Ceramides are the glue that holds our skin surface cells together. There are different ceramide types (conveniently numbered – i.e., ceramide-3) and six are commonly found in skin. All four layers of the epidermis contain ceramides, and they play an important role by creating a barrier that reduces infection and helps to retain the skin’s moisture. Reduction in the amount of ceramides may result in dry skin, dermatitis, or wrinkles.

Phytoceramides are the plant-derived equivalent of ceramides, a lipid that keeps your skin hydrated and plump. Supplements with phytocermides are mostly obtained from wheat. In oral supplement form, they got some attention from Dr. Oz, although there’s no research to back them up. Ceramide in topical skincare, on the other hand, does have a good scientific pedigree and has been shown to improve moisture, skin barrier repair and resistance to aging. (Read more on phytoceramides and ceramide). Here are my Five Best with ceramides.

  • Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense

    Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense ($111 in the shop). This classic from Osmotics stands the test of time. It is great for wrinkles, broken veins and skin tone. As well as ceramide (a favorite Osmotics ingredient), this anti-aging treatment attacks free radicals that damage skin cells in three different ways, with carnosine and aldenine. Aldenine is also an exciting ingredient. A combination of soy, wheat and tripeptide 1, it boosts the production of collagen III (type we had when we were children), and protects the cells from photodamage. It’s supposedly able to boost collagen production by 300% in just seven days. Anti-Radical Age Defense is a wrinkle repairer and mender of broken veins.

  • Skinfinite Platimum 1% Retinol

    Skinfinite Platimum 1% Retinol ($63 in the shop). Yes, this has ceramide, but it also has a 1% retinol. It is one of the few retinol creams that get my vote. It doesn’t seem to irritate and there are good results within two months. Skinfinite chose ceramide 2, which enhances the expression of a special enzyme that is anti-inflammatory. Another active here is beta glucan, known to enhance the immune system. Skin is hydrated with shea butter and sodium hyaluronate, so unlike many retinols, Skinfinite Platinum is not drying.

  • Snowberry Rich Nourishing Day Cream

    Snowberry Rich Nourishing Day Cream ($96 in the shop) is what it says it is, a rich and nourishing day cream that is absolutely jam packed with antioxidants, peptides and, of course, ceramide-3. Actually, ceramide features in many of Snowberry’s organic and natural products. There are plenty of peptides and botanicals. I like the inclusion of mycosoprin extract that protects the skin from UVA and environmental pollutants and superoxide dismutase that assists with the production of collagen, elastins, fibronectins, keratinocytes and hyaluronic acids. Snowberry says Rich Nourishing Day Cream boosts moisture by 39.64%.

  • Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum

    Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum ($35 in the shop). Although the moniker is "exfoliating," this serum is an all-rounder. It exfoliates with lactic and glycolic acids, brightens with a botanical complex called Gigawhite, and rebuilds and repairs with the peptide Matrixyl 3000, apple stem cell, vitamin B in the form of niacinamide, and ceramide-3. Specifically, ceramide-3 protects the skin from transā€epidermal water loss.

  • Skin Nutrition Cell CPR

    Skin Nutrition Cell CPR ($170 in the shop). This has got it all, including ceramide. Skin Nutrition's philosophy is that skin cells are complex things made up of phospholipids, proteins (enzymes, oligopeptides, amino acids, growth factors), oligosaccharides, oxygen, vitamins and minerals. And so, therefore is Cell CPR with a whopping 70 or so ingredients. Cell CPR has been a favorite of mine for more than three years now.