Skin, Lip and Body Care

What Are Plant Ceramides And Are They Good for Sensitive Skin?

+ Pamela Friedman

You may have heard of ceramides in skin care solutions, but have you heard of plant ceramides?

These are the types of ceramides we use in our formulas here at CV Skinlabs. We prefer them because they are closer to nature and thus, easier for the skin to take up and use.

What Are Plant Ceramides?

Let’s start with ceramides in general. They are lipids (another name for fats) that are found naturally in our skin. They make up about 50 percent of the lipids found in the outermost layer, so they play an important role in how your skin looks, feels, and responds to environmental threats.

Though your skin naturally has its own ceramides, with age, sun exposure, and other factors, the amount can dwindle. Replenishing them can help keep your skin smooth, soft, and healthy.

What Do Ceramides Do?

Ceramides have a few important tasks to carry out in your skin.


Ceramides help hold onto moisture. They have a water-retention function that keeps your skin soft and supple as you’re going about your day. If you don’t have enough ceramides, you may notice a dry and dull appearance.


Ceramides also have a protective function. They can reduce damaging free radicals in the skin that otherwise would destroy collagen and elastin. They also serve as your body’s first line of defense against external pollution and toxins. You can imagine them as the structures that come together to form the natural skin barrier.


Ceramides are like the “glue” in your skin that holds the other cells and structures together. This gives your skin the strength and support it needs to look its most youthful self. It also helps seal in moisture while sealing out harmful elements.

Photo by George Milton via Pexels.

Signs Your Skin is Lacking Ceramides

Low ceramide levels in your skin are linked to several problems. If you see one or more of the following, it could be that you need more ceramides in your skin care products.

  • More acne breakouts
  • Dryness and dullness
  • Eczema or psoriasis flare-ups
  • Redness and irritation
  • Thin skin

What Causes Low Levels of Ceramides in the Skin?

Several factors can contribute to low levels of ceramides in the skin. They include the following:

  • Sun exposure: The sun can gradually break down the structures in the skin, diminishing the number of ceramides.
  • Aging: With age, the skin is unable to replenish its natural ceramides as well as it did when it was younger.
  • Products: Using harsh beauty products that compromise skin barrier function can damage ceramides and lead to dryness.
  • Diet: Not getting enough supportive nutrients in your diet can rob your skin of the fatty acids it needs.

How Do Plant Ceramides in Skincare Products Help?

Ceramides are added to skincare products to help replenish the natural ones that you have lost. Adding them to your daily skincare regimen provides several benefits.


Ceramides help moisturize your skin. As we get older, we need moisture more and more, as the skin is naturally drier. If you notice that your regular moisturizer isn’t helping as much as it used to, it could be that it is lacking ceramides.

Replenish the Skin Barrier

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin. It’s made up of dead cells, proteins, fats, and lipids. About half of these are ceramides. Adding more to the mix helps shore up the outer barrier, protecting your skin and holding in moisture.

Plump and Smooth

When you’re applying products with ceramides each day, you’ll notice that over time, your skin looks more plump. That’s the ceramides going to work keeping the moisture in so your skin looks soft and supple. They can also help fine lines and wrinkles look less noticeable.

Calms Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, you should be applying ceramides. They not only soften, moisturize, and protect, but they help calm itchy, irritated skin. If you suffer from eczema or psoriasis, formulas with ceramides in them can help calm the itch while keeping your skin healthy and hydrated.

Indeed, people with eczema and psoriasis generally produce fewer ceramides naturally. Skincare products that contain ceramides can help counteract the effects these conditions have on the skin.

Protects the Skin

Ceramides help keep out harmful elements, like pollution, toxins, and allergens. When you’re using them regularly, your skin will be stronger and more resilient. You may notice fewer irritations, redness, and reactions.

CV Plant Ceramides

What’s the Difference Between Synthetic and Plant Ceramides?

As with many ingredients in skincare products, they can come from different sources. Some skin care manufacturers use synthetic ceramides, which are man-made. They are created in a laboratory by mixing certain ingredients. Some ceramides come from animal sources as well.

The ones we use at CV Skinlabs are plant ceramides, or what is called phytoceramides. “Phyto” means plant, so the term describes those ceramides that are sourced directly from plants.

Synthetic ceramides are usually more common in the skin care products you’ll find in the store, and they can help replenish the ceramides your skin is missing. Phytoceramides are often preferred, however, by clean beauty enthusiasts, because of their natural origin and because they may be more readily absorbed by the skin.

We can get plant ceramides from many different types of plants, including wheat, corn, soy, oats, and rice. But many other ingredients also serve as natural sources of ceramides.

How Do I Know if My Skincare Product Contains Plant Ceramides?

Look at the ingredient list on your skincare product. Usually, synthetic ceramides are listed as ceramides, though you may see other letters with the word, like ceramide AP or ceramide EOP.

Ingredients like phytosphingosine and sphingosine are ceramide precursors, which means they stimulate the skin to produce more of its own ceramides.

Ceramides may be hidden inside other ingredients, too, if they are a natural part of those ingredients. Natural oils, for instance, are a rich source of ceramides and fatty acids. If you see ingredients like jojoba oil, safflower oil, and grapeseed oil, rest assured that these ingredients are made up largely of ceramides. Other good sources include sunflower oil and poppy seed oil.

By the way, this is where you’ll find the ceramides in our CV Skinlabs formulas. They are easily recognizable to the skin and are perfect for sensitive skin because they are so gentle. Plus, all CV Skinlabs products are gluten-free!

Do you look for plant ceramides in your skincare products?

Featured image by Ron Lach via Pexels.

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