Ceramides are long chains of skin lipids that are part of the skin's outer layers and help it retain moisture.
Person with dark curly hair with face cream swatched on their cheek

Ceramides are lipids that are naturally occurring in skin and help it retain moisture and protect it from external aggressors like pollution and UV rays. Adds board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, “ceramides are natural fats found in the outer skin layer that help form a protective seal between skin cells.” In other words, think of your skin cells like bricks and ceramides as the mortar that holds them together. 

As we age, ceramide levels in our skin drop, which is why it can be beneficial to incorporate the ingredient into your skincare routine to help maintain a moisturized, youthful and healthy complexion. 

“Ceramides are now commonly added to skincare products to help hydrate, repair and protect the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. “They are likely already in many of the products you are currently using.” Ceramides are most often found in moisturizers, but you can also find them in cleansers, serums and more. 

The Skincare Benefits of Ceramides

Replenishing ceramides with topical skincare products can help keep your skin moisturized, prevent dehydration and ward off environmental damage that accelerates premature aging. “They soften and protect the skin and are essential to maintaining a healthy skin barrier,” says Dr. Zeichner. When your skin has enough ceramides, it will also feel smoother and more supple. 

Who Should Use Ceramides?

Your skin will start producing less ceramides in your 20s. As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melissa Levin previously told Skincare.com, by your 30s, you’ll have lost about 40% of your skin’s natural ceramides, and by your 40s, that number goes up to 60%. This is why it’s never too early to start using products that contain ceramides. 

Ceramides are especially great for dry or mature skin or for those who want to prevent premature aging, but they can be used by all skin types, including oily and sensitive. They are also safe to use with other active ingredients such as retinol or glycolic acid. 

Five Ways to Incorporate Ceramides Into Your Routine


Foaming cleansers have a tendency to strip the skin of essential moisture, which is why we recommend using one that contains ceramides. With the CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser, you’ll get an effective cleanse and the satisfaction of a soapy texture, but your skin won’t feel dry or tight after use. 

CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser


Ceramides play well with other active ingredients, so you’ll find them in nourishing, age-fighting serums like the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Face Serum

Lancôme Advanced Génifique Face Serum

Eye Cream 

The eye area is one of the first places to show signs of aging and when dry, crow’s feet and wrinkles can look more pronounced. Combat premature aging and keep the area moisturized with an eye cream that contains ceramides, like the IT Cosmetics Confidence In an Eye Cream. Pro tip: Opt for the jumbo size for more bang for your buck. 

IT Cosmetics Confidence In an Eye Cream


Perhaps the most obvious place to find ceramides is in a moisturizer. The SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 contains ceramides, natural cholesterol and fatty acids — a combination that the brand claims is ideal for nourishing skin and correcting signs of aging.

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2


Ceramides are found in all of CeraVe’s products, including its sunscreens, like the CeraVe Sheer Tint Hydrating Sunscreen With SPF. For oily and combination skin types, these multi-taskers can double as a moisturizer, while dry skin types can benefit from the moisture boost when layered on top of a ceramide-rich day cream. 

CeraVe Sheer Tint Hydrating Sunscreen With SPF
Photo: Anisha Sisodia
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