What exactly are ceramides and what do they do? Ceramides are a type of lipid, or fats, that’s found in your skin. They function as some kind of cement that holds together the skin cells in your epidermis. This is the type of fat in your skin that seals in the moisture when you moisturize right after you shower.
To visualize what they are, think of a tiled floor. Ceramides act as the grout in-between the tiles to hold them into place. This type of lipid keeps the structure of your skin cells sound and strong. Grout also seals in the areas around the tiles, preventing water from seeping in under the floor. Ceramides act the same way but instead it is to keep the water from getting out of your skin and drying it out.
Aging is the natural enemy of your skin, and as you grow older, the level of ceramides you have in your skin also become lower. Other things that contribute to how fast your ceramides become depleted is over-exposing your skin to harsh conditions like being out in the sun for too long.
So how can you slow down or replenish your ceramide levels? Well first, you want to keep your showers short and use lukewarm water while using a gentle cleanser for your face. You also want to moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower to seal in the moisture. Another tip is to use a humidifier to combat dry air, especially during the winter months.
You can also help maintain your ceramide levels by using moisturizers that are ceramide-rich, or incorporating foods with essential fatty acids into your diet. These include foods like dairy, sweet potatoes, spinach, soy beans, eggs and brown rice.