What Do Ceramides in Skincare Do?

What Do Ceramides in Skincare Do?

If you’re at all into skincare, you’ve no doubt heard about ceramides. “Ceramides” are often boasted on the labels of products from overnight creams to daily moisturizers.

But what, exactly, are ceramides? And why are they so important in your skincare routine? 

In this article, we’ll talk about what ceramides are, what they do, why you need to implement them in your skincare routine (especially as you age!), and how to go about doing so. 

What are Ceramides?

Ceramides are the lipids (fatty, oily compounds) that make up about 50 percent of everyone’s epidermis, or outer layer of skin .1 In fact, ceramides are synthesized in all humans, as well as in most animals and plants.2 

Natural ceramides are essential for creating a healthy skin barrier, or as Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Clara Wilson says, they are the “glue that holds our skin cells together.”1 

Unfortunately, it can be hard for our bodies to produce enough ceramides on their own, especially as we age. This is where synthetic ceramides found in ceramide creams and ceramide moisturizers come in.

What do Ceramides do?

As we mentioned, natural ceramides act as the “glue” that holds our skin cells together. Among other things, aging naturally decreases the rate at which our skin can replenish its ceramides .1 

So, introducing products that either contain ceramides or contain ingredients like niacinamide, which boosts the body’s production of ceramides, can strengthen and maintain your skin’s barrier, as well as hydrate, protect, and repair your skin .1,3

Better still, a combination of the two ingredients can make for a strong and healthy skin barrier. For example, Foundation Skincare’s newest formulation of the Niacinamide Lotion 10% now includes both Niacinamide itself and added ceramides to tackle the issue of hydration from all angles. 

Strengthen & Maintain Barrier Function

Having a healthy skin barrier is not just vital to beautiful skin; it’s also vital to human life. The skin barrier is there to protect the body from external threats like chemicals, infections, and allergens. Internally, it helps maintain homeostasis and protects you from losing too much water .4 

Using a moisturizer with ceramides is one of the top recommendations from doctors and dermatologists in strengthening and maintaining your skin’s barrier.5 Like we mentioned, Foundation Skincare’s Niacinamide lotion now includes ceramides, and it can be used both daily and nightly in your skincare routine. 


Ceramide creams lock in moisture, keeping the skin soft and plump. This is especially important as we age, as skin will naturally become thinner and less elastic .1 

This is also important for people with eczema, who naturally have lower ceramide levels in their skin.6 The hydrating effect of ceramides can help reduce the itchiness associated with dehydrated skin .1 


The skin barrier is there to protect the body; essentially blocking the “bad stuff” from getting in. Adding in a moisturizer with ceramides or a good ceramide cream helps keep out harmful environmental elements, including allergens, pollution, and toxins.1  

In fact, some recent research shows that implementing ceramides can help prevent and treat certain skin diseases .7


The skin barrier can be damaged after using harsh products or soaps, certain laser treatments, over-exfoliating, not using a moisturizer, or can be the result of certain medical conditions like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema. Signs of a damaged skin barrier include dryness, flakiness, acne, redness, itching, sensitivity, or stinging .5

Moisturizers with ceramides are top of every dermatologist’s list when it comes to repairing the skin’s protective barrier. In fact, they are so effective, clinicians often recommend a ceramide cream after even the most intense facials or lasers.

Why are Ceramides Important? 

Ceramides play a critical role in maintaining your skin’s protective barrier. They basically act as the bouncer, protecting your body from external elements like pollution, allergens, or infections, as well as holding onto water to prevent dryness .1

What Causes a Lack of Ceramides?

Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies naturally produce lower levels of ceramides .1 People with eczema also seem to have lower ceramide levels .6 

There are also things you can do to your skin that reduce your level of ceramides. These include: 

How to Increase Ceramides in Your Everyday Skincare Routine

The most direct way to increase ceramides through your skincare routine is to use moisturizers with ceramides or ceramide creams. In the ingredients, look for “Ceramide 1,” (or “Ceramide EOS”), “Ceramide 3” (“Ceramide NP”),” or “Ceramide 6-II” (“Ceramide AP”) .1 

You can also implement products that help your body’s natural production of ceramides. Research shows that niacinamide cream has a stimulating effect on ceramide synthesis, as well as boosts the body’s levels of keratin .3 

Studies show that vitamin C can also help increase ceramides .9 This means both taking vitamin C orally and using topical C products, like Foundation Skincare’s Vitamin C Lotion 20%

Better still, you can combine a moisturizer with ceramides, niacinamide cream, as well as vitamin C, topically and orally. Foundation Skincare’s Niacinamide Lotion 10% not only contains niacinamide, which helps the body’s ceramide production, but it also contains additional Ceramide NP. You can safely combine this product with the Vitamin C Lotion 20%, layering from thinnest consistency to thickest. 

Top this off with a daily Pigmentation Defense supplement, which contains 60 milligrams of Vitamin C, and you’ll be increasing your ceramides from all angles. 

Find more tips and resources on maintaining healthy hair and skin in the FS Blog.

  1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/ceramides
  2. https://www.lipidmaps.org/resources/lipidweb/lipidweb_html/lipids/sphingo/ceramide/index.htm 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17147561/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5967208/ 
  5. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/skin-barrier 
  6. https://nationaleczema.org/blog/what-is-my-skin-barrier/ 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34283373/ 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12553851/ 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624068/
Back to blog