We’ve all heard the term! But what does it mean, and why does it matter? Well if you’re looking to keep your skin looking vibrant or grow healthy hair down to your waist, read on!
What is Ceramide?
Ceramide is a fatty acid located in the surface layer of the skin that acts as a barrier against anything harmful getting into the skin and limits the loss of water through the skin. (And are actually great for conditions like eczema)In short, ceramide holds all skin cells together and forms a protective layer that nourishes the skin while maintaining its moisture.
Ceramide skin care products are widely used to replenish the natural fats lost through exposure to environmental factors, used as drying products for especially oily skins and as anti-aging products. Besides ceramides used mainly for the skin, there are ceramide products used specifically for the hair. They restore moisture to hair follicles, nourishing it and making it stronger and healthier.
Ceramide for Hair
There are three types of oils found in hair cuticles. One of those oils is ceramide. The other two are Methyl Eicosanoic Acid (MEA) and cholesterol. Ceramides act as the cement to the hair cuticles. The main role of ceramide is to keep the hair intact and the hair follicles flattened while nourishing the hair to look better and stronger.
Through constant chemical processes, harsh environmental conditions, regular washing and other hair handling activities, a lot of ceramides get depleted from the hair cuticles. Using products that are rich in ceramide helps to restore the balance needed for stronger and healthier hair and to minimize any damage already done. Ceramide is especially great for hair that has been chemically relaxed, treated or colored. Even though not all the above processes and conditions damage natural hair as they damage chemically processed hair, it is still wise to use ceramide products on natural hair. Besides retaining its natural look, ceramide products enhance more shine and better hair strength that is easier to manage. They also help in managing tangles that are easy to get with natural hair.
Understanding the structure of hair:
Before we can understand the value of Ceramides it’s important to understand a little bit about how hair is actually formed on your head:
In the image below you can see new young hair on the left. Notice how all the microscopic ridges are smooth, rather than scaly. In the middle and right you you basically see the effects of damage.
Below are some side by sides of all the various stages of hair damage. Notice how the split and destroyed ends in D, E, and F really look like split hair.
Source: Lilla Loves
This excellent cross section shows how the hair is almost like shingles on a house, which is exactly why ceramides are so key for maintenance and upkeep, especially for the ends of your hair.
Source: The Science of Haircare
Benefits of Ceramides for Hair
For every hair to be strong, keep its elasticity, retain moisture and porosity, keep its shine and smoothness, and be resistant to breakages and weathering, the hair cuticles must be well flattened. Raised cuticles lose moisture very fast and this increases porosity and hair toughness. Breakage and weathering of hair is also likely to occur with raised cuticles. Even though hair goes through the usual natural weathering, raised cuticles accelerate the process of weathering. Ceramide oil products act as the cement to prevent all this from happening to the hair cuticles. Other benefits of ceramide oil products are:
– Hair retains moisture
– Restores shine and softness making the hair feel much smoother
– Improved elasticity and porosity
– Reduces hair fall, hair fragility, hair breakage and frizzing of hair from the strong heat of hair dryers.
– Can be used on hair immediately after using hair-processing chemicals without changing the expected results
– Can be used as often as you wish or as little as 1 day per week and still give lasting results
– Easy to use as they can be applied with or without massage or used together with hair steam
Natural Oils Found in Ceramide Hair Products
Ceramide products come in two forms. There are those products with natural ingredients and those with synthetic ingredients. Ceramide products with synthetic ingredients more or less mimic the ceramides found inside the cuticles than the natural ceramic products do. Both the natural and synthetic ceramide products are however all good for the hair. Below are the oils found in ceramide products. When you are buying ceramide hair products, make sure they have most of the following oil ingredients:
|Evening Primrose oil||73%|
|Grape seed oil||69.60%|
|Barbary Fig Seed Oil||65%|
|Wheat germ oil||55%|
|Rice bran oil||39%|
|Olive oil||10% (3.5 – 21%)|
All the above oils are natural and they play a big role in nourishing and flattening of the hair cuticles.
Some of the popular hair products that contain ceramides products with the rich oils are:
– Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Mosturizing Conditioner
– L’Oréal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm
– Nexus Humectress Ultimate Moisturizing Conditioner
– ORS Hair Mayonnaise
– Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In-Fortifier
– Quidad Curl Recovery Meltdown Extreme Repair Mask
– Curl Junkie Assurance Smoothing Lotion
– Joico K-Pak Reconstructor
– Lustrasilk Cholesterol +Shea Butter & Mango Conditioner
– Lustrsillk Olive Oil Cholestrol Conditioner
– Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
– Homemade Ceramide Conditioner Ingredients
If you have the proper ingredients at home, you can easily make your own ceramide conditioner. You do not need to have prior laboratory experience to do this. Home made products have one biggest advantage over all other products bought from stores. They give you the assurance that they are genuinely very natural. You do not have to add any chemicals to enhance color of your hair or increase the products shelf life. You only add what you know your hair needs at that particular time. You also do not need any special equipment to make your own homemade conditioner. You will also cut down on costs by doing this.
Useful Ingredients for Your own DIY Ceramide Formulation
You can have great hair by using simple DIY formulations. Simply buy all the ingredients you need to make your own natural ceramide conditioner. There are many readily available ingredients to make the perfect ceramide conditioner. Some of the natural products you can use to make a great ceramide based hair conditioner that will stick and wash out easily are:
Coconut milk is inexpensive and very good for hair that is naturally oily, damaged and dry hair. It is also great for normal and natural hair. Coconut milk can be used with or without any oil to deep condition the hair before washing it. It also helps in clearing up the hair tangles, leaves the hair looking very healthy and rich in volume.
Many people may not know the great effects bananas have in conditioning hair. They moisturize and soften the hair. Bananas can be blend together with coconut milk and many other ingredients to give even better results. The mixture is smooth and easy to wash out. It leaves the hair looking very shiny and smooth and strengthens the hair cuticles.
Aloe Vera is a widely used ingredient in many products. It can be used in many ways to condition the hair. Use Aloe Vera as a hair spritz made from its juice. This makes a good leave-in-conditioner for the hair. Turn Aloe Vera into a serum to make an easy to use very healthy conditioning serum. Adding Aloe Vera to all your DIY recipes will give the final product more strength and your hair will get a good pH balancing. It also adds more shine to the hair and acts as a great seal to the hair cuticles. Conditioners with Aloe Vera are good for all types of hair and especially quickly repairs any damages caused by chemical hair processors.
The use of henna on hair leaves it very strong and shiny. Henna conditioners leave lasting effects on the hair. Shinier hair and faster growth are noticeable after a few uses of henna conditioners. Henna effects do not wash away immediately as the henna leaves its deposits into the cuticles. An example of good henna to use for your DIY conditioner is Godrej Nupur Mehendi Henna.
Henna leaves a natural reddish dye on the hair. It does not show much on dark hair tones and for people with blonde hair or light hair Colours, it gives a red hair highlights. There is, however, another kind of henna called Cassia. Cassia is a neutral henna also used for conditioning and strengthening the hair. It is the best to use for darker hair because it is neutral. It also gives lighter hair some very beautiful golden highlights.
Henna and cassia come in handy in case you want to dye your hair naturally. They cover grays easily and are a good alternative to chemically processed hair dyes.
Vinegar is another product easily found in many homes. It has a natural cleansing and is a very good hair conditioner. Raw unfiltered white and apple cider vinegar is the best vinegar products for the best hair conditioning results. Vinegar can be infused with other natural products to come up with a stronger hair conditioner.
Flax seeds make a great hair conditioner when infused with other ingredients. They are good for hair detangling and for moisturizing the cuticles. You can add ingredients like honey, pectin fenugreek seeds, mucilage herbs and others to make a leave-in-conditioner.
There are different kinds of butter you can use to make your own homemade conditioner. These are Shea butter, Cocoa butter, and Mango butter. These natural butter types are especially good when you feel like your hair is going through a dry period. They are also good for braided and twisted hair. The kinds of butter can be mixed with other natural ingredients to make a super powerful hair conditioner.
It is important to use all ingredients for homemade conditioners within the shortest time possible after purchase. Refrigerate them for not more than a week to get the best results out of them. For any left overs, freeze them. This will preserve them well for future use and freezing is good because they do not have any artificial preservatives. Oil and butter mixtures alone can, however, stay for longer periods without refrigeration.
Ceramide Rich Shampoos
A Ceramide shampoo cleans hair while adding body to it. The shampoos are rich in ceramide natural products that help strengthen the hair fibers improving the shape and volume of the hair. Examples of shampoos rich in ceramide are:
– Syoss Ceramide Shampoo- Bio 2 Complex Nourishing Shampoo
– Escription Shampoo
– M72 Ceramide Shampoo
– L’oréal Total Repair Shampoo
– Hexadem Max Shampoo
– Salon Daily Shine Nourishing Shampoo And Many Others
Why are Ceramides Important for the Body?
Besides hair, ceramide is good for the whole body and especially the skin. The outermost layer of the skin is protected by fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides. These three work together to prevent the skin from drying up by retaining moisture, keep the skin smooth and supple and keep the skin looking strong. As a people get older, the texture of their skin changes. It becomes dry and lighter. Use of soaps and other cleansers also affects the skin by disrupting the lipids and the ceramides naturally found in the body. Some of the medications taken may also affect and reduce the amount of ceramides in the body. The kind of food we eat and change in diets sometimes lead to flaky skins and a reduction of ceramides in the body.
To make the body and the skin look healthy always, it is important to use ceramide products. many skin care products have ceramide ingredients to protect the skin. The ceramide ingredients are used to replenish the lost lipids and to replenish the skin. For better results, penetration enhancers are added to the ceramide products for deeper penetration of ceramide to the skin.
Ceramides are also used to treat some skin conditions. Psoriasis and eczema are two skin problems that cause the skin to flake out, feel itchy and get dry. These conditions when treated with products containing ceramide give very fast cure and leave the skins less flaky with the dryness disappearing within a short time.
Ceramides effectively kill some cancer cells by signaling molecules that cause some cells to self-distract. Slack of enough ceramides in the body can cause some skin cancers. Introducing ceramide products to the skin, helps the body fight off the unwanted cells better than before. If the body has enough ceramides, it will destroy any cells causing problems to the body. This does not mean they can, however, kill all the cells and cure cancer completely, but they play a big role in keeping cancer cells at bay.
They are not irritating to the skin and thus do not cause any hazards to the people working with them
Ceramide Oil Uses for Hair and Skin
For women looking to have a wrinkle free face and skin, there are numerous ceramide products that come in the form of face masks, pills and creams. You can turn the clock back and wear a great youth looking face with the right products. Some of the best non-aging and wrinkle-free ceramide products in the market include GoW Anti-aging Ceramide Serum, Rodan & Fields Ceramide Capsules, Sonya Deep Moisturizing Cream for Anti-aging and many others.
So today, if you are looking for the perfect skin care, the best and strongest hair and a healthy looking body, go for products that contain ceramide. They will make you glow and leave you feeling rejuvenated.