high concentrations in the outermost layers of our skin, the epidermis. Given that ceramides make up a huge chunk of skin’s outer composition (in some parts, as high as 50%), they play an essential role in our skin’s appearance and how our skin defends itself against external threats.
In simple terms, ceramides hold the skin together by forming a protective layer that locks in moisture and protects against damage from pollution, UV and other threats. High concentrations of ceramides are vital to maintaining youthful and well-protected skin.
Unfortunately, our ceramide supply can be depleted over time.
Effectiveness of our ceramides is reduced over time
In fact, according to Dr. Joyce Davis, we lose about 40% of our skin’s ceramides by age 30 and experience about 60% loss by age 40. This rapid drop in ceramides is directly responsible for our skin’s thinner appearance as we get older, which, in turn, heightens the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
In addition to natural depletion of ceramides caused by aging, environmental factors can also reduce ceramide stores and damage our skin barrier. These external threats include the usual suspects: air pollution (smog, dust, smoke, etc.) and excessive UV exposure
Luckily, it is possible to restore the ceramides in our skin.
Ceramide supplementation can restore our skin barrier
To help our skin offset ceramide depletion caused by aging and external factors, there are a few options available to us. First off, according to Doctor Joshua Zeichner, applying topical creams that contain ceramides is proven to increase overall ceramide levels in the skin. Secondly, always use a daily SPF. Thirdly, you can consider oral ceramide supplementation.
Adding a ceramide supplement to your daily routine is proven to improve skin hydration. In one Japanese study, participants supplemented with ceramides over a 12 week period experienced significant improvements in skin hydration, skin elasticity and skin wrinkles versus the placebo group.
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