By Guest Author: Hilary Hunt
It’s spring, so I have been working in the garden. Things that need fixing up after a long winter: A faded patio chair. A worn tomato planter box. A chipped and cracked pot where I plant basil. The edging around my raspberries where the grass has begun to creep in.
Every year it’s the same, but I don’t mind the investment, because I’m looking forward. I anticipate those summer nights when I’ll sit in my backyard sanctuary with friends and family, enjoying bruschetta with ingredients that I grew myself.
Much like a backyard garden enduring season after season of exposure to the elements, our skin could use a little spruce-up too. Because, dear reader, we’re looking forward, anticipating future joy from the investment we make in the present. And that includes investing in the skin we’re in.
And so, when considering how to best care for every season of your skin, don’t overlook the restorative and protective capabilities of ceramides–the skin sprucer-upper you may be missing.
What are ceramides?
Ceramides are a lipid (or fat molecule) that is created naturally in our skin. In an oft-used metaphor by dermatologists, ceramides are compared to the mortar that holds your skin cells–or the bricks–together, fortifying your skin barrier so you keep moisture in and bad stuff out. Healthy levels of ceramides support smooth, soft skin.
Much like hyaluronic acid, another naturally occurring skin hydrator, ceramide levels in our skin decrease with age and can become compromised by external factors. Sun exposure, dry weather, pollution, hot water, soaps, hand sanitizers, and anything else that strips your skin of oils will deplete your skin’s barrier. These decreased levels of ceramides in the stratum corneum (the top layer of skin) can lead to skin that is dry, itchy, irritated, and vulnerable to premature or accelerated aging. Which may leave you wondering…
How do I boost my ceramides?
While mere mortals can’t avoid aging altogether, we can at least supplement our ceramides and give our skin barrier some assistance in doing its job. Ceramide supplements most often come from plant-derived sources (or phytoceramides) like brown rice and wheat. Research supports that ceramide supplementation “could improve disturbed skin conditions.” In particular, atopic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis are some of the “disturbed skin conditions” that can benefit from ceramide supplementation.
With ingestible ceramides, you can support your skin’s barrier. The ceramides delivered to your skin will also help you better retain moisture, avoiding what is called TEWL, or transepidermal water loss. The result: you start enjoying smoother, softer, more resilient skin.
True, you can also use topical ceramides, but they can have difficulty penetrating the deeper layers of skin where ceramides are produced, and topical treatments are localized only to areas of application. In contrast, an ingestible ceramide works from the inside out, on a cellular level, delivering those moisture-retaining molecules to your entire body of skin.
Skin has seasons of its own that bring changes, but by taking advantage of ingestible ceramides, we can give our skin barrier a spruce-up, or glow-up, or whatever you want to call it. So, raise your ceramide supplements, ladies. Here’s to warm summer nights in the backyard, featuring you in the hottest thing in any season: smooth, soft, hydrated skin.