Why ceramides are the secret to healthier skin

Here’s how to fight back against dryness and bumps

Advertising Feature by CeraVe / August 20 2020

If we could describe our dream skin in three words, ‘smooth, ‘soft’ and ‘hydrated’ would definitely be the ones we’d choose. ‘Dry’, ‘rough’ and ‘bumpy’, however, would be the exact opposite of our goals.

Unfortunately, though, the latter issues are common issues for many of us. Extremely dry skin is always a drag, yes, but it’s particularly frustrating when it comes with a side of redness and roughness – and it’s a skin concern that can have a serious impact on our self-confidence.

And so we set out to solve the issue, determined to return our red, bumpy and thirsty skin to its former smooth, hydrated and healthy looking glory. BEAUTY/crew spoke to Rachel McAdam, Medical Relations Manager for CeraVe to learn just how to do so.

Understanding the issue: dry, red & bumpy skin


“[In terms of the causes behind the concern], there are two main factors: poor skin hydration and poor skin turnover,” McAdam explains. “Both these factors contribute to a build-up of hardened or keratinised skin cells resulting in a bump around hair follicles. The main condition associated with bumpy skin occurs mainly in areas where there are [a higher amount of] hair follicles, most commonly on the arms, thighs, buttocks and sometimes the face,” she says.

There’s no need to panic, though; it’s a common condition. “We know it can affect up to 40 per cent of the population and is [especially] common in teenagers and women,” says McAdam. “It may, [however], be perceived as visually displeasing and affect individuals’ everyday lives and habits in such ways as wearing longer sleeves and pants to hide their skin.”

However, while we understand the need to manage the issue, scrubbing it away simply isn’t an option – in fact, it will only trigger a vicious cycle. “Scrubbing may take off some of the layers of thickened bumps, giving a short-term feeling of smoother skin, however it may [also] trigger redness and irritation due to the aggressive nature of physical exfoliation and may also cause a quick rebuild of skin cells,” she explains. “[Bumpy skin issues like] Keratosis Pilaris [won’t necessarily be able to be resolved entirely] as the underlying cause is often genetic, but instead will respond better to long-term skin care maintenance.”

So how do we keep up this maintenance? Let’s find out.

Identifying the solution: ceramides & salicylic acid

“To manage [rough, bumpy skin], apply a formula that will intensely support the skin barrier function, such as one containing ceramides that also includes ingredients such as salicylic acid and urea which are effective skin exfoliants,” McAdam recommends.

“The top layer of our skin acts as a protective barrier as well as a seal to maintain moisture levels,” she explains. “The substance which exists between the skin cells predominantly consists of ceramides, which are a class of lipids (fats). CeraVe formulations all contain a lipid ‘cocktail’, which includes three essential ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. The ceramides in CeraVe are Ceramides 1, 3 and 6-II. Each type is naturally found in the skin and plays an important role in supporting the natural skin barrier function and keeping the skin hydrated.”

So what does salicylic acid’s role entail in the skin-smoothing scenario? “Reducing the bumps through ingredients that soften and chemically exfoliate skin is more likely to give better results,” McAdam advises. And no, there’s no need to be overly cautious of the ingredient - just don’t go too hard too fast. “Salicylic acid can be potent – but it depends on the concentration. If you are sensitive to the action of salicylic acid, look for low concentrations and it will work gently over time,” she says. “[Rest assured that] all CeraVe formulations – including the new CeraVe SA Skin Smoothing range - are developed with dermatologists [so] the formulations are gentle, minimalist and fragrance free. They all [also] deliver moisturising ingredients through MVE technology for 24 hour skin hydration.”

Implementing the routine: exfoliation & hydration

“A simple routine to keep the skin soft, smooth and glowing is to use a gentle non-soap cleanser [such as CeraVe’s SA Smoothing Cleanser], avoid hot water in the shower, and follow with a moisturiser that works to help support the natural skin barrier function,” McAdam explains.

“If the skin requires exfoliation to remove any rough bumps or patches, use a formula with an added exfoliating action (such as CeraVe’s SA Smoothing Cream).” Non-greasy but packed with both exfoliating and hydrating benefits, the formula harnesses the softening powers of salicylic acid (yes, its smoothing abilities are just as impressive when delivered by a nourishing cream) and the moisturising properties of ceramides, urea and hyaluronic acid to leave skin smoother, healthy and hydrated. Just the result we were after.

“I suffer from Keratosis Pilaris on my arms and back of my thighs, so this product has now become a staple in my beauty routine. I noticed an improvement within 3-4 days while using this product. It doesn't feel greasy on the skin and absorbs well without leaving any residue. Pairing this product with the cleanser created a complementing duo. A great bonus with this product is that the price point makes it an affordable product for everyday use and long-lasting.” – Deanna F, Review Crew member

Main image credit: @skinsstagram

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