The Skin Nerd: Why everyone should include ceramides in their winter routine

Ceramides are the ultimate unsung heroes when it comes to nourishing seriously parched skin, writes Jennifer Rock
The Skin Nerd: Why everyone should include ceramides in their winter routine

Skin Nerd: Ceramides are the ultimate unsung heroes when it comes to nourishing seriously parched skin.

Those with ultra-dry skin may have come across ceramides during their quest for products to intensively nourish their complexion, but to many ceramides sit quietly, going unnoticed behind the more attention-grabbing hyaluronic acid and ingredient of the moment niacinamide. Both of which are heavenly hydrators but often overshadow hard-working ceramides, which play a vital function within our skin barrier and therefore our overall skin health!

What are ceramides?

Our skin produces ceramides naturally in the epidermal layers of the skin, where ceramides hold the upper epidermal cells in place and allow water reserves to be stored and reduce TEWL (transepidermal water loss). Put simply, this gives a brick and cement affect, with the bricks being the cells and a large part of the cement being ceramides. Imagine a house with no cement to hold the bricks in place - it leaves it in a vulnerable state. The same rings through for ceramides, as ceramides help to hold and retain a healthy skin barrier in place. If the skin barrier is impaired, this allows invading pathogens to enter the epidermal layers and then cause inflammatory responses within the skin. Ageing and environmental factors cause our cell cycle and production of ceramides to deplete over time, which can lead to skin becoming inflamed, dry, and irritated and could even trigger skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis.* Topical application within skincare is then recommended. As ceramides are an inherent component of the skin (making up 50% of the stratum corneum, our skin’s topmost layer) the skin tends to be very receptive to skincare containing ceramides. Regular application can leave the skin calm and hydrated due to helping to treat transepidermal water loss.

Who are they most suited towards?

All skins can benefit from using ceramides, but they are particularly beneficial for those with sensitive, sensitised, dry, dehydrated, or irritated skin.

When should I use them?

Super moisturising, ceramides are like TLC for the skin and really come into their own during the winter, but I recommend year-round usage for those with dry, dehydrated, sensitive or ageing skin. Lipidic ingredients such as ceramide NP reinforce the skin’s barrier so it can recover from TEWL faster so including ceramides in your winter skincare routine may help your skin retain moisture. Skingredients Skin Good Fats (€42, contains ceramide NP, which is one of the smaller lipid molecules and so can penetrate further into the skin to improve the functionality of the skin’s barrier. This means that your skin can hold onto hydration better, won’t be as easily irritated and will have increased healing ability. Ceramide NP is proven to provide significantly longer-lasting hydration, up to 6 days after last application.

How do you know if a product contains ceramides?

If ‘ceramides’ are not clearly visible on the product’s packaging, check the product’s INCI list, the list of ingredients either on the back of the product or in a separate insert within the product’s outer packaging. Ceramide NP (also known as ceramide 3) can be found on an INCI list as ‘ceramide NP’ and other types of ceramides you may see on INCI lists include ceramide EOP, ceramide NS, ceramide AS, ceramide AP and ceramide NG.


*Meckfessel MH, Brandt S. The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul;71(1):177-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.01.891. Epub 2014 Mar 20. PMID: 24656726.

Nerdie Pick

Citrine 2021 Amuline Junior
Citrine 2021 Amuline Junior

Dry and inflamed skin conditions can affect as many as 1 in 5 children, with 50% of those continuing to suffer into adulthood** 

Provide comfort and strengthen your little one’s delicate skin barrier with the help of Amuline™ Junior, which has been specifically formulated for dry skin in infants and children with atopic tendency. Suitable for use from birth, the dermo paste is designed for daily use and aims to reduce the appearance of chapping and redness whilst soothing and protecting young skin against external irritants.

Amuline Junior, €19.95, available in pharmacies nationwide

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