What are Ceramides?

Do you have a cabinet full of lotions and moisturizers but you’re still battling dry skin? It’s time to start thinking about ceramides. Ceramides, which are naturally a part of everyone’s skin, are a key component to the integrity of healthy skin.  If you have dry, skin, the issue may be that you don’t have enough natural ceramides in your skin. Here’s what you need to know about ceramides and how to achieve healthy feeling, moisturized skin.

 

What Is Skin Made Up Of?

As the largest organ of the human body, your skin is the crucial barrier between the outside world and your inner organs and tissues. Essentially your skin’s function is to protect your other organs and keep them safe from external aggressors.  Your skin is made up of two main layers, each playing an important part in the function of your skin.
 
The deeper layer of the skin is called the dermis. It contains all the blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles and sweat and oil glands. The dermis is where we sense pain, touch and temperature. It also helps regulate body temperature by expanding and contracting blood vessels to retain heat or cool the body down.

 The epidermis is the topmost layer of your skin—the part you can see and touch. It contains many tightly knit cells that form a protective barrier against the outside environment to keep all the harmful germs, chemicals, and foreign objects away from the dermis and other vital organs. The outermost layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum. If you have dry, sensitive skin the stratum corneum is the layer of skin that is affected. This is also the layer where ceramides are found. 

What Is Healthy Skin?

Healthy looking skin contains lots of ceramides, a naturally occuringlipid or fat molecule, which works as a glue that holds those tightly knit cells of the stratum corneum together. Ultimately, the cells of the stratum corneum are like bricks in a wall and the ceramides serve as the mortar holding those bricks together. Ceramides help keep the “wall” of the stratum corneum  strong and resilient. A healthy stratum corneum  is able to defend against external irritants and keep hydration in the skin, helping the skin look and feel softer, smoother and firmer, with less appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

What Happens When Skin Doesn't Have Enough Ceramides?

About half of a healthy epidermis should be made up of ceramides. But when ceramides are in short supply due to environmental factors, behaviors, or external irritants such as chemicals or harsh cleansers, the cells of the epidermis are no longer held firmly in place and the “wall” is no longer strong and impenetrable. This weakened barrier makes the skin more susceptible to outside irritants, accelerating the decline of skin health. As ceramide levels decline the cells begin to break free from the rigid structure of the epidermis, leading to that feeling of tight and  dry, sensitive skin. With a weakened barrier, your skin can’t hold the cells ofthe stratum corneum together allowing moisture to escape the skin easily, leaving skin rough and dehydrated. A weakened barrier also makes your skin more vulnerable to infection, inflammation and flare ups of skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis.

 
How Do You Replenish Skin's Moisture Barrier?

While aging and some environmental factors, like weather just can’t be avoided, with the right help you can start to replenish your skin’s ceramide levels, restore moisture, and help rebuild that protective barrier.
 
All Curél moisturizers are formulated with ceramides and help repair your skin’s moisture barrier, allowing it to lock in moisture for softer, healthier feeling skin.

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