Most of us know that moisturisers are an essential step in our skincare routine (if you haven’t made it a habit, it’s time to invest in a moisturiser!), but not many may know what key ingredients to look out for.
An ingredient that has been popularised in recent times is hyaluronic acid – many skincare products are more than happy to boast that they contain this ingredient, which is actually a clear and gooey substance naturally produced by skin.
Ceramides: the new it ingredient
In the beauty industry, most ingredient fads come and go, so it’s little surprise that another one has been brewing for some time and is now widely embraced by many skincare brands: ceramides. It may sound familiar – maybe you have seen it somewhere in an ingredient list of your new moisturiser, but never really knew what it is, or what it does for your skin.
The truth is, ceramides are actually lipids, or in other words, fats! They are found naturally high concentrations in uppermost layers of skin. According to Paula’s Choice, ceramides make up over half of your skin’s composition, so you can tell that they play a vital role when it comes to determining how healthy your skin is.
Ceramides help to hold skin together by forming a protective layer that limits moisture loss and protects against visible damage from environmental stressors. In addition, ceramides have been proven to be the key to fighting skin ageing, and are even more potent than other ingredients you may be familiar with, such as retinol, niacinamide, and peptides.
As ceramides are naturally a part of your skin, they are actually ideal for all skin types – yes, even if you have sensitive, breakout-prone, or oily skin. Moisturisers with ceramides are also safe to use around sensitive areas like the eyes, so long as the product is free of fragrances and irritants.
If our body can produce ceramides, why do we need them in our moisturisers?
Just like hyaluronic acid and collagen, our body loses ceramides over time. Harold Lancer, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, explains that ceramides are depleted over time as we age, specifically after age the age of twenty, as the body produces fewer ceramides at a loss of one percent per year.
That means if you are thirty years old this year, your body is producing 10% fewer ceramides than its optimum level!
Besides age, there are also a couple of other factors that can cause your skin to lose ceramides. Seasonal changes (like cold, dry winter air) and an overuse of soaps or exfoliants, which can upset your skin’s pH balance, are common culprits of ceramide depletion as well.
When your skin does not contain enough ceramides, it really shows: your skin barrier is compromised, resulting in dryness and irritation of the skin. In fact, recent research has proven that low ceramide levels are linked to skin conditions, including eczema.
What are some of the best moisturisers that contain ceramides?
If you are convinced that ceramides are the new it ingredient you want to have in your moisturiser, that’s great! However, not all moisturisers may have ceramides as their star ingredient, which can make it a little difficult for you to identify if it is present in the formula.
Most products will include the word ceramide on the ingredients label (ceramide AP, EOP, NG, NP, or NS). In other cases, they may show ingredients such as phytosphingosine and sphingosine, which are ingredients known as ceramide precursors. Precursors are not ceramides, but they can nudge skin into making ceramides. That is also fantastic for your skin, as it is encouraging the natural production of necessary lipids to keep your skin healthy.
What you should also look out for are the other ingredients that your moisturisers are formulated with. The truth is, your skincare products are usually made with many other chemicals other than the star ingredient(s), some of which can cause allergic reactions or other health issues if you have sensitive skin. As a general guideline, ceramides are most effective when combined with other skin-replenishing ingredients like fatty acids, glycerin, and cholesterol.
To make things easier for you, we compiled 10 of the best ceramide moisturisers on the market below:
1. Ceradan Hydra Moisturiser
If you have a very serious atopic dermatitis (eczema) problem and are looking for a heavyweight moisturiser that not only relieves the symptoms but also tackles the root problem, you have to check out Ceradan’s Hydra Moisturiser.
This is a ceramide-dominant moisturiser, specially formulated with a scientifically-proven optimal physiological lipids ratio of 3:1:1 (ceramide, cholesterol, and free fatty acids respectively) to rebuild and repair damaged skin. It is recommended by dermatologists as maintenance therapy during periods of non-flares in eczema patients, and is gentle enough to be used even on infants.
Ceradan Hydra Moisturiser retails at SGD38.80 in Guardian, Watsons, and Unity retail pharmacies, as well as all the restructured hospitals such as SGH, NSC and NUH.
2. COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream
Formulated with honey extracts and ceramides, this COSRX moisturiser is formulated with minimal ingredients to guarantee a high-performance formula that is suitable even for sensitive and acne-prone skin types. It has a lightweight texture that is easily absorbed by skin, so it won’t feel too heavy even on oily skin.
This has worked miracles for many reviewers on Soko Glam, especially those with parched skin. One particular reviewer lives in the desert and has combination skin, so she needs a moisturiser that can really hydrate without clogging her pores, and the COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream has managed to do just the trick. Consider us sold!
COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream retails at SGD23.70 on Shopee.
3. Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid
This calming complex from Dr. Jart+ contains multi-layered liposomes that penetrate deep into the skin to deliver the benefits of formulated ingredients, so that sensitive dryness, allergic reactions and irritation are soothed in no time.
While it can be used for all skin types, it has been proven to be very effective for people who suffer from skin flakiness and tightness, as well as chronic dryness, allergies, atopic skin, and itchiness. You can use this as a toner, or a replacement for serum and essence if you wish.
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid retails at SGD61 in Sephora stores and website.
4. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
This moisturiser can be used for both your body and face to relieve minor irritations and hydrate skin, as and when you need.
The best part? You can also use this to exfoliate dead skin cells and reduce fine lines on your skin so that you can a healthy and clear complexion. We definitely love a ceramide moisturiser that can also multi-task!
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream retails at SGD20 for 56.7g, SGD50 for 170g, and SGD60 for 226g in Sephora stores and website.
5. Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer
If you are wondering if it’s okay to combine ceramide and an acid like A.H.A., experts have given the green light – in fact, you are encouraged to use this combination as the acids exfoliate old skin cells and allow ceramides to penetrate deeper!
This moisturiser from Mario Badescu is also formulated with Lemon Extract and soothing Aloe Vera, which helps reduce sun spots and skin pigmentation. Its non-greasy, absorbent and lightweight composition makes it suitable even for the oiliest of skin types.
Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer retails at SGD42 in Sephora stores and website.
6. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Drunk Elephant’s new Lala Retro Whipped Cream is specially formulated to replenish your skin barrier’s support so that you are protected from pollution and dehydrating environments.
This is infused with six rare African oils and plant ceramide complex to give you healthier skin, and also made from antioxidant-rich fermented green tea to combat signs of ageing.
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream retails at SGD86 in all Sephora stores and website.
7. Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream
Travelling puts a lot of stress on our skin – extreme changes in weather and temperatures, unfamiliar diets, and of course, long hours spent in dry cabin air.
Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream aims to combat all of that so that we can have great skin, especially in the most unforgiving environments. The ceramides will help to restore and repair our skin’s ability to lock in moisture, so you can apply this before or during your flight to make sure that your skin is in top condition.
This skin-saviour is coming to Sephora real soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it!
Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream will be retailing in Sephora from 24 October 2019 onwards (price to be confirmed).
8. Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream
Besides ceramides, Biossance uses other good lipids such as squalane, omega fatty acids, and plant sterols to restore and support your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
You can just this repair cream as a moisturiser when your skin needs an extra shot of hydration, as well as an eye cream if your under eye area has been neglected and needs some TLC.
Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream will be retailing at SGD38 exclusively on Sephora’s website, date to be confirmed.
Catering specifically for dry and sensitive skin types, Holika Holika’s Good Cera Super Ceramide Cream is a highly-rated moisturiser that is raved about by K-beauty junkies for its high efficacy and long-lasting comfort it brings to skin.
It is free from seven harmful ingredients, and instead made with a blend of ceramides, shea butter, and aloe vera. These work to form a lipid barrier that locks in moisture and reinforces the skin’s natural barrier. With a low acid formula (pH 5.5), the quick-absorbing cream defends against environmental aggressors, whilst improving firmness and elasticity in your skin.
Of course, we couldn’t miss out a moisturiser that not only has ceramides, but also hyaluronic acid!
Developed with dermatologists and ideal for dry and very dry skin on the face and body, this rich, non-greasy, fast-absorbing moisturising cream from CeraVe features patented technology to release a steady stream of hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides.
It has helped so many users over the years that this is a holy grail for many with extremely dry and damaged skin – you can read an in-depth ingredient analysis and review about CeraVe’s Moisturising Cream here.
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