What Is The Skin Barrier?
Commonly referred to as the skin barrier, the outermost layer of the skin’s surface has a scientific name: stratum corneum. The stratum corneum or the skin barrier is like a shield that protects the lower layers of skin from external damage.
Starting from the outside, your skin consists of three layers: epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, greatly impacts how healthy or unhealthy your skin looks.
The stratum corneum is made of three types of lipids (fats): cholesterol, fatty acids & ceramides.
Let’s talk about the most important one - ceramides.
What Are Ceramides? What Makes Them Important For Your Skin?
Ceramides are naturally occurring waxy lipid molecules found in between skin cells. They link cells together and form a protective, waterproof barrier. Ceramides are of 9 types and form approximately 50% of the skin’s barrier. They play a major role in retaining water, preventing loss of moisture from the skin, and defining skin health.
How Do Ceramides Hold The Skin Together?
Think of your skin as bricks in a wall and the ceramides as cement. The ceramides (cement) keep the skin cells (bricks) together by forming a protective layer.
With their excellent water holding capacity, ceramides perform their primary function of retaining moisture and preventing it from evaporating.
A drop in moisture levels causes gaps to form between the skin cells, allowing harmful bacteria and irritants to enter. If left untreated, it can lead to premature aging, acne, and skin conditions like acne.
What Happens When Your Skin Experiences A Loss Of Ceramides?
Lack Of Moisture and Dullness - Often, environmental stressors like dry heat, pollution, and excessive sun exposure damage the skin’s integrity. In fact, products that are known to be ‘good’ for your skin can cause harm. Simple habits like over cleansing or using hot water on the face can unknowingly affect the skin’s lipid barrier. This leads to a significant drop in the skin’s ceramide levels, causing transepidermal water loss and skin concerns like excessive dryness, flaking, peeling, and dullness.
Skin Infections and Accelerated Ageing - As discussed above, ceramides keep the skin barrier strong, healthy and smooth.
However, as they decline with age, the moisture levels begin to deplete as they evaporate from the skin. This breaks down the skin barrier, making it vulnerable and prone to premature aging, redness, and skin conditions like eczema. Using skin care products containing ceramides can slow down the aging process and improve the skin barrier function.
Where Do Ceramides Come From?
Ceramides are naturally produced in the body. However, a low ceramide count can be fixed by using plant-based ceramides. The disadvantage here is, plant-based ceramides can only hydrate the skin but are not effective enough to impart a young and radiant look.
Ceramides can also be derived from animal and human skin. However, they are not safe to be used in skin care products.
In this case, synthetic ceramides are the safest and most ethical solution. They are stable when incorporated into formulations, and moisturize and hydrate your skin effectively.
Why Does Your Skin Care Regimen Need Ceramides?
According to dermatologists, a healthy ceramide count is essential to improve skin’s appearance and keep it looking healthy and glowing.
However, it gets difficult to do this due to environmental stressors and pollutants consistently damaging the skin barrier.
Additionally, ceramide count can also reduce due to unconscious skin care mistakes like:
- Using harsh cleansers and alcohol-based toners that strip off all essential ceramides from the skin.
- Dehydrating factors like alcohol and smoking that deplete ceramides, making your skin look dull, dry, and lifeless.
- Using skin care products that contain synthetic fragrances.
- Using ineffective moisturizers that only cover your skin with an occlusive layer and protecting it only temporarily instead of compensating for regular ceramide loss.
- Using anti-aging products without ceramides. Since there is a drop in ceramide levels post 25, the skin barrier becomes vulnerable to damage.
- Following diets that lack essential fatty acids
Do Skinkraft Products Contain Ceramides?
SkinKraft uses ceramides as an essential ingredient in all its customized moisturizers to protect the skin barrier and maintain hydration levels. Although SkinKraft’s customized moisturizer formulations vary according to skin profiles, ceramides are the common ingredient included to ensure optimal skin health.
Want a skin care regimen that matches your skin’s exact needs? Start by understanding your skin’s unique profile by taking the SkinIDTM questionnaire.