By Skincare Junkie Inc

Derm’s Guide to Ceramides, The Ultimate Moisturizers

Ceramides are skincare ingredients that you have likely heard of or used. Similar to other skincare superheroes, such as CoQ10, squalane, and hyaluronic acid, ceramides are powerhouse ingredients essential for maintaining healthy, hydrated, and youthful skin. What are ceramides, how do they support your skin health, and how to use them safely and effectively? We asked our founder and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Murphy-Rose, to share her advice. 

What Are Ceramides?

Ceramides are lipids (fats) that are found naturally in the outer layers of the skin. Think of them as the glue that holds your skin cells together, creating a protective barrier that locks moisture in and shields against environmental aggressors such as bacteria, pollutants, and irritants. Ceramides make up around 50% of the outer skin layer (epidermis).  

Ceramides are vital for a healthy skin barrier and we need them to prevent transepidermal water loss—when the skin barrier is compromised, more water may pass through the epidermis and evaporate on the skin’s surface. The skin may become dehydrated and inflamed as a result, and this could lead to inflammatory conditions, such as eczema or acne.

The skin barrier is composed of skin cells (corneocytes) held together by lipids (including ceramides). It maintains hydration, prevents water loss, and ensures overall skin health. A strong and healthy skin barrier helps keep skin smooth, resilient, and less prone to irritation or infections.

Without sufficient ceramides, our skin becomes vulnerable to damage and premature aging. As we age, the level of ceramides in our skin decreases, leading to dryness, irritation, and the contributing to fine lines and wrinkles. We can replenish ceramides by applying ceramide-containing skincare products. 

ceramides in a bottle

Are Ceramides Emollients or Occlusives? 

There are three main types of ingredients used to keep skin hydrated, says Dr. Murphy-Rose: 

  1. Humectants are water-attracting ingredients that draw moisture from the environment to the skin’s surface. Common humectants include glycerin and hyaluronic acid
  2. Emollients are ingredients that moisturize and soften skin. Ceramides belong to this group. 
  3. Occlusives create an impermeable shield that locks in moisture to prevent transepidermal water losses. Common occlusives include petrolatum and waxes. Another skincare superhero (also found in our Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer), squalane is both an occlusive and an emollient! 

Benefits of Ceramides for Different Skin Types

Ceramides are suitable for all skin types and offer a myriad of skin benefits. They help to protect and moisturize the skin, boost hydration, soften and smooth skin, reduce inflammation and redness (including help with acne!), and reduce signs of aging. 

Those with dry, sensitive, or aging skin benefit especially, as ceramides can reduce irritation, alleviate dryness, and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by replenishing lost lipids and improving skin elasticity. Dermatologists recommend ceramide-rich products for those with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and rosacea where restoring the skin barrier is key. 

Ceramides are generally safe for all skin types. As always, before starting to use a new skincare product, it’s a good idea to patch-test it or, if in doubt, get advice from your dermatologist. 

woman is applying cream to her face

How to Incorporate Ceramides Into Your Skincare Routine

Integrating ceramides into your skincare routine is easier than you might think. We recommend using a ceramide-rich moisturizer both morning and night for continuous protection and hydration. Also consider integrating a ceramide-rich, gentle cleanser into your routine. 

Begin with a gentle, ceramide-infused cleanser to remove impurities without stripping your skin. Dr. Murphy-Rose recommends Skincare Junkie® Gently Jelly Facial Cleanser. It effectively removes makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil, helping to prevent breakouts. BuzzFeed listed it as a product that will revolutionize your skincare routine! 

After toning and applying your serums, lock in hydration with a ceramide-packed moisturizer. Skincare Junkie® Megadose Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer is a deeply hydrating, non-comedogenic formulation. Several molecular-weight forms of hyaluronic acid draw water to the skin surface while ceramides and squalane lock in that moisture for lasting hydration and skin barrier protection. This is the first moisturizer on the market that combines 10 of the most potent, clinically proven topical antioxidants. Elle called our moisturizer the best antioxidant moisturizer! 

Dermatologist FAQs  

1. Can I use ceramides with other active ingredients like retinol or vitamin C?

Yes, ceramides can be safely combined with most active ingredients. They often enhance the efficacy of other products by improving skin barrier function and reducing irritation.

2. Are ceramides suitable for oily or acne-prone skin?

Absolutely! Ceramides help maintain a healthy moisture balance without clogging pores, making them ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.

3. How to store a product containing ceramides? 

Airless packaging and an opaque bottle are ideal for protecting your ceramide-rich product from air and light exposure and extending its shelf life. Also, keep an eye on the product expiration date.