What Are Ceramides and Why Are They Used in Skincare?

You might have noticed this popular ingredient listed on some of your favourite skincare products, but you may be wondering what are ceramides? They’re in everything from soaps and moisturisers to shampoos, hair conditioners and even sunscreens, but how does ceramide skincare help your complexion? This guide to ceramides for skin will explain the benefits of these ingredients and answer questions like ‘can you mix ceramides with retinol?’. We’ll also provide ceramide product recommendations from the L’Oréal Paris beauty experts.

What are ceramides ?

What are ceramides made of? In scientific terms, ceramides are sphingolipids, lipid (fatty) molecules found naturally in high concentration in the cell membranes within all four layers of the epidermis. However, ceramides are especially concentrated in the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin.

Ceramides help hold our cells together, forming an important protective layer that helps keep in moisture and plumps the skin. As we age, our natural ceramides can gradually decrease, creating some noticeable changes in the skin.

Research has revealed nine different ceramides in the skin, some of which can be found as skincare ingredients. Ceramides in skincare are usually either plant derived or synthetic and using products containing these types of ceramides is a great way to increase ceramides in skin.

Benefits of ceramide skincare

Ceramide’s ability to bind skin cells together plays the integral role of limiting water loss through the skin barrier on the face and body. The skin barrier also helps keep out harmful environmental skin stressors such as pollution, dust, tobacco and other impurities.

When the stratum corneum lacks ceramides, the skin loses water and becomes more vulnerable to environmental stressors. Skin with a compromised barrier can become dehydrated, uncomfortable and sensitive. Using skincare products enriched with ceramides can help maintain the skin’s moisture levels and support its natural barrier. Ceramide products are also suitable for use on skin prone to sensitivity and even mild eczema. 

Do ceramides cause acne-prone skin? There is a misconception that ultra-hydrating ingredients might lead to congestion, but this is not the case. Ceramides are found naturally in the skin, so they are known to contribute breakout.

How ceramides help different skin types

Using skincare enriched with ceramides has benefits for all skin types. You can incorporate these barrier-supporting ingredients into your daily skincare regime in the form of a ceramide serum or ceramide cream, depending on what your skin needs. Here’s how ceramides can help support different skin types:

Dry Skin: Ceramides are your best friend if you have dry skin. A compromised skin barrier means you lose more water through the skin’s surface, so topping up your skin’s ceramides can help your skin retain more moisture over time.

Sensitive Skin: If you have a compromised skin barrier, your skin becomes more vulnerable to environmental stressors such as pollution and irritants. That's why introducing ceramides into your skincare routine can help sensitive skin become more resilient.

Oily Skin: Oily skin doesn’t need heavy moisturising creams or balms, as these textures can be too much and exacerbate any congestion. In contrast, using a lighter hydrating formula enriched with ceramides is a great way to support hydration in oily skin without contributing to clogged pores.

Normal Skin: If you have normal skin, including ceramides in your skincare routine is still important to support the optimal skin. Skincare enriched with ceramides will also become increasingly beneficial as your natural levels begin to decrease with age.

How to choose your ceramide enriched skincare

Ceramides can be found in all sorts of skincare products, so it’s important to choose a product that suits you. What are ceramides in moisturisers? While you may think of ceramides as something seen only in serums, ceramide creams and moisturisers are a great way to incorporate this ingredient that’s suitable for most skin types.

Which ingredients mix with ceramides?

You might be wondering can you use ceramides with retinol? The answer is a definite yes. Ceramides are a skin identical ingredient, meaning they’re found naturally in our skin and therefore compatible with many other ingredients. We recommend using ceramides alongside Pro Retinol and hyaluronic acid, as these ingredients complement each other.

How to introduce ceramides for skin into your routine

At L’Oréal Paris, we’ve created a wide range of night creams harnessing the power of ceramides. Here’s an overview of our ceramide creams to help you choose one that suits your skin type and concerns. 

Age Perfect Cell Renewal Regenerating Night Cream

Our Age Perfect Cell Renewal Regenerating Night Cream combines ceramides with Black Truffle and Kombucha to help promote skin cell renewal, as well as visible vitality and radiance. This formula is rich in Polyphenols, Vitamin B, amino acids and antioxidants. 

Golden Age Re-Densifying Night Cream

Our Golden Age Re-Densifying Night Cream is a ceramide enriched cream intended for very mature skin. Neo-Calcium and ceramides support the skin’s barrier while you sleep and help re-hydrate dry, mature skin.

Intense Nutrition Rich Repairing Night Cream

Enriched with Manuka Honey, our Intense Nutrition Rich Repairing Night Cream also features ceramides and Calcium B5. The overall effect is to help strengthen skin density in dry, mature skin.

Intense Nutrition Neck & Décolletage Cream

Designed to help manage dry and fragile skin around the neck, our Intense Nutrition Neck & Décolletage Cream also contains the powerful combination of ceramides and Manuka Honey.

Classic Collagen Night Cream

If you’re looking to target sagging skin and age spots, our Classic Collagen Night Cream is the ceramide enriched cream for you. This tightening cream pairs ceramides with Collagen AA Fractions and Melanin-Block to simultaneously support the skin’s hydrolipidic film and fibres, as well as targeting uneven pigmentation.

Loved this guide? Read our next article 7 Dry Skin Tips to Follow at Home to learn more about how to keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated and healthy. Or get a skin analysis with our Skin Genius tool for a personalised skincare routine.