Lipids, Ceramides and Oils explained (simply!)
People often speak about lipids, ceramides and oils interchangeably and it can be very confusing. Here we try to break it down in simple terms!
SEBACEOUS LIPIDS (sebum)
Sebaceous Lipids are produced and secreted by the sebaceous glands onto the surface of our skin. The word sebum often has negative connotations as it is associated with oily skin and acne, however sebum is beneficial as it helps to protect and moisturise your skin and hair. Sebum production can be altered by internal and external factors such as hormonal changes. Puberty can trigger an excess of oil leading to clogged pores and breakouts, while a slowdown in sebum production as we age and during the menopause can leave skin feeling dry and uncomfortable.
Epidermal Lipids are produced and secreted by cells of the epidermis. They are made up of different types of lipids including ceramides and other fatty acids. Epidermal lipids act like cement between your skin cells, supporting them to form a protective layer. This layer is sometimes called your lipid barrier or moisture barrier. It is vitally important, keeping moisture in and keeping external elements, such as dirt and pollution out.
Ceramides are fatty acids and they account for approximately 50% of epidermal lipids. They help strengthen the lipid barrier, preventing moisture loss and protecting skin from external assault. They keep skin supple and younger looking. External aggressions (i.e. cold weather) and ageing can slow down ceramide production resulting in dryness and irritation. Topical application of ceramide rich skincare will help alleviate symptoms and replenish depleted skin.
Oils are lipids and are a rich source of ceramides and fatty acids. Oils can be potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and are proven to maintain and repair the lipid barrier. Oils pass through the lipid layer of the skin quickly, preventing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), and plumping and hydrating the skin effectively.
Fatty acids are a major component of lipids. There are 2 types of fatty acids: non-essential fatty acids, which our bodies produce naturally (i.e. ceramides and omega-9) and essential fatty acids, which are not naturally produced by the body (i.e. omega-3 and omega-6) which we need to supplement with diet, supplements or topical skincare.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LIPID PRODUCTION SLOWS DOWN?
In a nutshell, your lipid barrier is compromised and weakened. There are many reasons why lipid production (ceramides, oils, sebum, fatty acids) slows down: age, climate, over-exfoliation, harsh chemicals in your skincare…This slow-down will negatively impact the health and strength of your lipid barrier, resulting in symptoms which can include dryness, dehydration, inflammation, irritation, pigmentation and slower repair.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT AND SUPPORT YOUR LIPID BARRIER?
In order to maintain the health of your lipid barrier, you need to add lipid-rich skincare to your routine. This is especially important if you have combination, dry or dehydrated skin. We have chosen natural plant oils which contain high concentrations of ceramides and fatty acids to support your skin and provide it with the nourishment that it needs.
ELIXSERI LIPID-RICH INGREDIENTS:
Sacha Inchi Oil (Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil)
The high content of penetrating Omegas strengthens cell membranes, encourages regeneration and increases skin elasticity. Sacha Inchi oil has one of the highest contents of omega, 17 times more than wild salmon. Found in Smooth Player and Skin Meditation.
Sunflower Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil)
Extremely rich in Omega 6, it is an excellent emollient with the ability to nourish and soothe dry skin. It is easily absorbed by the skin, strengthening the barrier and reducing water loss. Found in Smooth Player.
Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil)
The fatty acids found in Argan Oil provide a calming, softening and moisturising effect to the skin. They balance the lipid content of the epidermis and play a key role supporting the skin’s lipid barrier function. Argan Oil is found in Skin Meditation.
Sweet Almond Oil (glycereth-8 esters)
Rich in Omega fatty acids. It is a great antioxidant, hydrator, softener and nourisher to skin. Found in Rescue Diver, Smooth Player & Firm Conviction.
Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii)
One of nature’s super-ingredients, rich in fatty acids. It is an excellent moisturiser and protects the skin from dehydration and external aggressions, especially cold and harsh climates. It is known to restore skin suppleness and comfort and can quickly improve the appearance of red and itchy skin. Found in Smooth Player and Skin Meditation.
Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil)
A great all-round antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with a high content of fatty acids. It nourishes and soothes skin and has the distinction of being the vegetable oil that most resembles human sebum. Found in all Elixseri serums.