Ceramides: Are they truly necessary?

Ceramides are an essential part of hair care. They are a family of lipid molecules that are found in the fiber of your hair and in your skin. They bind cuticle cells to cortical cells and keep our hair strands together. A lot of people focus on maintaining their moisture and protein balance, but what you also need to be aware of is the ceramide content in your tresses.

Ceramides perform a barrier type of function in the hair, helping to maintain the hair’s protein and moisture levels, and they help to reduce the hair’s porosity. A lack of ceramide content in the hair most often results in dry, brittle, porous hair. Ceramides have been said to “act like protein” by keeping the hair strong, but they also add  moisture and shine to the hair. Some people even think that when using a ceramide containing product, it isn’t necessary to use protein. This is not accurate. Protein is an essential part in the make-up of hair so eliminating it totally wouldn’t be the best idea. The reason why ceramides work so well at strengthening the hair, is because they limit the loss of protein by filling in areas where it’s needed, but it is in no way a protein replacement. Protein strengthens the hair, but ceramides are almost like “glue”. They hold the hair strand together so that the protein content is not so easily lost, which in turn will allow you to need use protein less frequently. They also do the same for moisture in the hair. Our hair makes it’s own ceramides, but with frequent damaging hair practices like blow-drying, the content is lost.

Using products that contain synthetic cermides help to keep the hair healthy. They fill in gaps in the hair shaft, much like own hair’s own naturally produced ceramides. Ceramides are mainly used to keep the hair healthy, not really to repair hair that’s already damaged. Maintaining your protein and moisture balance while keeping up with your ceramide content on the other hand, will. Products lines like Nexxus, Redken, Mizani, and oils like Wheat Germ oil can help to build ceramide content that’s lost. Ceramides can cause build up on the hair, so it may be necessary to clarify after some usage.  Try them out for yourself and see the difference in your hair.