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If You Have Dry Skin, You Need To Be Using Oral & Topical Ceramides

Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Image by Nikita Sursin / Stocksy
May 9, 2020

If you have chronically dry skin, you know how annoying the condition can be: regular flaking, occasional redness, tightness, and dull complexion. You likely spend a lot of time (and perhaps money too) on finding super-hydrating creams and conditioning oils to keep your skin supple and soft. And while you do need to tend to the outer layer of the skin, you may be missing one key element to fixing your dry skin woes: ingesting ceramides.

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What are phytoceramides or ceramides, and why are they so good for dry skin?

If you are a skin care enthusiast, you've likely come by the word "ceramides" on creams and lotions before. (Or "phytoceramides," which are just ceramides derived from plants.) They've long been a staple in the derm and skin care space. Ceramides are lipids that are naturally present in our skin cells: They act something like glue—helping keep skin cells together, fashioning the barrier that keeps moisture in. Like most good things, you lose them with age resulting in dryness, wrinkles, and dullness; people with chronically dry and sensitive skin also tend to have fewer ceramides naturally. 

This is a problem because without ceramides you experience what's called "transepidermal water loss," which is just a fancy term for water evaporating out of the skin. It happens because you don't have the ceramide lipid barrier there to keep all the water trapped, thereby making your skin dry and dehydrated. 

So, an essential part of tending to dry skin is to replenish ceramides. This is why they are so abundant in skin care products marketed to dry and sensitive skin. But here's the problem: You need to ingest them, too, so your body can enhance its natural levels as well.* 

Why you need to ingest them, too. 

While it's a good thing to use ceramides topically, they only provide their benefits to the top layer of the skin. To optimize your skin barrier function, you need to help your body promote its natural levels through supplementation.* 

"Research shows that when you take these things by mouth—and you don't need many milligrams of them—your body actually incorporates them into the skin,*" says board-certified family medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D. In fact, research shows that when you take ceramides orally, it may help the skin just as much as prescription-strength topical ceramides.*

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The takeaway.

Look for smart supplements that contain phytoceramides to help reduce dryness and wrinkles while significantly improving skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness.* It also contains additional skin-healthy ingredients to help support your skin barrier function further, including the antioxidant astaxanthin to neutralize free radicals and rhodiola to manage oxidative stress in the body.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.