Everything You Need to Know About Ceramides in Skincare

Best Ceramide Skincare Products

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It’s funny how we desperately look for skincare ingredients that “penetrate” the skin barrier and then look for ingredients to repair that barrier. Skincare products that contain ceramides are of great use for the latter. The skin barrier is your skin’s first line of defense against all that is damaging. But it needs certain compounds present at all times to remain intact and effective. And ceramides are a big part of those compounds. The best ceramide skincare products mimic your skin’s natural lipid content. We’ve answered all your ceramide questions to help you better understand how they work and how to find the right product for your skin.

What are Ceramides?

Ceramides are lipids that are already present in the outer layer of the skin, aka stratum corneum (1). The main function of ceramides is to keep the skin moisturized and keep your skin barrier intact.

The outer layer of the skin is mainly composed of 3 elements (2); dead skin cells, proteins that connect those cells, and lipids. And about half of those lipids are ceramides.

The rest consists of fatty acids and cholesterol. As having a properly functioning skin barrier is crucial to having healthy skin, ceramides play an important role in having and maintaining healthy skin.

How Do Ceramides Work in Skincare?

Ceramides are used in skincare products to replace lipid loss. Your body produces ceramides as well as the other important components of the skin barrier.

However, chronic irritation, seasons, dryness, or even aging (3) can negatively affect this process, resulting in a decrease in ceramides found readily in the top layer of the skin.

When the skin lacks ceramides and other important lipids, the skin barrier cannot function properly. This causes further problems like redness, irritation, itchiness, flakiness, dehydration, and just overall unhealthy skin that’s prone to all kinds of skin stressors.

For that reason, ceramides are used in skincare products to repair the damaged skin barrier (4). You can find ceramides in skincare products under different names like ceramide NP, ceramide EOP, or sphingolipids.

Ceramides don’t hydrate the skin. They increase the skin’s hydration simply by preventing dehydration. Hydration requires water. And ceramides are not water; they’re emollients.

Benefits of Ceramides in Skincare

The benefits of using skincare products that contain ceramides can all be boiled down to repairing the compromised skin barrier. By repairing the damaged skin barrier, ceramides:

  1. Prevent transepidermal water loss.
  2. Prevent bacteria and other pathogens from making their way into the skin.
  3. Stimulate the skin to produce its own ceramides.
  4. Help the skin retain moisture.
  5. Reduce itchiness and irritation.
  6. Keep the skin soft and smooth.

Who Should Use Ceramide Skincare Products?

Anyone can benefit from using ceramide products as they’re mostly about enhancing moisture.

People with very dry skin or rosacea can take advantage of this ingredient to strengthen the skin barrier, keep the skin moisturized, and reduce inflammation.

Also, all skin types tend to dry a bit during colder months. You can look for ceramides in your winter moisturizer for some extra help.

And lastly, if you’re following an anti-aging routine, you can use retinol creams that contain ceramides or use ceramide-infused creams as they make the best moisturizers to use with retinol to minimize dryness. Similarly, you can use a ceramide cream on top of your retinol serum to prevent dryness.

How to Choose the Best Ceramide Product For Your Skin

Ceramides come in different forms like creams, oils, and serums. If you have very dry skin, definitely use ceramides in the form of a daily moisturizer. Because they tend to have additional barrier-enhancing ingredients.

Oily skin types can also suffer from dryness. But a heavily emollient cream can be comedogenic and can even cause breakouts on oily and acne-prone skin.

If you have oily or combination skin, you can look for more lightweight products like serums or oil-free ceramide moisturizers to support the skin barrier without the heavy occlusives.

Ceramides are not comedogenic. But ceramide creams formulated with additional heavy oils usually are. Additionally, look for additional products to enhance the effects of ceramides.

For example, squalane, niacinamide, and vitamin E work very well with ceramides as they are also moisturizing and reparative for the skin, making your products more targeted and effective.

The Best Ceramide Skincare Products

From creams to serums and treatments, below are the best ceramide skincare products.

1. Alpha-H Vitamin E Serum with 1% Ceramide Complex

Alpha H Vitamin E Serum with 1 Ceramide Complex - Best Ceramide Serum

Well, you don’t usually expect glowy or dewy skin when you’re talking about ceramides. Because usually, your main concern is to repair a damaged skin barrier or calm skin, or hydrate as soon as possible. But this one will surprise you in a good way! This is the best ceramide serum I have ever tried because it also packs vitamin E, which is super moisturizing too. It also has macadamia seed oil and evening primrose oil. The serum is slightly slippery and leaves your skin visibly glowing!

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin E, macadamia seed oil
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 0.85 oz/25 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

2. The Inkey List Ceramide Hydrating Night Treatment

The Inkey List Ceramide Hydrating Night Treatment - Ceramide Skincare Products

If you have dehydrated skin, it means that your skin primarily lacks water. In skin care, that translates to types of moisturizers made with humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or panthenol. And you need emollients like ceramides or squalane to prevent that water from evaporating. This formula has both! That’s why this nightly treatment is the best ceramide product to hydrate the skin and increase moisture. It replenishes with hyaluronic acid and keeps the skin moisturized with ceramides. The super-affordable treatment gives you softer and smoother skin by morning.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free

3. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Intense Moisture and Renewal Activation Cream SPF 30

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Intense Moisture and Renewal Activation Cream SPF 30 - Ceramide Skincare Products

This ceramide cream is ideal for aging skin that’s prone to dryness. It’s a multi-tasker that also has sun protection as well as a good amount of antioxidants. The daily moisturizer utilizes ceramides and vitamins A and E to nourish the skin and treat free radical damage as well.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, SPF, vitamin A, vitamin E
Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml

4. La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

This ceramide cream is oil-free, making it the best ceramide moisturizer for oily and acne-prone skin. The cream increases moisture with ceramides and niacinamide, which is also helpful in stimulating lipid production. You can use the cream to get rid of dehydration and flakiness on oily skin without worrying about clogged pores or acne.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, niacianamide
Skin Type: All, especially sensitive
Size: 2.5 oz/100 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free, fragrance-free

5. Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum

Kate Somerville Delikate Recovery Serum - Ceramide Skincare Products

This one packs barrier-restoring ingredients without the heavy feel of a thick moisturizer. Ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol lubricate the skin and give you a more energized and healthy complexion. The serum also packs cucumber seed oil and sea buckthorn oil, which are all restorative for the skin.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, peptides
Skin Type: Normal, dry
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

6. Lixirskin Night Switch Essential Lipids

Lixirskin Night Switch Essential Lipids

This is an amazingly nourishing ceramide-enriched face oil. If your skin is parched, you’re going to love this one. The oil packs evening primrose oil, which is rich in fatty acids to keep the outer layer of the skin nice and soft. By locking moisture in, the face oil eliminates transepidermal water loss, which is super handy during winter.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, evening primrose oil
Skin Type: Normal, dry
Size: 0.5 oz/15 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

7. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration - Ceramide Skincare Products

This one is great for very dry, sensitive, and irritated skin. The fragrance-free formula has squalane and ceramides for lightweight moisture. And it has soothing oatmeal, allantoin, and feverfew to eliminate redness and itchiness. The cream traps moisture in with its skin-softening base made with shea butter.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, allantoin, colloidal oatmeal
Skin Type: Normal, dry, sensitive
Size: 6 oz/170 gr
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free

8. EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex

EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex

This ceramide cream is a lifesaver to get your skin to bounce back from severe dryness, over-exfoliation, or a retinol overdose. The treatment packs multiple ceramides as well as niacinamide, squalane, and vitamin E to rebuild the compromised skin barrier. As a result, the skin becomes stronger against damaging elements like free radicals.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin E, squalane
Skin Type: All, especially dry
Size: 1.7 oz/48 gr
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, non-comedogenic

9. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

The eye area could use ceramides. Because moisture will plump up the skin around the eyes and reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. This ceramide eye cream does exactly that. It also binds water to the skin with hyaluronic acid and improves moisture retention with niacinamide. The fragrance-free ceramide eye cream is suitable for sensitive eyes as well.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide
Skin Type: All
Size: 0.5 oz/15 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free

10. Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Serum Toner

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Serum Toner - Ceramide Skincare Products

This is a hydrating toner that doubles as a face serum and is perfect for when you need all the moisture you can get. The ceramide-packed toner also has hyaluronic acid to hydrate and vitamin B5 to soothe the skin and calm inflammation and reduce redness. It’s an instant relief to calm dry, red, and itchy skin. The Korean formula is absolutely one of the best ceramide skincare products to effectively repair the skin’s barrier function.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid
Skin Type: All
Size: 5.7 oz/150 ml

So this is how ceramides work in skincare, how they benefit your skin, and the best skincare products made with ceramides. If you have dry, irritated, sensitive skin, definitely try ceramides in your routine.

Read Next: The Best Ferulic Acid Serums


  1. Spada, F., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2018). Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology11, 491–497. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S177697
  2. Berkers, T., Visscher, D., Gooris, G. S., & Bouwstra, J. A. (2018). Topically Applied Ceramides Interact with the Stratum Corneum Lipid Matrix in Compromised Ex Vivo Skin. Pharmaceutical research35(3), 48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11095-017-2288-y
  3. Rogers, J., Harding, C., Mayo, A., Banks, J., & Rawlings, A. (1996). Stratum corneum lipids: the effect of ageing and the seasons. Archives of dermatological research288(12), 765–770. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02505294
  4. Coderch, L., López, O., de la Maza, A. et al. Ceramides and Skin Function. Am J Clin Dermatol 4, 107–129 (2003). https://doi.org/10.2165/00128071-200304020-00004

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