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Question:
What are phytoceramides? Do phytoceramide supplements really work to improve aging skin?

Answer:
Phytoceramides (or "plant" ceramides) are promoted to hydrate and "plump" the skin for a more youthful appearance. The basis for this is that ceramides are naturally found in skin cells which help to regulate the water barrier and water-holding capacity in skin. However, the effect of taking phytoceramides supplements, such as those containing the ingredient Lipowheat, a different story. See the full answer >>

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Sue16349   January 13, 2018
I never had a dry cell in my body until I reached 60. My hearing aid was itching because of the flaking skin in my ears. I was constantly picking a the build up of flakes. I started taking phytoceramides for my skin and the problem resolved itself.

Winnie J11139   August 7, 2016
My son was having to use lots of topical steroids to control his eczema. We figured out he was allergic to the medication. What would we do. He needed some thing to control the eczema. The docs had no answers for us. I did a lot of research and found out about phytoceramides. I started giving them to my son. They work beautifully! He uses them every day and his hands and feet are sooooo much better.

Leo11117   July 31, 2016
Regarding: "ceramides are waxy lipids naturally found in skin cells which help to regulate the water barrier and water-holding capacity in skin. Decreased levels of ceramides in skin are associated with aging, dry skin, and certain skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis."
Is there any evidence that Hot Water/showers/hot tubs decrease the levels of ceramides in our skin. For example, do the elderly in cultures where they don't have excessive amounts of hot water for a lifetime, have higher levels or ceramides in their skin or are the levels consistent with those of us in first world countries that get years of hot water exposure.

ConsumerLab.com   August 3, 2016
Hi Leo - The outmost layer of the skin does lose ceramides when exposed to warm or hot water for 20 to 30 minutes (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607440/; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0909-725X.2005.00170.x/abstract). The American Skin Foundation notes that "Simple causes of lipids depletion include harsh soap, itchy clothing, long and hot showers or baths" (http://www.americanskin.org/resource/dryskin.php#).

However, ceramides and the activity of enzymes that produce ceramides in skin are also shown to decrease with age (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X91904608).

Leo11133   August 4, 2016
Thank you for your response. Maybe we should consider using our skin for what it was intended. Developing the practice of cold showers may provide long term protection for our skin and even our scalp and hair. I personally appreciate the invigoration that comes from discovering our skin is really a very tough hide about 30 seconds into a cold shower. The Salish Indians of the Northwest continue to include swimming in the rivers at dawn during their winter initiation rituals for both men and women. Also, as a traveler into Third World countries, I have noticed many times the quality of the skin of the people without hot water.

Mae11134   August 6, 2016
After reading this, it made me think back. My elementary school principal said she would put her water out in the evening during the winter in a basin that she used to wash her face. Before she died at 100 years old she always looked the same as she did when I was a child and I am 63 now. I am going to start this practice and hope it is not to late. Thanks for your comment.

This CL Answer initially posted on 7/31/2016. Last updated 8/1/2017.

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