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What are ceramides and what can they do for my skin?

WORDS BY MAGGIE ZHOU

The answer to your dry skin and acne woes. 

Look, I’m going to be frank with you. I had never heard of ceramides before this article. I am the ultimate skincare newbie. I am a blank canvas, a bare face, if you will.  

That’s why I’ve been chatting to my friend and research scientist turned digital creator Hannah English. She’s given me the lowdown on retinol, double cleansing and AHAs and BHAs, so I thought I’d also pick her brains about ceramides. 

Tell me Hannah, what are ceramides?

“Ceramides are a barrier lipid. The top layer of your skin [is made up of dead skin] cells that are almost ready to come off. The cells sit in a matrix, it’s kind of like bricks and mortar and the mortar holding it in is made up of barrier lipids,” Hannah says.

“The mortar holding it in is made up of barrier lipids – ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids. Your skin’s barrier’s job is to keep germs and irritants out and keep water in.”

Who should include them in their skincare routine? 

“If you are getting dry skin or dehydrated skin where it’s tight but oily, then your barrier probably needs a bit of help. If you want to restore your barrier, ceramides are great, they keep everything moisturised and not irritated. Even in the oiliest most acne-prone skin, acne severity is correlated with skin barrier impairment. By improving your barrier, you can improve dry skin as well as acne,” says Hannah.

According to Paula’s Choice, this will increase hydration and give you plumper, smoother and firmer-feeling skin. 

Product recommendations?

CeraVe has ceramides. There’s also this Kate Somerville range at Mecca called DeliKate and that’s got ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids – it’s very soothing for skin and good for a winter moisturiser,” Hannah recommends.

 

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Have we talked about replenishing and rebuilding skin enough this week? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Never. Lots to be said for that repair step in your routine! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It may not be as instantly gratifying as say, a peel, but it’s the foundation of a good skincare regimen. You kind of… can’t have one without the other. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The @katesomervilleskincare Delikate Recovery Serum is perfect for all but the oiliest skin types, and especially so for sensitive babes (hi! Same!). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s actually the brand’s Ceramides and Omegas serum repackaged, so those of you familiar with that product already KNOW! I’ve talked about it before too! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The texture is … not watery, but not thick, never pills, and it contains (you guessed it!) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ☁️ Ceramides (3 different kinds!) ☁️ Cholesterol and vitamin E, ☁️ Glycerin, an absolute workhorse of a humectant (That means water-grabbing molecule ✨✨✨) ☁️ Cucumber seed and sea buckthorn oils (sea buckthorn is a particularly great oil for acne prone and stressed skin due to its wound healing properties) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We love a ceramide and an omega fatty acid because these are naturally present in our skin, so it knows where they go and what to do with them! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If your winter skin will NOT play ball, this is what it needs. Just layer under your moisturiser and you’ll be set. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ side note: the entire line is fragrance free, because what’s left out is important too. I must talk properly about the whole ~fragrance~ thing soon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ *PR gifted with no obligation to post, just the line really speaks to me. I might have mentioned. Haha

A post shared by Hannah English (@ms_hannah_e) on

“Some of QV’s Intensive products have ceramides [as well as] niacinamide. Niacinamide can signal the skin to make more of its own ceramides which is pretty cool,” Hannah says.  

Ceramides make up 50 per cent of a skin’s composition, meaning it’s worth taking note of this often-overlooked fat.I feel like the best skincare works by supplementing what the skin’s already doing,” agrees Hannah.

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