There’s a difference between having dry skin, and having a seriously parched, borderline flaky complexion with the texture of sandpaper. Dry skin can be resuscitated with some hyaluronic acid lotion or emollients, but having the facial equivalent of the Sahara during a sandstorm calls for heavy duty help.
I would know. I suffer from dry skin with pretty severe eczema, which used to affect my face, especially during trips to colder climates. The cold would soothe my rashes, but exacerbate my skin’s moisture loss. Dry patches would claim territory across my cheeks and under my eyes, mutating into spots that would flake. Moisturiser was temporary relief, lasting little more than an hour. Even after I returned to the sticky salvation of Singapore’s tropical humidity, the dryness would linger.
I got particularly frustrated at my peeling plight after one trip to Hong Kong in winter many years back. A bottle of moisturiser on my desk was a random shot in the dark to calm down the situation. The front label specifically claimed it contained ceramides, and I, at the time, had little idea what it was. I slapped some on, and my skin completely stopped shedding. For good.
A little more research into ceramides reveals that it is a category of waxy lipid molecules which composes 50 percent of your skin’s cell membranes. It gilds the cells together and forms a protective layer against harsh environmental factors, as well as moisture loss. People with drier skin and eczema tend to be lacking in ceramides, hence the aggravation. Ceramides, when combined with emollients, are extremely effective in restoring and soothing the skin, which explains its borderline magical effects on my face.
It has since been a firm favourite in my skincare routine. I cannot go without it. If you’ve faced the same issues, and are tired of experimenting with dud moisturisers, try any of these ceramide-rich ones and find your solution.
Korean brand Mamonde’s ceramide cream is an extremely lightweight daytime moisturiser fortified with hibiscus extract to hydrate. Use it before you apply makeup on to keep dryness at bay. It does have fragrance, though, so do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.
Dr Jart’s Ceramidin cream is perhaps the OG to this entire class of moisturisers. This thick cream may seem heavy when it comes out of the tube, but spread it over your skin and it absorbs rapidly, leaving no residue. You’ll notice an immediate difference to your skin. It’s so effective that it works on sunburns as well.
Mario Badescu brings on double the power with both alpha-hydroxy acids and ceramides in one moisturiser. As ceramides strengthen your complexion’s barrier, alpha-hydroxy acids help to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Alpha-hydroxy acids are naturally derived from fruit, and in this moisturiser’s case, lemon zest, to also gently exfoliate the skin and give you a more youthful appearance. This is best used before bedtime.
First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream is a head-to-toe moisturiser with shea butter, ceramides, antioxidants and collodial oatmeal — a perfect multitasking product for skincare minimalists, especially those with eczema.
S$55. Available at Sephora.
Cosrx’s Honey Ceramide moisturiser is a creamy daytime moisturiser created with as few ingredients as possible, with no fillers. Honey is anti-inflammatory, ideal for those with blemishes, as ceramides repair dehydrated skin. This is even suitable for those with oilier complexions as it has a very thin consistency.