Ceramides are one of three types of lipids
, or fats, that help keep moisture in the skin. Ceramide-containing moisturizers
are a new breed of moisturizers that contain the same balance of lipids as your skin. Studies show that they help treat eczema
, but they can be used by anyone with dry skin. Because I only want to recommend products that have been proven to be effective, I have included in my review whether good published data
is available for each product.
Photo © Coria Laboratories, Ltd.
CeraVe uses a patented delivery technology called Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE)
to allow its ingredients to absorb into the skin over time. According to the website, the data supporting the effectiveness of CeraVe is on file with the manufacturer. I have requested this data, but have not seen it yet. Despite this fact, I have been recommending CeraVe to my patients because it is available over-the-counter and is affordably priced, less than $15.
Photo © Osmotics Cosmeceuticals
TriCeram is a "Cermaide Dominant Barrier Repair" moisturizer that is also available over-the-counter. TriCeram does have good data to show that use of the moisturizer with current eczema therapies helped the skin heal faster than skin treated with usual eczema medications. It is fairly expensive, though, at $30 for a 3.4 ounce tube.
Photo © AGI Dermatics
Remergent's Barrier Repair Formula uses a delivery system they call merospheres. These merospheres have lipids that surround a chemical called ursolic acid, and they work by causing cells of the epidermis to produce ceramides to retain moisture and other chemicals that firm up collagen. This dual action makes Barrier Repair Formula good for moisturizing and reducing wrinkles. It is pretty pricey at $95 for 50 milliliters.
Photo © Professional Skin Care, Inc.
Soothing Barrier Repair Moisturizer is another moisturizer that contains ceramides. The ingredients contain a multitude of chemicals designed to reduce inflammation. They do not have any studies that prove the moisturizer's effectiveness, but their description of key ingredients shows they understand ceramides have to be present in the correct proportion with other lipids to be effective. This moisturizer is only sold in salons and finding a salon near you requires giving them your email address.
Photo © Sinclair Pharmacueticals
Atopiclair is a ceramide moisturizer available only as a prescription. It is also approved by the FDA as a medical device. There are studies that show it is more effective than regular moisturizers in treating the signs and symptoms of eczema. It is also expensive at $85 for a 100-gram tube, but there is a $36 rebate
available and it appears you could download the rebate for refills also.
Since it's a prescription, you may be wondering if it's covered by your insurance. Of course, all insurance formularies are different, but on two of the largest prescription benefits managers' formularies, Medco and Caremark, Atopiclair is a non-preferred brand.
Photo © Stiefel Laboratories
Mimyx cream is the other ceramide moisturizer that is available only by prescription. The website for Mimyx does give references to studies about its effectiveness, but only one is a published article, published in a Spanish medical journal. The other references are studies that have been presented at two annual meetings of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2005 and 2006. This is concerning because most scientists want to publish their findings in well-known peer-reviewed journals. It makes me wonder if these studies were not stringent enough to stand up to peer review. Mimyx is also pretty pricey at $84 for a 140-gram tube.