16 Top Ceramide Products for a Stronger Skin Barrier

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16 Top Ceramide Products for a Stronger Skin Barrier featured image
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Stronger skin barrier and ceramides are two good-skin phrases that are constantly swirling. But what does it really mean on the road to healthier skin? “Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids that make up 50-percent of your skin’s structure,” explains Dallas dermatologist Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD, who adds that it’s easiest to look at ceramides like the “cement” between your skin cells

How Ceramides Work

The lipids that hold the skin barrier together are a mix of ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, explains Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, dermatologist and founder of barrier-boosting skin-care line Epionce. “Ceramides support the structure and barrier function of the skin, such as preventing moisture loss and protecting against environmental damage and bacteria,” he explains. “Ceramides have water-retaining properties that ensure that trans-epidermal water loss does not occur too quickly by holding onto water and preventing moisture loss from the skin. Ceramides can also reduce free radicals in the skin that destroy elastin and collagen.”

Ceramide Products 101

Unlike some stand-alone ingredients, Dr. Thrornfeldt says ceramides work best when they are used within the context of the other two lipids, cholesterol and free fatty acids. “It is this combination that truly helps the skin barrier. Relying on ceramides alone is not what is best for the skin. It is also important to think about where the ceramides are sourced from, as the quality of the ceramides can vary widely. The less-expensive a ceramide product, the chances are the quality of the ceramides in the product is lower.”

The Skin-Barrier Connection

If the skin barrier becomes damaged or compromised, the outer layer of the skin starts to look dull, rough and dry,” Dr Thornfeldt says. “It can be more easily irritated and sensitive. A compromised skin barrier can become red, itchy, dry, scaly or flaky, or any combination of. The good news is that a compromised skin barrier can be reversed by identifying the root cause. Using barrier-first skin-care products is the key.”

Did You Know: “There are nine different ceramides in your skin, some of which are used in skin care,” Dr. Houshmand says. “There are three essential ceramides that work best for the skin: 1, 3 and 6-II, and you will see these most frequently in skin care.”

Ceramide Products: The Expert Picks

1 / 16

Inkey List Bio-Active Ceramide Moisturizer ($20)

Phoenix, AZ dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal says this is IT—the “next-gen bioactive ceramide” product that dynamically helps strengthen the skin barrier. “This favorite also has Gransil Blur which helps blur fine lines when applied,” he says. “I love this for my patients with facial eczema or super dry skin that need a healing but elegant product! Also apply it before makeup and be stunned.”

BUY NOW – $20

2 / 16

CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Gel ($21)

The entire derm-trusted line centers on the power of ceramides, but it would be remiss not to give a special shout-out to the new Gel, an incredibly lightweight powerhouse that is formulated with three essential ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

BUY NOW – $21

3 / 16

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Soothing Cream, Steroid-Free ($13)

Relieve and soothe symptoms of eczema—including itchy skin—with this daily moisturizing body cream that counts on ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and ceramide to heal.

BUY NOW – $13

4 / 16

Epionce Renewal Facial Cream ($102)

All of the Epionce Renewal products were formulated with the optimum health of the skin barrier in mind, says Dr. Thornfeldt, but the Epionce Renewal Facial Cream was the first product using ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids to rejuvenate the skin barrier—and it’s been around an impressive 20 years.

BUY NOW – $102

5 / 16

Avene RetrinAL Ceramide Lipid-Replenishing Balm ($76)

Dr. Houshmand categorizes this product as a very soothing formulation. “It’s a balm that is lipid-replenishing and helps to hydrate the skin,” she says. “It is great for estrogen-depleted skin in those in menopause or perimenopause to target increased visible signs of wrinkles, dryness, uneven skin tone and loss of volume.”

BUY NOW – $76

6 / 16

SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream ($72)

It has peptides, growth factors and ceramides and, according to Dr. Lal, it is “a perfect agent for those that want to use a collagen-building ceramide containing moisturizer.” Dr. Houshmand is also on board and she says she especially likes it for dry skin and applying post-procedure after treatments like microneedling and lasers.

BUY NOW – $72

7 / 16


Dr. Houshmand says this is one of her personal favorites, and the product is safe for around the eye and eyelashes. “This serum for eyes and lashes, helps to illuminate the skin around the eye area while also conditioning the eyelashes. It is both dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested formula with Rhamnose, pure hyaluronic acid and 15 Mineral-Rich Vichy Volcanic Water and it is fragrance-free.”

BUY NOW – $35

8 / 16

Curél Japanese Skincare Intensive Moisture Facial Cream ($17)

It’s good, it’s on Amazon and it comes in at under $20. As the brand also explains, the intense nourisher “helps to fill up the ceramide reservoir, and to improve your skin’s natural barrier function. Soothing hydration helps protect skin from dryness and external stimuli.”

BUY NOW – $17

9 / 16

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Cream​ ($23)

This simple solution provides a whooping nine times more hydration for quenched, dewy skin, all while it somehow delivers clinically proven 72-hour hydration to strengthens skin’s moisture barrier.

BUY NOW – $23

10 / 16

Cetaphil Intensive Healing Lotion With Ceramides ($16)

As Dr. Lal proclaims: “Cetaphil is one of the partners for Fashion Week! Wonder why? It’s affordable and safe for all skin types. I use this for patients from birth onwards. This has ceramides which help support the skin barrier, but it also has sunflower seed oil which moisturizes and reduces inflammation.”

BUY NOW – $16

11 / 16

Tatcha The Matcha Cleanse ($40)

You may know the luxe line by name, but did you know that the latest launch provides primer-like benefits pre-makeup, all while adding some very legit ceramide properties to the mix.

BUY NOW – $40

12 / 16

Naturopathica Marshmallow & Ceramide Sensitivity Soothing Serum ($94)

The name kind of gives it away, but for this milky serum, which is formulated for sensitive skin, reducing redness is the goal. 

BUY NOW – $94

13 / 16

SpoiledChild S34 Clarifying Prebiotic Treatment ($58)

Tagging itself as a “transformative treatment designed for oily/acne-prone skin packed with effective-yet-gentle prebiotics to balance your skin’s natural microbiome,” this easy-to-use wonder is shown to control shine, minimize the appearance of breakouts, and visibly tighten pores in just four weeks.

BUY NOW – $58

14 / 16

EVER Flawless Soft Focus Daytime Moisturizer ($67)

It’s super hydrating and fuses vitamin C and ceramides together—this skin-perfecting glow-enhancer leaves you instantly radiant, all while minimizing the look of pores.

BUY NOW – $67

15 / 16

Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Body Wash ($10)

This fragrance-free body wash is packed with a proprietary Pro-Ceramide and vitamin E to lift away dirt, excess oil and impurities. The result: Dry, itchy and sensitive skin feels moisturized and more resilient.

BUY NOW – $10

16 / 16

Body Olay Complete Hydrating Lotion for Sensitive Skin ($22)

“This is a go-to for me,” says Dr. Houshmand. “It is lightweight, fragrance-free, perfect for sensitive skin, but so nourishing. I recommend using it twice a day to hydrate the skin.”

BUY NOW – $22

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