If you have dry hair, flaky skin or brittle nails, your ceramides may need a little boost. Ceramides -- whether they occur naturally or are created in a lab -- work with the skin to reverse the signs of aging. Put simply, these tiny molecules of fat improve skin's elasticity and restore hair's softness by helping them retain moisture.
Think of your skin as a brick wall -- the bricks are held together with mortar just as lipids hold your layers of skin together. Lipids, such as ceramides, help your skin create a barrier between you and the environment. Just as the bricks can't stay together without mortar, your skin can't adequately protect your body without lipids.
As you age, your skin loses its elasticity and moisture, but ceramide-rich skin care products can repair and revive your skin by reinforcing its moisture barrier. Pseudo-ceramides are safe and nontoxic, and they work in a similar way to the ceramides your body produces [source: Journal of Dermatological Science]. But while pseudo-ceramides are similar to the naturally occurring ceramides in your skin, they're not exactly the same. Just like naturaul ceramides, these synthetic lipids retain water in the upper layers of skin and repair dry, chapped skin by replacing lost lipids -- but they don't disperse throughout the skin as natural ceramides do [source: World Intellectual Property Organization].
Keep reading to learn more about the uses of pseudo-ceramides.