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What are Ceramides/Phytoceramides:
Ceramide is a waxy lipid found in our skin. It maintains moisture content, structure, and integrity of the skin. There are 6 types of ceramides found naturally in the skin. They help to repair the skin’s natural barrier and regulate cell proliferation. As we age, the production of ceramides in our skin declines which can result in dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles, inflammation, and conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.
Currently, most types of ceramides in the market are commercially derived from plant sources and are known as phytoceramides. Two common sources of phytoceramides are brown rice and wheat germ extracts. In the past, ceramides were derived from soybeans and bovine sources.
Benefits of Ceramides/Phytoceramides:
When ingested, phytoceramides are absorbed and utilized by keratinocytes, the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of the skin, to synthesize the production of ceramides. As phytoceramides try to replicate the lipid found in the skin, they are absorbed and act as a substitute for our lipids.
A study on repairing human skin barrier function using topically applied emulsions containing barrier lipids showed that topical ceramides with other skin lipids encourage the development of a protective barrier that protects against inflammation and infections, sun damage and dryness. Another study on 51 women on “The moisturizing effect of a wheat extract on women's skin” found that “skin hydration was significantly increased” and skin dryness was reduced, demonstrating the nutrient’s effectiveness in retaining moisture. Phytoceramides also stimulate collagen production which increases skin elasticity and integrity, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles.
Side Effects & Toxicity:
An extremely safe ingredient, ceramides/phytoceramides have no known toxicity in general use and are shown to be non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.
According to FDA, the powder form Oryza Ceramide-P is recommended for skin moisturizing at 20 mg per day, and 30-50 mg per day for skin whitening. Oryza Ceramide-L is recommended at 200 mg per day for moisturizing. Look out for ‘plant-derived phytoceramides’ on the product pack and try supplementing with a Vitamin C tablet or serum for more anti-aging effects.