Swisse Ceramides B3 Daily Balance Moisturiser on a shelf in a bathroom

What Are Ceramides And Why Are They Important In Your Skincare Regime?

Written by: Swisse Wellness
Swisse Wellness

There’s quite a lot of buzz around ceramides and for good reason. From supporting your skin against damage to maintaining the skin’s natural moisture barrier, these small but mighty molecules play an important role in nurturing your skin1 

But how exactly do they work and how do you incorporate them into your skincare routine? Here’s everything you need to know about ceramides for skin. 

Understanding ceramides 

Ceramides belong to a group of fatty acids called lipids. They’re naturally present in skin cells and make up roughly 50% of lipids of the outermost layer of your skin2 - known as the epidermis. They’re a crucial component of the skin’s barrier function and help to maintain its healthy appearance. Ceramides also work to limit moisture loss by acting as a barrier, protecting against visible damage from pollution and other nasty environmental stressors3. 

Ageing and exposure to sun damage means that the levels of ceramides in your skin naturally tend to decrease overtime4. As your body produces fewer ceramides, the skin barrier can become weakened, leading to visible dryness, wrinkles and even fine lines5 

What are the 3 essential ceramides? 

There are three essential types of ceramides: ceramide 1, ceramide 3 and ceramide 6-II. The three essential ceramides are often incorporated into skincare formulations to mimic the natural composition of the skin's lipid barrier.  

  • Ceramide 1 (Ceramide EOS): Ceramide 1 is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier and preventing water loss. It helps to bind the cells together to keep the skin hydrated and contributes to overall skin health6
  • Ceramide 3 (Ceramide NP): Ceramide 3 is a key component in the lipid barrier of the skin. It plays a vital role in promoting visibly hydrated skin and helps protect against environmental stressors7.  
  • Ceramide 6 II (Ceramide AP): This ceramide plays a key role in supporting the skin's barrier function, and enhancing the overall resilience of the skin8. It also contributes to the structural integrity of the stratum corneum while promoting a smooth, fresh complexion8

What do ceramides do for the skin? 

Ceramides are a key component in skin. Forming part of the intercellular lipid layer, they play a pivotal role in the structure and integrity of vibrant and balanced skin appearance. When the optimal balance of lipids is disrupted, the capacity for lipid membranes to provide an effective barrier function is impaired9. Ceramides play an important role in maintaining your skin’s barrier function, locking in moisture. By reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL)10, ceramides help to keep your skin visibly hydrated. 

Ceramides are also important for maintaining your skin’s structure. They contribute to the cohesion between skin cells, promoting plump, elastic/bouncy skin. Without them, your skin can become rough, dry and more sensitive to irritants11 

The benefits of ceramides 

Thanks to the range of ways ceramides benefit your skin, these hero ingredients are often included in skincare formulations, especially hydrating products like moisturisers and serums. Here are some ceramide skin benefits5: 

  • Targets the early signs of ageing and helps to rejuvenate mature skin 
  • Supports healthy skin barrier function 
  • Maintains and boosts the appearance of hydrated skin  
  • Promotes a soft, smooth complexion 
  • Helps protect against environmental stressors, and irritants 

The use of ceramides in skincare 

Are you wondering how to increase ceramides in the skin? Incorporating skincare that’s been specially formulated with ceramides, especially the three key ceramides, is a great way to help support and replenish your skin with important fatty acids12.   

One of the great things about ceramides is that they can pair well with other skin-loving ingredients, like niacinamide, retinol, peptides and hyaluronic acid, to deliver a range of skin benefits. Thanks to their moisture-boosting abilities and skin-protecting qualities, ceramides are often used in moisturisers and serums13 that can be used as part of your daily skincare routine.  

Ceramide skincare products can plump, smooth and improve skin texture.   

If you’re after a little more information on skincare ingredients that you should look out for, read our blog on natural ingredients to keep on your radar. We also have a range of different skincare articles on our Wellness Hub, full of tips and tricks to help support your skin.  


  1. Coderch L, L O, de la Maza A, Parra JL. Ceramides and Skin Function. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2003;4(2):107–29. Available from: 
  2. Knox S, O’Boyle NM. Skin lipids in health and disease: A review. Chemistry and Physics of Lipids. 2021 May;236:105055. Available from:  
  3. Wang Z, Man MQ, Li T, Elias PM, Mauro TM. Aging-associated alterations in epidermal function and their clinical significance. Aging (Albany NY) [Internet]. 2020 Mar 27;12(6):5551–65. Available from: 
  4. What are the benefits of ceramides for the skin? [Internet]. 2022. Available from: 
  5. Kunde R. What to Know About Ceramides for Skin [Internet]. WebMD. 2021. Available from: 
  6. Ceramide I (EOP) | Ingredient | INCI Guide [Internet]. [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from: 
  7. Ceramide III (NP) | Ceramide 3 | INCI Guide [Internet]. Available from: 
  8. Ceramide VI (AP) | Ingredient | INCI Guide [Internet]. [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from: 
  9. Uche LE, Gooris GS, Bouwstra JA, Beddoes CM. Increased Levels of Short-Chain Ceramides Modify the Lipid Organization and Reduce the Lipid Barrier of Skin Model Membranes. Langmuir. 2021 Jul 28;37(31):9478–89. Available from:  
  10. Kono T, Miyachi Y, Kawashima M. Clinical significance of the water retention and barrier function‐improving capabilities of ceramide‐containing formulations: A qualitative review. The Journal of Dermatology. 2021 Oct;48(12):1807–16. Available from: 
  12. Ananthapadmanabhan, K.P., Mukherjee, S. and Chandar, P. (2013). Stratum corneum fatty acids: their critical role in preserving barrier integrity during cleansing. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 35(4), pp.337–345. doi: 
  13. Zeichner JA, Del Rosso JQ. Multivesicular Emulsion Ceramide-containing Moisturizers: An Evaluation of Their Role in the Management of Common Skin Disorders. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology [Internet]. 2016 Dec 1;9(12):26–32. Available from: 
Swisse Wellness

Swisse Wellness - Swisse Wellness

The copywriting team at Swisse Wellness plan, research and generate blog content with inputs from multiple teams across the business. With access to our industry-leading Science team, Product Development team, Customer Service team as well as informative Brand Managers, we have the contacts to deliver a well-rounded suite of blogs tailored to an array of wellness interests....