Anti-Aging Heroes: Part 2 Ceramides
In the second part of our series on Anti-Ageing Heroes, we turn our attention to ceramides. They’re often touted as a ‘wonder ingredient’ in skincare formulations, but what’s the truth that lies behind the hype?
So what are ceramides?
Ceramides are a type of lipid (fat) and a major component of the stratum corneum. Like hyaluronic acid, they are present in the spaces between skin cells and are part of the ‘glue’ that holds them together. Their main anti-ageing benefit is that they provide a waterproof protective barrier and prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), maintaining skin hydration levels while keeping bacteria and pollutants out - vital for clients living in urban areas.
Ceramides and hyaluronic acid are perfect companions: the former helps to maintain lipid levels while the latter attracts water and holds it in the skin. Combine them, and you’ve got an anti-ageing powerhouse.
Going, going, gone
Like hyaluronic acid - and most other beneficial skin components - ceramide levels deplete as we age. External factors such as UV radiation, pollution, poor diet and even the winter months can also sap the supply, so it’s important to replenish them. Without adequate levels, the skin’s protective barrier becomes compromised, leaving it more susceptible to damage. As if this wasn’t bad enough, low ceramide levels make signs of ageing more prominent – those wrinkles look so much worse when skin is dehydrated.
Renew and Replenish
Although there are many creams on the market that contain ceramides, it’s more effective to provide skin with the tools to make its own. “Vitamin A has a normalising effect and helps to create healthy keratinocyte cells which are involved in the synthesis of ceramides, so you should definitely be recommending Environ®’s Skin EssentiA® or Youth EssentiA® ranges to your clients”, says our training director Tracy Tamaris. “When a healthy keratinocyte travels up through the layers of the skin and reaches the stratum corneum, it releases lipids as it dies, which maintain the barrier function. If this barrier is damaged it won’t do this as effectively, which is why Vitamin A – topically and orally – is essential. Products containing lactic acid, for example Derma-Lac Lotion, and our Cool Peel treatments, also support the body’s ability to make its own ceramides.”
Your clients may already know that ceramides can be applied topically, but they might not be aware of the incredible results that can be achieved by consuming them in supplement form. Oral ceramides used to be made from animal sources, but in recent years scientists turned their attention to plant-based versions, known as phyto-ceramides. A major scientific breakthrough occurred when a gluten-free, wheat-derived phyto-ceramide was discovered. Several studies showed that it hydrated skin and restored its youthful structure after the protective barrier function had been impaired, and further research showed that it reduced the levels of free radicals in the skin and inhibited elastase, an enzyme that destroys elastin*. These results indicate that the ingested phyto-ceramides were transported to the lower layers of the skin via the bloodstream and then made their way up to the surface to restore barrier function, just as Mother Nature intended.
Skin Moisture Lock™: a game-changing new launch
The transformative power of ceramides and hyaluronic acid is the inspiration behind Skin Moisture Lock™, a patent pending anti-ageing supplement from Advanced Nutrition Programme™ which launches this month. “It takes four years for us to bring a new product to market and the starting point is looking at the research behind the ingredients”, says Lorraine Perretta, our Head of Nutrition. “
The evidence behind the two key components of Skin Moisture Lock™ is extremely compelling. Clinical research on the hyaluronic acid element demonstrated a 19% improvement in wrinkle depth and an 11% increase in hydration. It’s fast acting too, blood levels of hyaluronic acid were raised after just seven days of use, wrinkle depth improved by 19% and hydration improved by 11%*. A study on the ceramide component of Skin Moisture Lock™ showed that facial hydration was significantly improved after 4 weeks, crow’s feet were reduced after 8 weeks and collagen increased by a staggering 48%. Skin roughness and radiance were also significantly improved compared to placebo group. Although the efficacy of each individual ingredient is remarkable, the results we achieved when we combined them were truly game-changing”, she adds. “Each new launch from the Advanced Nutrition Programme™ has to be rigorously tested before we release it to the market. When we tested Skin Moisture Lock™ in our purpose-built Skin Health Research Centre we saw that this unique combination of ceramides and hyaluronic acid achieved astonishing results”.
Our pilot study has shown
Increased hydration by 64%
Improved wrinkle depth by 28%
Improved skin integrity by 20%
Improved skin smoothness by 20%
Your clients may ask what the difference is between Skin Moisture Lock™ and Skin Omegas+, the answer is that they compliment each other perfectly. Skin Moisture Lock™ works in the spaces between the cells to protect skin, keeping it supple and hydrated, while Skin Omegas+ work on the cell itself, strengthening the lipid membrane and helping it to retain moisture. A combination of both will achieve the best anti-ageing outcome.