Ceramide boosting is so much more than moisturising. Anyone with dry or oily skin – and even those with other skin problems such as eczema, ichthyosis, psoriasis, rosacea and acne – can benefit from ceramide supplementation.

Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) control is critical for healthy skin. Water is always travelling out of the skin and there are various structures and processes in place to control the rate of TEWL.

The membranes of skin cells and the oils produced by the skin have an important role to play in maintaining skin cell integrity (life) and influencing the ageing process. Lipids are a critical component in maintaining the structural shape and moisture retaining the functionality of the skin. They are also important in controlling the rate of TEWL.

Over time and due to factors such as hormonal changes, life changes and medication, the skin can become lipid deficient. Supplementing lipids in the skin so new skin cells are made with a high lipid density is essential for any anti-ageing regimen.

Ceramides and natural ingredients that release ceramides can be used by the skin to produce more lipid dense tissue. Many skin conditions lead to TEWL being compromised and many of these conditions can be ameliorated by addressing TEWL, but it’s how you do it.

It is now known ceramides can actually act as a signalling molecule. The most well-known functions of ceramides as cellular signals include regulating the differentiation, proliferation, programmed cell death or apoptosis of cells.

The top layer of the skin is the epidermis, and the top layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum. Even though the SC is very thin – 10-40 micrometres – it is the main barrier of the skin. It keeps chemicals that come in contact with the skin from absorbing into the body, and it keeps water inside the skin from leaching out.

Lipids in the Skin

The Stratum corneum contains three types of lipids – ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids. These lipids have different chemical compositions and different functions throughout the body. There are nine different types of ceramides in the Stratum corneum conveniently named ceramide 1 through to ceramide 9, and they account for 40 to 50% of the lipids in this outermost layer.

Ceramides and Skin Disease

Eczema sufferers have significantly fewer ceramides in their Stratum Corneum. Psoriasis sufferers in contrast have the same number of ceramides compared to people with normal skin. However, the psoriasis-sufferers have less ceramide 1, 3, 4, and a subset of 5 and 6; and more ceramide 2 and another sub-set of 5.

Boosting Ceramides Improves Eczema

Recent studies have shown that lipids can be replenished using topical preparations. And we have approaching 100 users who have stopped or who now infrequently use their topical steroid creams.

Interestingly, all three lipids (ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids) have to be replaced at a certain ratio to restore the barrier function of the skin. If the incorrect balance of lipids is applied, it actually takes longer for the skin to heal. The effect of ceramides has been studied in eczema, but not yet for psoriasis. However, we have a number of reports with before and after pictures from clinics who have used ceramide boosting creams on psoriasis with great success. It’s not a cure but it seems to ameliorate symptoms consistently.

Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) happens in everyone but is usually abnormal and excessive in people with skin issues, ageing skin, sun damaged skin, and many skin conditions ranging from acne, eczema, psoriasis and even ichthyosis. Ignore TEWL control at your peril or your client’s peril. Failing to control TEWL can exacerbate skin conditions and can lead to conditions not experienced for years coming back, such as having an acne break-out 20 years after the last one following a clinical procedure.

Ceramides play an important part in controlling cellular water loss and also skin water loss. Water loss leads to dehydration. Dehydration impairs cellular function and can hasten cell death. Also dehydration leads to a lower resistance to energy damage such as from the sun and free radical damage is higher too.

Skin can respond by increasing skin lipid content to compensate, but in some, this is impaired and skin can crack and dry. In other skin types, oil production is increased to compensate and skin cell production increases to thicken the skin. This can lead to the development of acne and also T Zones.

What Can You Do to Boost Your Ceramides?

There are certain foods that you can eat that contain the key ceramides, including brown rice, whole-grain wheat, sweet potato, soybeans, spinach, millet, dairy products and eggs. It’s good to supplement ceramides in this way but this won’t provide instant relief and is better to consume ceramides alongside a ceramide boosting skin care product.

The Tebiskin® Cera-Boost contain all 9 of the key ceramides that are required to restore the lipid levels within your skin for a healthy, hydrated and shine-free complexion, giving your skin an instant boost. SkinMed has had amazing success with Tebiskin® Cera-Boost in many skin situations. Using SkinVital® C E Ferulic with B3 and B5 to incorporate vitamins C and E and natural anti-erythema ingredients has further enhanced results on top of providing the correct balance of all 9 key ceramides.

To Summarise

If you struggle with dry and flaky skin, or even excessively oily skin, you need to boost your ceramides. It’s so important in maintaining the health of your skin. See SkinMed®’s Hydration Protocol for more details.