What Are Ceramides & Why Do I Need Them?

We hear about them, we know we’re supposed to be applying them, but what are they and exactly why do we need them?


So what are ceramides?

Ceramides are a family of lipid molecules that are naturally occurring and are present in the epidermis of the skin. This lipid’s main job is to prevent the epidermis from losing moisture. After age 20 however, just as it does with hyaluronic acid, the skin starts to lose ceramides at a rate of 1 percent a year. Dehydrated skin is often a result of a loss of ceramides in the skin.

If you suffer from dry, flaky patches, dermatitis, tightness, or general aging of the skin, adding ceramides is a good way to treat those issues. This time of year everyone is looking to add hydration, but ensuring you don’t lose it in the first place is even better.


Choosing the right product

It’s important when deciding what product to use that you consider the other lipids as well. A product that contains ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol will deliver the greatest amount of healing to the skin. These additional ingredients make the ceramides more effective and deliver superior hydration to the area.

Cholesterol may sound odd, but it is the most abundant steroid lipid in the body and is required in every cell in the body. It plays an important role in cell repair and in the formation of new cells.

Omega fatty acids serve as essential building blocks of the skin’s dermal layers, creating a smoother, more even, younger-looking, and healthier complexion, while helping to keep the skin hydrated.

One of the best ceramide moisturizers on the market is Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore which contains 2% ceramides, 4% cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids.


Can’t I just use CeraVe? My dermatologist recommended it.

I say no. Here’s why. CeraVe contains parabens, and while the jury is out on whether parabens are safe or not, I tend to lean toward the “why tempt fate” camp. Additionally, CeraVe doesn’t contain fatty acids or cholesterol, which are important in ensuring the maximum efficacy of the ceramides.

If you’re really looking to up your game, consider Zelens Power D drops, my new winter favorite. This is a high-potency concentrate, rich in pro-vitamin D and bio-mimetic lipids structurally similar to those found in the skin, fortified with a proprietary botanical complex containing powerful plant sterols (precursors of Vitamin D).

This wonder serum is formulated to deliver multiple skincare benefits. This unprecedented, lipid-replenishing treatment helps to restore the skin’s natural barrier and build the skin’s resilience. It protects skin against environmental aggressors and strengthens the skin’s resistance to stressed conditions. It leaves your skin re-plumped, supple, protected and healthy-looking. I no longer suffer from dry cracked corners of the mouth this time of year as a result of rubbing this product on every night.


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.


1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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