Should You Pick Ceramides Over Hyaluronic Acid For Better Skin? Here’s What Dermatologists Have to Say


Thankfully with all the information out there on skincare, when it comes to dehydrated skin, we tend to reach for products infused with 2-3 specific ingredients. Of these, hyaluronic acid and ceramides are the top contenders, with the former even becoming a seriously trending skincare ingredient in the recent past. But when it comes to ceramides and hyaluronic acid, while both offer hydration and moisturisation, they offer other significant advantages for the skin as well. So, how do we decide which one to choose over the other? Which is better for our skin type, is one more superior than the other in terms of performance? We connected with the experts to get all our doubts cleared up. Here’s what they had to say.

Ceramides Vs. Hyaluronic Acid

Let’s first understand what these two skincare ingredients really are. Breaking it down for us, Dr Batul Patel, Celebrity Dermatologist & Founder & Medical Director of The Bombay Skin Clinic, says, “Ceramides are lipids that naturally occur in your skin and they make up an important part of the skin barrier. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a glycosaminoglycan, a type of sugar, that can hold almost 1000x its weight in water. It is found in the dermis of the skin and is also present in the skin’s natural moisturising factors (NMFs).” 

Leading Dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal who is Founder and Medical Director of Yavana Skin Aesthetics, says, “The big difference is hyaluronic acid is a humectant, whereas ceramides are more like an emollient and hydrator, which repair the skin barrier. So, the functioning is different.”

Explaining this further, Dr Chytra Anand, Top Dermatologist and Founder & CEO, Kosmoderma Clinics compares the benefits and functions of the two for us. She shares, “Function wise, ceramides act as ‘mortar’ between the skin cells, providing structural support and helping to keep the skin firm and supple.” What this ‘mortar’ does in terms of benefits, is this, “Ceramides are crucial for maintaining a healthy skin barrier function. They help to retain moisture, prevent water loss from the skin, and protect against environmental irritants. By replenishing ceramides, you can strengthen the skin barrier, improve hydration, and promote overall skin health.” On the other hand, she says that HA’s function is to attract and retain moisture in the skin, keeping it hydrated and improving its overall texture. “Therefore, as a humectant, it provides the benefit of holding a significant amount of water, and thus, providing intense hydration to the skin. It helps to improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and give the skin a plumper and smoother appearance,” she says.



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Dr Batul adds that while hyaluronic acid slows down trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) and retains water to keep your skin hydrated, ceramides go beyond that and work to repair your skin, reduce inflammation, reduce facial redness, improve acne, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and also fade dark marks.

Is It An Either/Or Choice?

We quizzed the experts on which of the two ingredient-infused products would they prescribe to their clients and patients. Dr Madhuri says, “Principally, I would recommend a ceramide over a hyaluronic acid any day because it gives better hydration, better barrier protection whereas HA just gives that little bit of immediate hydration and then dries out the skin.”

Dr Batul too, opines, “Ceramides strengthen the skin barrier thus, outweighing HA in terms of benefits. So, if I were to prescribe only one of the two to my patients, I would choose to prescribe a ceramide-based product as it has a whole lot of benefits, particularly the repair of the barrier which is a very important component of the skin.” She also says, “The use of both of these ingredients will benefit more than using them individually.”

Dr Chytra echoes this point, “Ceramides and hyaluronic acid can complement each other’s benefits, and can thus be used together in a skincare routine. Ceramides help to strengthen the skin barrier and retain moisture, while hyaluronic acid provides deep hydration. This combination can result in improved skin hydration, smoothness, and overall skin health.” 


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But she says if she were to prescribe only one of the two to a client, the choice would depend on their specific skin concerns. “If the individual has a compromised skin barrier, dry or sensitive skin, or experiences excessive moisture loss, I might lean towards recommending a product with ceramides. On the other hand, if their primary concern is hydration, plumping, or addressing signs of aging, a product with hyaluronic acid would be a good choice.” says Dr Chytra. 

She also shares that both ceramides and hyaluronic acid are generally suitable for all skin types. “However, individual sensitivities may vary, so it’s important to consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns before incorporating them into your skincare routine.”

There you have it from the experts. So, go ahead and make that informed pick for your skin. 

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