Ceramide-Spiked Skin-Care Products to Nourish Dry, Irritated Skin

As far as skin-care ingredients are concerned, ceramides are among the most worthy of opponents when it comes to battling dry skin — which, with colder weather rearing its head, may be something that you're all too familiar with. Thankfully, ceramide-based products are not only a favorite among dermatologists but are widely available at every price point, from drugstore (CeraVe and Amlactin) to luxury brands (Elizabeth Arden and SkinCeuticals).

"Ceramides are fatty acids in the skin that help to maintain the skin barrier and retain moisture and hydration," Shereene Idriss, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, tells ishonest. "Extreme cold-weather temperatures, exposure to hot water, and dry heat can all deplete the ceramides stored in your skin," which is why Dr. Idriss says it's critical to introduce ceramide-fortified products to lock in moisture and restore your skin's barrier function. They're also a key ingredient to look out for when treating skin conditions like eczema or moisturizing your skin after a laser treatment.

It helps to think of ceramides as the building blocks in your skin. In addition to possessing hydration-boosting properties, they're especially key for maintaining long-term hydration and strengthening the skin's surface against environmental stressors. When scanning your ingredient lists, look out for ceramide NP, AP, EOP, NG, NP, NS, as well as phytosphingosine and sphingosine.

"Ceramides are found in high concentrations within cell membranes," New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Ellen Marmur, M.D. says. "They hold skin cells together on the top layer of the skin, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and retains moisture." As such, barrier-fortifying products are as popular and commonplace as ever.

With that being said, here are 15 of the best ceramide products — rich moisturizers, whipped body creams, and even a retinol-spiked serum — for healthy skin this season (and all year round).

BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream

Quench your thirsty skin with BeautyStat's Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream, a fragrance-free gel-cream that restores and seals in moisture with a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid, pomegranate sterols, and of course, ceramides. Since it has a light-as-air texture, it layers like a dream underneath sunscreen and makeup. (No pilling to be found.) Over time, expect a smoother complexion with fewer premature lines and wrinkles popping up. Plus, a potent probiotic by the name of Bifida ferment lysate has been shown in clinical studies to reduce skin sensitivity and protect against environmental aggressors, like pollution.

EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer

EltaMD's PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer goes above and beyond as far as moisturizers go. Among other dermatologists, Dr. Chang is a fan of this "oil- free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer that contains ceramides to strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier, as well as niacinamide and antioxidants to improve skin tone and complexion" and notes that it's particularly great for sensitive and acne-prone skin types. One such antioxidant in question is vitamin E, which is great for cellular restoration and speeding up your skin's natural repair processes. Rice protein peptides also work on the side to promote collagen production, so you can go to dreamland knowing your skin is being fully taken care of.

Amlactin Rapid Relief Restoring Lotion + Ceramides

Amlactin serves up budget-friendly products that earn the approval of many of our dermatologist friends. Chock-full of alpha hydroxy acids for gentle exfoliation and three ceramides (NP, AP, and EOP), The Rapid Relief Restoring Lotion + Ceramides sweeps away rough, flaky skin and replenishes your barrier for stronger, healthier skin across your arms, legs, and all over. Dr. Gohara is a proponent of this multitasking formula, and it's easy to see why.

Eau Thermale Avène TriXéra Nutrition Nutri-Fluid Balm

Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, adores this "trés chic and affordable" French brand for dry or dehydrated skin. Eau Thermale Avène's TriXéra Nutrition Nutri-Fluid Balm infuses Avène thermal spring water, which is rich in anti-inflammatory properties according to Gohara, with a boatload of soothing ceramides and fatty acids to keep your skin soft and glowing. The brand claims up to 48-hour hydration and protection against moisture loss. It's even safe for children and infants, so get the entire family in on it.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a classic in many ways, which is why it picked up a Best of Beauty Award in 2019. Perfect for skin-care novices and experts alike, Dr. Chang says it's "an effective cleanser that removes dirt and other impurities from the skin while replenishing the barrier of its natural lipids and hyaluronic acid." She stresses the importance of choosing a gentle cleanser over a harsh soap that can leave your skin feeling raw and your barrier weakened.

"Any skin type will tolerate a hydrating cleanser," Michele Farber, a board- certified dermatologist in New York City, previously explained. When curating a beginner-friendly routine, she mentioned finding a fragrance-free cleanser that contains minimal ingredients (to avoid irritation) and is formulated with ceramides and glycerin. Good thing this CeraVe staple checks off all of the boxes.

Cosrx Comfort Ceramide Cream Mist

Similar to Dr. Jart+, Cosrx has a robust product line centered around ceramides. Consider the Comfort Ceramide Cream Mist to be a moisturizer in a light-as-air, fine-mist form for a refreshing boost any time of the day. While the texture might be fine, the formula is anything but. Infused with six types of ceramides, along with other soothing ingredients like panthenol, this mist will seriously boost your radiance on its own, as well as under and over makeup.

Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief

All of Krave Beauty's products are formulated to address a damaged, weakened skin barrier, but Great Barrier Relief is one of the crowd favorites from this Korean skin care-inspired brand. An ishonest contributor whose reactive skin is prone to redness said that it's "one of the best soothing skin-care treatments" she's ever tried — a statement she specified she does not take lightly.

Spiked with an ultra-nourishing blend of ceramides, niacinamide, glycerin, squalane, and nourishing oils (including safflower seed and tamanu), this creamy yet lightweight serum calms and brightens the skin without causing further irritation. And, like the rest of Krave Beauty's offerings, this treatment is vegan, cruelty-free, and fragrance-free.

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Balm

As always, don't forget to moisturize the rest of your skin below the neck. After hopping out of the shower, Dr. Chang vouches for slathering on Bioderma's Atoderm Intensive Balm. She says the soothing, rich balm contains "an exclusive Lipigenium complex composed of bio lipids and ceramides" designed by France- based NAOS Research. It works wonders on extremely dry, irritated, or eczema- prone skin and can be used on the entire family (aside from premature babies, as the website states).

Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2: 4: 2

SkinCeutical's Triple Lipid Restore 2: 4: 2 won a coveted Best of Beauty Breakthrough Award back in 2016, and it's easy to see why. The nourishing cream moisturizes, repairs skin, and gives a plumping effect thanks to a formula that includes 2 percent ceramides, 4 percent cholesterol, and 2 percent fatty acids. (Get it? 2: 4: 2.) Dr. Chang also gives her stamp of approval for this magical, patented ratio of skin-replenishing goodness.

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum

Packaged in adorable rose gold capsules to preserve the potency of one of the hero ingredients, retinol (which is sensitive to light and air), Elizabeth Arden's fragrance-free Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum targets and diminishes the appearance of fine lines with ease and grace. To help combat any potential dryness and irritation associated with using retinol, each single-dose capsule is spiked with three types of ceramides (NP, NS, and phytosphingosine) to replenish your skin's natural ceramides and restore your barrier.

Paula's Choice Ceramide-Enriched Firming Moisturizer

Vitamin C, retinol, and ceramides team up in Paula's Choice Clinical Ceramide- Enriched Firming Moisturizer to turn up the glow in your complexion, in addition to providing long-lasting hydrating and firming benefits. While vitamin C and retinol should typically be applied 30 minutes apart (in that order) or alternated between morning (vitamin C) and night (0.1 percent retinol), Paula's Choice has clearly nailed down a formula that lets you apply both powerhouse ingredients at the same time. As always, follow up with SPF in the daytime.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Winter dryness doesn't stand a chance against the heartily-portioned First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, which has picked up Best of Beauty and Readers' Choice Awards for its skin-soothing abilities. Infused with anti-inflammatory ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and ceramide 3, this calming emulsion brings much-needed relief to dry, patchy skin on your face, neck, chest, and anywhere else that's crying out for moisture.

Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer

"[Ideal] for those with sensitive skin, as well as dry skin, ceramides keep the skin hydrated and supple for the cold winter months," says Dr. Marmur, who recommends Mario Badescu's A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer to patients. Since the alpha hydroxy acids are sourced from lemon extract, this gently exfoliating formula won't leave you feeling greasy nor does it clog pores, making it ideal for those prone to breakouts, too.

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