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Ceramides in Skin Care: Everything You Need to Know

Ceramides in Skin Care: Everything You Need to Know

aos Skincare Ceramides Oil Photo 

Your skin contains fatty acids known as ceramides. They protect the skin and prevent it from dryness and infection. Many creams and moisturizers contain ceramides. Applying ceramide-rich moisturizers can help restore your skin’s natural ceramide levels and improve its health. 

What Are Ceramides?

Ceramides are a family of lipids, unique in that they're "waxy oils"- molecules that are kind of in-between an oil and a wax that are found in our skin.They make up 30% to 40% of our outer skin layer, the epidermis, and help protect the skin from environmental aggressors such as pollution & allergens.
Ceramides are also important for retaining our skin’s moisture. These tiny molecules function as the "glue" that holds our skin together. Picture your outer layer of skin like a brick wall. Your skin cells are the "bricks" and ceramides are the mortar in between, creating a semi-permeable barrier. This outer skin layer serves as our body’s first line of defense to external pollution, toxins and germs. Low ceramide levels have been linked to dry skin conditions such as eczema and impaired skin barrier function.

Where Do Ceramides Come From?

There are natural and synthetic ceramides. Natural ceramides are found in the outer layers of your skin, as well as in animals and plants like jojoba and soybeans. Synthetic ceramides (also known as pseudoceramides) are man-made. Because they're inexpensive, easier to formulate with, free from contaminants and more stable than natural ceramides, synthetic ceramides are more commonly used in skin care products. We only use organic plant oils in our formulas and never add synthetic ceramides. Why? Because plant oils contain a vast array of nutrients and offer other skin benefits!
We formulate our products with plant oils that are rich in both ceramides and fatty acids:
  • Jojoba oil: Contains up to 96% ceramides.
  • Sunflower oil: 68% ceramides.
  • Hemp oil: 60% ceramides.

Ceramides in Skin Care

Ceramides make for excellent skin care ingredients. Topical application has been proven to improve skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne and chronic dryness and restore a healthy skin barrier.

In addition to boosting the structure and integrity of the skin barrier, ceramides are known for their pro-aging and hydrating properties. The best part is that because ceramides are considered a skin-identical ingredient (because they’re naturally occurring), ceramides are suitable for all skin types and work well with other skin care ingredients.

How to Spot Ceramides on Ingredient Labels

In natural skin care, look for the plant oils listed above. Ceramides can also be extracted from rice, sweet potatoes, and yeast.

Synthetic (human created in a lab) ceramides may be listed as:

  • Ceramide ending in 1, 2, 3, 6 II, EOS, EOP, NG, NP, NS, and AP.
  • N-stearoyl sphinganine
  • N-stearoyl phytosphingosine
  • α-hydroxy-N-stearoylphytosphingosine
  • Caproyl sphingosine
  • Cetyl-PG Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide
  • Hexadecanamide

Ceramide Functions In the Skin

The major cosmetic purpose of ceramides is to support the skin barrier function. Making up at least half of the skin barrier, ceramides play an integral role in skin integrity, protection against the elements, and skin structure. Without adequate ceramides, the skin barrier loses its integrity and becomes prone to various skin disorders and skin barrier dysfunction.

3 Major Functions of Ceramides

aos Skincare Skin Structure Illustration of Ceramides

  1. Skin Barrier Homeostasis

Our skin barrier, like the rest of our body is healthy and functioning properly when it's in homeostasis (healthy balance). We need the perfect ratio of  50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% free fatty acids. When this balance is thrown off, our skin barrier is disrupted. Among a lot of other things, we make less ceramides as we age. Fortunately, our skin can absorb ceramides, so it’s recommended to incorporate products containing them in your skin care routine to promote skin barrier homeostasis.


aos Skincare Illustration Showing Healthy and Unhealthy Skin Barrier

  1. Improve Hydration

Since ceramides account for half of the gel-like lipid layer holding up skin cells in the Stratum Corneum , their water-holding function is no surprise. Ceramides have been considered to improve Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and has been proven to significantly improve hydration in skin.

aos Skincare Skin Structure Showing Transepidermal water loss

  1. Prevent or Treat Distressed Skin

While ceramides boost skin hydration, they’re also crucial in repairing distressed skin. Impaired skin barrier function is associated with several skin disorders, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and some genetic disorders. We craft targeted treatments like our Skin Doctor Salve and Zinc Rescue Cream to reduce the dryness, itching and discomfort that can be caused by these conditions.

aos Ceramide-Rich Formulas

From our humble beginnings in 2001, we've packed every product with ceramide-rich oils. Our flagship product, Skin Doctor Salve, is made with cold-pressed olive oil and hemp seed oil. Every moisturizer we make, both for body and face, is enriched with jojoba oil (96% ceramides) and sunflower oil is the base of all of our body moisturizers. You can rest assured that every aos product is designed with your skin's ultimate health in mind!
angelina swanson aos skincare Angelina Swanson is the founder and chief formulator at aos [ angelina organic skincare ]. A self-described plant chemistry nerd, she's spent more than thirty years researching and developing skincare formulas that keep our skin healthy and radiant.

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