The ceramides are one of a number of lipids that are just under the skin and serve as barrier to all the germs and other substances that would enter the blood stream. Skin can get really itchy and sore if you don't have enough ceramides in your body. Eczema and psoriasis are often a result of too low ceramide levels.
Manufacturers of moisturizers and other skin-care products produce products that use ceramides as a main ingredient. Going after an aging market that is afraid of drying up and letting their skin turn to wrinkles, the companies tout the moisture retention properties of ceramides as a miracle cure for aging. Elizabeth Arden offers a complete line of products infused with synthetic ceramides, which they say replaces the fat lost from aging. The results have been varied because no one really knows the exact ratio of the lipids is required to maintain supple, healthy skin. Also, scientists have not conducted any long-term studies on the worth of synthetic ceramides versus the real deal.
Hair and skin producers always look for new and unique ways of getting just the right combination of quality products that work and can add marketing value. Therefore, any kind of ceramide infusion that comes from a natural source could be a boon. Since we are not ready to use humans for testing, some recent research shows that helpful ceramides can be extracted from sheep. The process is not widely accepted yet, but just wait.
In Europe, oral ceramides are a popular supplement taken by folks who are interested in skin care. The phyto-ceramide that is in the supplement comes from a Japanese plant called the konjac-tuber. It has been a staple in the Japanese diet for centuries. No side effects have been reported for taking products that contain phyto-ceramide compounds to strengthen the skin barrier.
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