beauty

Let's talk about 'ceramides', the little-known skincare heroes for dry, sensitive skin.

CeraVe
Thanks to our brand partner, CeraVe

If you have sensitive skin, it can be hard to know which skincare ingredients are best to add into your routine without making your face (and body) freak out. Especially when you’re already dealing with other seasonal concerns like dryness (thanks, winter).

That's why it's time to talk about ceramides, the little-known skincare heroes for those of us with sensitive skin. Once you know all about them and what they do, you’ll understand why you're seeing them around a little more, and how they might be your moisturising saviour for that dry winter skin.

Speaking to Mamamia, CeraVe's Medical Relations Manager, Rachel McAdam told us everything you need to know about ceramides, from why they're important to which skin types respond best to them (hint: that's all of them!). 

Here's what he had to tell us: 

What are ceramides and why are they good for our skin?

To understand what ceramides are, let's think about our skin's protective barrier. This top layer of our skin keeps the good things like moisture in and the bad things like dirt out, according to McAdam.

"The substance which exists between the skin cells predominately consists of ceramides, which are a class of lipids (or fats)," McAdam explained.

Ceramides help our skin's protective barrier do its job by helping to retain moisture and keep your skin hydrated.

"Research has shown that ceramides can increase by up to 10 per cent when a ceramide-containing moisturiser, like CeraVe Moisturising Cream, is applied to the skin daily or four weeks."

What happens if ceramides are lacking in our skin?

Now that we know what ceramides are and what they do, it’s easy to see why skin that is lacking them is in a bit of trouble.

"Ceramides are important for a healthy skin barrier function, which allows the skin to do a better job at keeping moisture in and irritants out," McAdam said.

"When the skin lacks ceramides, we know that the skin becomes more vulnerable to both moisture loss as well as irritation which in turn leads to setbacks such as flaky, itchy, red and generally unhappy skin."

Which skin types benefit most from ceramides?

The good news is, all skin types can benefit from ceramides.

"But especially dry, irritated eczema-prove skin and skin that lacks hydration and luminosity," McAdam said.

That's because studies have shown that skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema and even acne are linked to a deficiency in essential ceramides.

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"Providing the skin with a formula that contains skin-aligned ingredients such as ceramides can help reinforce the barrier function and hydration," McAdam added.

How do I add ceramides to my skincare routine?

If you’re looking for a range of skincare high in ceramides, CeraVe is worth trying, according to McAdam.

The formulations were developed by dermatologists and also utilise MVE Technology, a system that slowly releases ceramides and other key ingredients into the skin to provide 24-hour hydration.

"CeraVe formulations all contain a lipid 'cocktail', which includes three different ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids," he said. "The ceramides in CeraVe are Ceramides 1, 3 and 6-II. Each type is naturally found in the skin and plays an important role in supporting the skin barrier function and keeping the skin hydrated."

Three of the key products in their range include the Moisturising Cream, Moisturising Lotion and Hydrating Cleanser. The cream is richer and creamier in texture, while the lotion is more lightweight, and the hydrating cleanser refreshes your skin without leaving it feeling dry or tight.

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All of them also contain hyaluronic acid, the ingredient that helps attract hydration to the skin's surface and lock it in; and they're all non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. So, what are they like?

Tried and tested by you.

Aside from having a dermatologist's tick of approval, 97 women from Mamamia's You Beauty Panel trialled the CeraVe range to tell us exactly what they thought of the products - and 95 of them said they'd recommend it. 

Here's what a few of our Youbies had to say:

Jessica, 27

Jessica told us she's always battled dry and sensitive skin as well as eczema that likes to come and go.

She started using the cleanser on her face and all over her body, focusing on the dry areas and alternated daily between the cream and lotion. 

"I love that the products are fragrance free and all super easy to use. The cream and lotion both spread very easily and I didn't feel I had to 'keep rubbing them in' like other creams and lotions," she said.

"You also don't need to use much product either, so a little goes a long way and means they last longer.The packaging is good if I want to take them away. I saw a difference on my dry skin within two days, which I was really pleased with."

You Beauty Panel reviewers (clockwise): Jessica, Nadia and Aimee. 

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Emily, 29

Emily has been using products for sensitive skin since she was an "acne-ridden teenager". She's only used one cleanser for much of her life as her skin becomes easily inflamed, red and itchy, so she gave CeraVe a try.

"Even products that typically read 'non-irritating' or 'hypoallergenic' can give me hives," Emily told us. "All three of these products however, were the right consistency, deeply hydrating and quickly absorbed.

"I alternated the Moisturising Lotion and Moisturising Cream on the driest area of my entire body - my neglected legs. These were easy to love! Even the thicker of the two absorbed surprisingly quickly and my skin felt soft even days between applications."

Rebekka, 31

Rebekka has found her skin to be dry and sensitive post pregnancy. After recently giving birth, she’s been using the cleanser on her décolletage as she is breastfeeding at the moment.

"The hydrating cleanser will be my new go-to. I love it," she said. "I have been using it every day and it has definitely helped with the hydration of my skin and in turn, helped with redness and inflammation.

"The moisturising lotion is lovely and light - good for the face and body. The moisturising cream has been a godsend for the dry skin on my legs - no more skin flakes when I pull off my leggings!"

Stephanie, 42

Stephanie has dry and eczema-prone skin and had just finished a week of steroids to deal with a mighty flare-up when she tried the CeraVe range. She used the lotion in the morning, cream at night and cleanser in the shower.

"My skin was a good baseline to start but could also have easily flared up again. These products are frankly excellent," she said. 

"I've used everything in the past three months and nothing really locked the moisture in. But right off the bat, the cream did that. I don't generally use body wash; I use olive oil but it was OK and caused no problems. I will use the two moisturisers again for sure."

Have you tried products with ceramides, like CeraVe? Let us know below what's worked for you.

Feature image: Getty.

*Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

CeraVe
Over 80 women tried using ceramides in their skincare routine. Here’s what some of them had to say. If you have dry and irritated skin, allow us to introduce you to a dermatologist’s go-to savour. They’re the answer you’ve been looking for when it comes to sorting out our dry winter skin.
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