Ceramides: The Latest Innovation In Skin Care
Recently something that Dr. Oz recommended for having younger, the healthier skin has created quite a buzz on the internet. Among other recommendations, he spoke very highly on the effectiveness of plant-based Phytoceramide Skin Care. What exactly are phytoceramide, and do they work?
What Are Phytoceramides?
Phytoceramides are the plant version of ceramides, which are lipids that function to keep your skin well hydrated and plump. The reason why Dr. Oz’s suggestion has sparked so much debate is because you already consume ceramides on a regular basis. Sphingolipids, which are an excellent source of ceramides, are present in highest quantities in soybeans, eggs, and dairy products, but they can be found in many other products as well. The phytoceramide used in most supplements are primarily derived from wheat. So it begs the question, are they even useful as supplements?
As far as I’m aware, there is no independent research that’s been done on how phytoceramide affects the condition of our skin. I spent many frustrating hours searching for information before I finally came across a study about phytoceramide capsules, and their apparent effects on dry skin. The study was done by Hitex, which, as a company that manufactures extracts from wheat, has a vested interest in the outcome. There are references on the internet to Japanese studies that purport to demonstrate the value of ceramides for skin care, but they specifically addressed how deficiencies in ceramides is a leading cause of dry skin. They don’t reference phytoceramide supplements at all.
How Do Ceramides Interact With The Skin?
There are different types of ceramides, and six of them are natural components of human skin. There are four layers of the epidermis, and all contain ceramides, which play important roles in creating a barrier to reduce the likelihood of infections, and to help the skin retain moisture. A reduction of ceramides present in the skin can lead to dermatitis, wrinkles, or dry skin.
For many years it has been believed that ceramides are a structural component of the lipid bi-layer of all cell membranes, which includes the uppermost layer of skin. It is interesting, though that recent studies do support that they can behave as signaling molecules that distribute messages to the rest of the human body. What interests most scientists about this is that the signal that they send is apoptosis, which programs a cell to die. This has made them a favorite research subject as a potential treatment for cancer patients.
Do Ceramides Work Better When Applied Topically?
Would use ceramides topically make a difference? There has been quite a bit of study on this. In one Japanese study, the eyelids of eight people have treated a ceramide gel over a period of four weeks. The researchers concluded that the water content in the eyelids significantly improved after patients received the treatment. Another study, this one completed in France, showed that ceramides applied topically with other skin lipids resulted in improvements in skin barrier repair. Ceramide gel (Phytocermaide Serum) has also been shown to help relieve dermatitis, and Sphingolipids derived from lactic acid bacteria improved the skin’s resistance to aging when applied topically. Private Label Phytocermaide Serum by NF Skin is one of the most poplar manufactures for leading ceramide skin care products from Major brands around the USA.
The most reasonable conclusion seems to be that adding ceramide to your skin care regimen provides anti-aging benefits, though it is far from conclusive that supplements will provide the same benefit. Ceramide has been a favorite ingredient for Elizabeth Arden products for many years. There are also quite a few other products that include ceramide for its anti-aging properties, which are less expensive than the typical department store brand.