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Ceramides – 2023’s Next Best Alternative to a Time Machine?

Photo of Dr. Prichard who discusses ceramides
Dr. Pablo Prichard, M.D., aka Dr. Scottsdale, has been the chief of plastic surgery at Honor Health/ John C. Lincoln Hospital for 14 years. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
By Dr. Pablo Prichard | Point of View

Turning back time is relegated to fiction, and physical manifestations of aging are, unfortunately, a fact of life.

Wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity spare no one. While environmental and lifestyle factors certainly contribute to the advancement (or slowing) of skin’s maturity, biology does eventually take over — no matter what serums we religiously slather or supplements we take, our bodies will chemically differ from year to year.

That is not to say, however, that pursuing a skin care routine beyond washing your face is futile. Taking care of one’s skin improves its quality, especially in Arizona’s year-round itch-inducing dry climate.

No matter how committed you are to a skin care routine, one substance you may have been hearing about lately but not yet using are ceramides, and its popularity is expected to continue well into 2023. “Skin cycling,” the trend of alternating harsh ingredients with restorative ones (notably ceramides), currently has a hashtag with over 100 million views on TikTok.

Ceramides are a waxy lipid that occur naturally in the body and contribute to skin’s integrity. Picture a tile wall, and imagine the grout keeping everything neatly together – ceramides function as the “grout” of your skin cells, fortifying its barrier and keeping moisture locked in.

Hydrated skin looks and feels youthful and supple. As we get older, our ceramide levels drop, skin thins, and its elasticity loosens. By the time people turn 30, 40% of our natural ceramides are lost, and by age 40, we’ve lost 60%. Dull skin, fine lines, and dry patches — this may indicate a ceramide deficiency.

People age and lose ceramides. What can we do about it?

Luckily, even if the body’s internal ceramide reserves deplete, ceramide-rich cleansers, moisturizers and serums can be applied externally to protect one’s skin and minimize moisture loss. This is important not just during the cold winter, but all throughout the year in our desert state. Ceramides can be applied in the morning and at night, especially if one is about to sleep while a heater zaps moisture from the air.

You don’t have to be a skin-savvy beauty guru to implement ceramides into your routine. If new to skin care and unsure of the process, use products in the following order:

  • Cleanser
  • Toner (if you have it)
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen

Check the ingredient label on a product to confirm if ceramides are present. Ceramide products typically brand with words like “gentle” and “hydrating” and shouldn’t leave the face feeling parched or tight after use.

A ceramide moisturizer may work best when the skin is still damp. Skinimalists – a term describing those who keep their care routines simplistic – may benefit from the two-step routine of using a cleanser in the shower, then while skin is still damp, a moisturizer to lock in extra water. Serums should be applied after cleansing and prior to moisturizing.

Convinced that ceramides are worth a try, but want input from an esthetician before diving head-first into trendy treatments? Visit www.drscottsdale.com/ to speak with our own team of experts with “skin-timate” knowledge on keeping your body’s biggest organ looking youthful.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Prichard, M.D., aka Dr. Scottsdale, has been the chief of plastic surgery at Honor Health/ John C. Lincoln Hospital for 14 years, medical director for plastic surgery and is senior partner at Advanced Aesthetics Associates.

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