The Sneaky Reason Your Skin Dries Out As You Get Older

Ceramides are a natural part of our skin structure. Specifically, they are part of the epidermis and help keep our skin strong, soft, moisturized, and supple. They are polar lipids that make up the barrier between the outside environment and our body, locking in moisture and protecting our skin from damage. Without them, our skin wouldn’t be able to retain water or keep environmental aggressors out—which would wreak havoc on the body.

We lose them, as noted above, as a result of age. We also lose them from environmental and lifestyle factors. UV exposure plays a role in ceramide’s depletion, as does pollution. You can also damage ceramides by using too harsh of exfoliation and skin care products that strip your epidermis of lipids (reminder: ceramides are part of your lipid structure). Finally, some people just have naturally fewer ceramides than others; this can have implications for the skin barrier, and signs are dryness, redness, or even inflammatory processes. You may suspect your skin is lacking ceramides if you’ve noticed that your once hydrated, soft complexion is now much drier and irritated

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