When re-evaluating your skin-care routine, you’re likely focusing on which night cream to invest in, or whether or not a new eye cream is worth it. However, you’re probably overlooking a step that’s arguably the most important one in your routine: cleansing.
Not only is cleansing essential for staving off breakouts, but it also fights dullness and dehydration, leaving you with the perfect base for healthy skin. Knowing this, it’s pretty surprising that so many of us simply grab the first cleanser we see without determining if it’s actually good for us. In fact, there’s a fair chance that your cleansing product is missing a key ingredient.
According to Bellevue, WA board-certified dermatologist Dr. Daniel Sugai, MD, FAAD, it’s best to use a cleanser that contains none other than ceramides. The reason? Ceramides are key for restoring the skin barrier, improving hydration levels and leading to healthier-looking skin. Here, we’ll explain what ceramides are and why they should be in your cleansers. Plus, we’ll share all the expert-approved product recommendations you need for healthy skin.
First, what are ceramides?
To put it simply, ceramides are naturally-occurring fatty acids that help retain moisture in the skin. They help maintain long-term hydration while also protecting the skin’s outer layers against exterior factors that can cause damage to skin cells.
“Ceramides play a crucial role in skin barrier function for all skin types,” explains Dr. Sugai. “They are naturally found in skin and are like the glue that holds your skin cells together, so they help maintain a healthy barrier by keeping the ‘bad’—like irritants— out and the ‘good’—like moisture—in.”
Why are ceramides important to include in skin care?
Ceramides are naturally depleted within the skin over time, but some factors can accelerate this, like exposure to pollutants. Additionally, those with skin conditions like eczema often have lower levels of ceramides. When the skin barrier is compromised, dry and inflammatory skin conditions can arise.
By adding a ceramide-based product to your routine, you can help maintain a healthy skin barrier that’ll keep your complexion better protected against environmental stressors. And since cleansing is the first step in a healthy skin care routine, look for a cleanser containing ceramides and other moisture-retaining ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, so you can achieve an effective cleanse without stripping skin of its natural moisture—regardless of skin type.
How do you correctly cleanse the skin?
According to Dr. Sugai, daily cleansing with a product best suited for your skin type, particularly one that contains ceramides, plays a critical role in maintaining your skin barrier.
“I recommend cleansing twice per day but depending on your skin type and lifestyle, you can opt for once per day,” he says. “You should gently lather it into the skin then wash off with lukewarm water. Avoid hot temperatures, as it can dry out the skin!” Also, avoid over-scrubbing, which can damage the skin barrier, and always pat dry with a clean towel or cloth.
What are the best ceramide-containing cleansers?
As a physician and dermatologist, Dr. Sugai says he always advocates for affordability and access for his patients. As a result, he’s a fan of the CeraVe facial cleansers. “CeraVe has a great variety of cleansers because they address different skin types and skin needs,” he explains. “Those with oily skin can use the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser ($14.99), which features a gel-based foaming action to remove excess oil and dirt.” As a bonus, this option has niacinamide to calm skin and hyaluronic acid to attract hydration.
Dry skin types, on the other hand, should opt for the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($14.99), which cleanses and refreshes the skin without over-stripping it or leaving it feeling tight and dry. There is also the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ($12.99) that utilizes ingredients like salicylic acid to gently exfoliate, soften and smooth the skin without disrupting its protective barrier.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. Whichever CeraVe cleanser you decide to choose, you’ll still get that boost from the added ceramides, which is such a true treat for your skin.
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