The Good Fat
Fat is not always a bad word. While many become obsessed with fat-free and low fat foods and exercise to lose the fat, some important roles in your general health rely on fat. Everyone needs a certain amount of fat in their diet and you should understand the various kinds of fat that you need to preserve for optimum health.
Ceramides is a kind of fat that is just under the first layer of skin. These fat cells seem to be showing some success for treatment of certain kinds of cancer. The ceramides are one of a number of lipids that are just under the skin and serve as barrier to all the germs and other substances that would enter the blood stream. Skin can get really itchy and sore if you don't have enough ceramides in your body. Eczema and psoriasis are often a result of too low ceramide levels.
In the Lab
Manufacturers of moisturizers and other skin-care products produce products that use ceramides as a main ingredient. Going after an aging market that is afraid of drying up and letting their skin turn to wrinkles, the companies tout the moisture retention properties of ceramides as a miracle cure for aging. Elizabeth Arden offers a complete line of products infused with synthetic ceramides, which they say replaces the fat lost from aging. The results have been varied because no one really knows the exact ratio of the lipids is required to maintain supple, healthy skin. Also, scientists have not conducted any long-term studies on the worth of synthetic ceramides versus the real deal.
Natural Sources for Topical Treatment
Hair and skin producers always look for new and unique ways of getting just the right combination of quality products that work and can add marketing value. Therefore, any kind of ceramide infusion that comes from a natural source could be a boon. Since we are not ready to use humans for testing, some recent research shows that helpful ceramides can be extracted from sheep. The process is not widely accepted yet, but just wait.
Eat Your Ceramides
In Europe, oral ceramides are a popular supplement taken by folks who are interested in skin care. The phyto-ceramide that is in the supplement comes from a Japanese plant called the konjac-tuber. It has been a staple in the Japanese diet for centuries. No side effects have been reported for taking products that contain phyto-ceramide compounds to strengthen the skin barrier.