Learning about Ceramides: General Overview
Ceramides is the name given to a series of substances that belong to the family of waxy lipid molecules. Technically speaking, a ceramide is composed of fatty acids and sphingosine, which is an amino carbon alcohol.
It is a natural product that can be found in most mammals and in or bodies as well. Available in high concentrations within the cell membrane of cells, ceramides are responsible for creating some of the most important lipids in our bodies.
Used in a wide variety of skin care and beauty products, this substance is vital when it comes to providing both moisturising as well as smoothening effects on the human body and hair.
History & Chemical Properties
But how does this chemical relate to the creation of cosmetic products? To begin with, ceramides is the key component found in the epidermis of the human skin. Together with other tissues, it is responsible for creating a protective skin coating that prevents dehydration and loss of liquid. This is the reason why, the younger the age, the larger amounts of natural ceramides that can be found in the human skin.
Unfortunately, scientific research would soon conclude that there is a significant loss of natural ceramides with the passing of years. Consequently, the depletion of this substance soon translates into sagging skin and loss of skin tone.
It was not until the mid 20th century that this substance found its way into the cosmetic market. Produced synthetically in many labs around the world it is a common ingredient in many skin care products.
FDA Approved or Not?
The matter of ceramides being approved by the FDA was of major concern for many years. Since it falls under the category of phytols, it has now been approved. However, this should not mean that its use is 100% risk free for humans.
Where can we find Ceramides?
As was mentioned before, ceramides can be found in a vast array of beauty products, such as shampoos, skin lotions sunscreens, hair conditioners and soaps. In addition, many pharmaceutical labs use it to increase the moisturising effect in some types of topical skin medication.
Advertised as the ultimate anti-ageing miracle for multiple uses, ceramides may be helpful as a natural emollient added to all types of beauty products. Used to treat damaged hair and skin, it is also known for its generation of smoother and softer skin.
Since it is a lipid after all, it will also contribute to moisturise both skin and hair, leaving the latter looking glossier than before.
Beauty in this case will not come free of charge, though. Even when phytoceramides can be said to be generally safe and few side effects have been reported, users should pay attention to the source of the ceramides they are consuming.
For example, if an individual were allergic to wheat, using a product whose ceramide content is of wheat origin would mean facing the same allergic reactions generated when consuming wheat. Consequently, checking with a health specialist is the best choice in all cases.